I saved the very first story I ever wrote, here’s why you should too…
When I say the first story I ever wrote I don’t mean the little homework assignments you write in kindergarten about wanting to be a princess. I mean the first time you seriously tried to write, the first time you put words to page with the intention of seriously creating something.
The first story I ever wrote was a novel with twin sisters riding off to the capital city to become lady knights. This story was highly influenced by my favorite author of the time, Tamora Pierce. Naturally, this grand tale only lasted about two chapters, but I saved those measly two chapters nonetheless.
For me, this was fifth grade, a year that my interest in reading rocketed to obsessive levels and an urge to write my very own stories accompanied it. For you, your first story attempt may have been third grade, or perhaps early high school, college, or maybe you have yet to start writing it.
Whatever the circumstance, I urge you to save that attempt. Even if it is the worst piece of writing you have ever seen, in fact, especially if it is the worst piece of writing you have ever seen. The worse the better! If it’s bad enough to be painful to read then it’s perfect.
Here are my reasons…
Documented Proof of Improvement
Oftentimes I feel stuck in a rut, my writing stagnant. Questions spin around my overactive mind…
Is my writing improving? Should I even keep trying? Who am I kidding with this crap writing? These are the moments where I look back at this original story.
Seeing where I started and comparing it to where I have gotten is a great motivator to keep me writing. It can be as simple as looking at how your grammar has improved or it can be more focused things such as character development, plot, setting, dialogue.
Look at these elements of your writing and examine the ways in which you have improved. This is evidence of how far you have come. Look how good you are! Be impressed with yourself. Let that energy fuel your creativity. Now go write!
Stuck in a bad case of writer’s block. Go back and read your original story attempt(s). This doesn’t just apply to the first story you ever wrote, but earlier writing attempts in general as well.
I find that my mind as a young writer, while in desperate need of a dose of logic and sophistication, did manage to come up with some semi-brilliant ideas. Take these ideas and change them; reform, rewrite. Use these ideas as a base to brainstorm new and improved story concepts.
Similar to being an idea generator, use your original story or stories to experiment with writing exercises.
Take a story and rewrite it in a new or different style. Try a different tone. Is the original story an adventure story? Make it a thriller.
Try shifting the chronology of a story. Put the end at the beginning. Start in the middle. Get a feel for how chronology changes a story?
Can’t seem to get that new chapter out in your working novel. Take a break. Look back at this old material and rewrite! It may feel weird but from my personal experience, rewriting is one of my most prolific brainstorming activities. Let your old material be a source of inspiration for new writing.
Seriously though. Giggle, laugh, find the humor in how ridiculously bad your writing was back then. Laughter is healing for the soul.