You’ve toiled for years, writing story after story. You’ve sent them out to agents or publishers, you’ve self published or you’ve hid them on a shelf in the back of your closet where no one will ever read them.
Each book is a journey, and more than the journey your characters take. It’s the trek you, as the author, takes while honing your craft. It’s the trip to tell the story itself. It’s the return expedition to polish the tracks you’ve put down. It’s the vacation while someone else reads it and the outing to the padded room while you worry about what they are thinking. It’s navigating social media to promote yourself and your work and it’s the higher ground you stand on when people try to bring you down because of what you write or how you’ve decided to get your work out there.
As we grow, so do both our writing and our life in general. You may come to find you no longer like what you’ve written in the past. You may think your style amateurish or even be embarrassed by the genre you’ve written (Monster erotica, anyone?) . While it’s okay to feel that way and you don’t need to necessarily promote them like you used to, it would be a disservice to you, and any reader who enjoyed those books, to hide those books away and pretend like they never existed.
Those stories show how far you’ve come. They are the proof that you’ve grown and how your hard work has paid off. Use them as examples of what worked and what didn’t. Share those findings with others without shame. Everyone has to start somewhere and very few start at the top. They have to work to get there, just as you have. Take pride in that.
What have you learned from your earlier work?