One of the first things that I learned as a writer is that you will constantly re-read your work. Whether you are re-reading an old essay to develop a new concept or you re-read a story that you wrote for your own enjoyment, there is no escaping your old works. If you’re anything like me, though, there will always be a desire to see if you have improved over time, and it will make you constantly revisit what you once created..
If you’re lucky, you will also find yourself to be proud of your writing and its development.
I have written since I was incredibly young; my earliest writing in one of my many journals. If I remember correctly, the oldest record that I have found of my writing was a story about a duck who was both a dancer and a doctor (don’t ask me why). Since then, I have written personal stories and poems, as well as fan fiction stories that I have shared online with other fans.
The key for me, though, is that everything I have written is what I knew I needed to write.
I consider writing to be similar to how a songwriter writes a song. Both circumstances allow the person doing the writing to tell a story. It should be personal, because you can only truly write from experience, and it should be something that you would want to read (listen to) yourself. If you only write to please others, you will never want to explore old archives for future inspiration.
More so, when you write for yourself, I have found that there is a degree of comfort when you read it back. There are times when I have written character dialogue in ways that do not only serve to further the plot development, but also serve as advice for myself. When you write from a personal level, you can create characters who give the advice that you need to hear, but may not be willing to listen to otherwise or receive from those around you.
Often enough, when I read something back, I realize that it was exactly what I needed to hear. Certain plots have given me the perspective that I need to go on and create new stories, and I think that is possibly the most beautiful thing about writing for yourself. Even if no one else finds relatability in what you write, there is a sense of comfort in knowing that you have created something capable of changing even just one life for the better.