How to Read your own Stories – A Short Survival Guide

Basically, there would be four main reasons for reading your own stories.

1 Drafting

You finished your first, second, third,… draft, you’ve let it rest and now you want to edit.

2 Collecting

You’ve written plenty of short stories, blog posts, articles,… and you want to assemble a collection book.

3 Being mentioned

Someone read your story and mentioned it to you, but you forgot all about it and you have to read it before getting into a conversation about it.

4 Curiosity aka going mad

Simply because you can.

The Reactions

Whatever the reason for reading your old story is, there are only two reactions to it, but when you think about it, they can actually be boiled down to one:

_____________ I can’t believe I wrote this!

The only difference is in the prefix which you can put on the empty line.

Prefix No. 1 – Wow

It ‘s a good sign. It means you wrote something good; something to be proud of. Unfortunately, doesn’t happen often. Not because you’re a bad writer but because you’re rarely satisfied with the way you write.

The story sounds much better in your head than on the paper and the closer you get to the version from your head the more satisfied you become with your writing. Getting close to the version from your head is something that you will be struggling throughout your entire career.

Prefix No. 2 – F#!k

The more common reaction.

It’s a good sign. It means that your writing has improved and you’re aware of it.

Celebrate, despite being aware that your past self has published something that your present self isn’t proud of. As long as these experiences keep repeating, it means that you’re growing as a writer. It’s normal.

Before you perform a freefall from the cliff, there are some thing you could do:

If your story isn’t published, fix it.

If you’re collecting stories for a compilation, fix them.

If the story is already published and you have no intention of republishing it in any other form, leave it as it is.