Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Art of Rediscovery

By Darvell Hunt

I keep a list of my favorite books written by my all-time favorite writer. Every time I read these stories, I experience a personal connection that is unbreakable. I love each and every character, each and every plot, and don’t think I could have done any better—because, well, because they are my stories.

I love reading a story that I wrote years ago and have forgotten about. It is such an adventure in rediscovery. I like them so much because, as I read, I can say, “Hey, I would have done EXACTLY that!” because, well, because I did. It’s especially fun if I don’t remember what I wrote and I still like what I created.

This experience can also be a great opportunity for improvement. All too often, when we create a new work, we are so in love with what we are doing that we can’t see its flaws. If we give the story enough time that we forget about what we wrote, reading it gives us subjectivity as if it were somebody else’s story. We can often see holes that we never saw before. Then we can fix them and have a much better story.

It’s not easy to view your own work this way. It takes practice. But in the end, rediscovering old projects can be a fun and rewarding experience. Try it out. Go read something you wrote a long time ago. Take comfort in seeing flaws, because you know now that you are better than you were. And don’t forget to enjoy reading. It’s supposed to be fun!


Keith Fisher said...

Everytime I read something I wrote a while ago, I want to toss it in the trash. I am a much better writer than I used to be. But, it is fun to see how far I've come. The funny part is, I thought I was a good writer then. I'm sure I'll look back at what I'm writng now, and feel the same way about my current WIP.

Darvell Hunt said...

LOL. Good point, Keith. I don't like reading my *really* early stuff, though I do usually see what I was trying to do with it. (Key word: trying.)

It's good to discover you are getting better with practice.