I was going through some old boxes and found file folders full of work I’d done for classes in college. I didn’t even realize I’d saved some of it. Have you ever looked back at work you did years before? It’s a little scare, actually. I was reading through one paper for my Fiction Writers and Censorship Course, and it wasn’t as bad as I feared my early twenty something self to be – I still wanted to edit the hell out of it, though. I was heavy handed in a lot of places, to the point of pompousness. Then I’d alternate back to a more conversational voice and occasionally throw in some sarcasm. There are still glimmers of my voice that I recognize as mine. Well, it’s odd – you don’t realize how much you’ve changed until you look back at where you were.
Anyway, most of the stuff I’ve got is rather long – 10 to 12 pages at least, and far too long to put on a blog for your amusement. But I did find this little ditty that I thought might amuse some of my writer friends. It’s a list I did for the aforementioned Censorship class:
Twenty things that can marginalize a writer’s work:
1. Fear of the unknown.
2. Fear of the known.
3. Fear of the empty page.
4. Fear of the written word.
5. Financial deprivation.
6. Social unencouragement.
7. Loss of creativity.
8. Loss of sanity.
9. My mate is in the way.
10. Too busy looking for a mate.
11. My life is uninspiring.
12. Fear of slander suits.
13. Fear of the politically correct.
14. Fear of the politically incorrect.
15. What would mommy say?
16. I have problems with graphic violence (so the masochistic barnyard scene is put on hold until my real life broken appendages heal amply enough to allow proper typing progress).
17. My self-censor is on vacation, but my publisher is not.
18. Did I mention that my editor was a formidable executioner in several past lives?
19. The world is a dismal abyss which cannot be altered by the written word (my anti-depressant dosage is much too weak)
20. I’ll procrastinate tomorrow.
How about you guys? Have you ever pulled out old work from when you first began? Were you pleasantly surprised or did you find it completely cringe-worthy? And what makes your list of things that stall your writing?