What Would You Say to Your Former Writer Self?

What did past you need to hear?


More and more I am trying to move away from posts like these, because more and more I want to focus my attention on helping you instead of talking about me. I think you know enough about me by now. But I cannot argue with my brain when it plants certain ideas in places I cannot help but give them attention. I am too tired, and yet, oddly, too inspired, to shake my head and write about something else.

I’ve been thinking about the past lately. My past. Rather, my past self. The person I used to be. For some reason the memory of writing my first “book” in fifth grade keeps popping into my head. I was so excited to give my parents their Christmas gift that year. I remember not being embarrassed or self conscious at all. They were going to read it – so what?

Then what many of you probably called middle school (for me it was junior high) hit, and I started caring about what people thought. That made sharing my writing pretty much impossible. Writing wasn’t “cool.” It was weird. I did a lot of doodling and trying to write haikus but not much prose, not that I would let anyone else see anyway.

Don’t ask me when exactly that changed. In transitioning from junior high to high school I basically lost all my close friends and didn’t have anyone to talk to for the first few months. So I turned to writing, and found people who appreciated my work, and well, now I’m here (wherever ‘here’ is, exactly).

I think back to those days when writing was really hard. When I honestly felt like I was doing a good job, at least the best that I could do, but was too shy to show it to anyone (I didn’t really know about blogs until just before I started this one).

What would I say? What did that shy, honestly not very good writer need to hear then?

She probably needed to hear that there was more to life than telling stories. Really. I am so grateful for how far I have come since then, but I wish I would have explored the world more. I wish I would have done more and seen more. I think I used writing as a crutch much more often than I used it as an outlet, and I’m not very proud of that. But I’ve learned and I’ve grown and I can look back on those days and say I’m proud to have accomplished what I have up to this point.

What about you? If you could go back and say anything to your former writer self, what would you say? Be nice to him/her, they’re so young! :)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

6 thoughts on “What Would You Say to Your Former Writer Self?

  1. If I could go back, I would tell my former writer self to quit now and save yourself the pain of failure later. I’m sure she would have listened to me.

  2. I’d tell them not to give up and not to listen to the people who told them writing and reading was useless. I think I’d tell them to focus on the laughter– the D&D campaigns, the collaborative projects, the comics– and to just enjoy all the different kinds of stories they could tell.

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