Reading my old writing like: “Did I used to be good at this?”

Hey y’all, I have something to confess today: I have a bad habit. Sometimes when I can’t write, I reread my old writing. And I know I shouldn’t because I’m in the drafting phase when all that matters is moving forward, but I can’t help myself. Sometimes it’s a cringey experience like rereading my actual published novel which describes my main character’s period cramps as something that’s so bad she can’t even leave the bathroom long enough to solve the murder she’s been hired to solve (…*facepalm*), something which I only confess to you in the hopes that you will understand why I am so uncomfortable with the fact that my entire immediate family and some of my high school friends’ parents have read this. This is my life… I cannot even with that book. However, on some occasions I reread what I’ve written and I’m swept away into this world that I created, and I think “wow, that was actually good.”


I think I hate this more.


It’s like: “Did I used to be good at this?” Honestly, rereading the short story which my current project Roots is based off of, I’m amazed at what I did. Sure there are things I don’t like about it, but it engages me in a way that my writing for the Roots novel doesn’t. So my question is: why? Is it just because this is a longer project? Or because the subject matter isn’t as engaging as the actual climax of my novel? Or is it the outlining? Is it because changing my writing patterns and methods dried out my work? Was I better off as a pantser?


I’ll be the first to say that I believe in outlining. I think it’s made it a lot easier to jump into my work and keep it going, but I can’t help but to wonder if I still need to adjust the way I go about drafting to this new method. I don’t know how to change that, but I know that I need to do something to adjust my writing style back to the way it used to be a few months ago, without going back to the older me who clearly didn’t know what she was doing.

Are Your Hands Wet?