Improve your writing by revisiting past projects

Employ your past work to motivate your current work

Yesterday, I did something I never could have anticipated. When I hit a point in my current writing project where I felt stuck and stilted, I dug out a piece I put to bed a few weeks ago. I reread it.

It bolstered me. I felt awe for the creative process and appreciation in my ability to write what I meant to write. (P.S. Why are we always dogging ourselves, putting down our work? What if you allowed yourself to feel amazed that you keep pushing forward?) And then I wrote, wrote, wrote in my current project, fueled by the proof that yes, I can do this. I've done it before. I'll do it again, and now.

When I hit a point in my current writing project where I felt stuck and stilted, I dug out and reread a piece I put to bed a few weeks ago. It bolstered me. I felt awe in the creative process and appreciation in my ability to write what I meant to. And then I wrote, fueled by the proof that I can do this. I've done it before. I'll do it again, and now.

I like these lines in Glennon Doyle Melton's Love Warrior:

"Treat yourself like someone you love, Glennon. Listen to what you want and need and give it to yourself. Be your own friend."

Be your own friend. Starting with you, having belief in yourself, peeling your eyes open to comprehend the truth, dammit, that you've done it before and will do it again. After all, that's what we say to fellow writers who hit roadblocks, so why not treat ourselves with the same grace?

My intuition is that we each spend a lot of time talking down our work.

  • Yes, I write, but I have a real full-time job.
  • I am a writer, but just kind of dabbling in it.
  • I'm working on a novel, but I don't know how it'll turn out. I might not even finish it.

Try ending before "but."

  • Yes, I write.
  • I am a writer.
  • I'm working on a novel.

Does that feel any different? Probably squirmy and uncomfortable, huh? When we own our work, that's the first step toward self-inspiration. The second, I discovered yesterday, is referring back to past successful work to kickstart current work.

How often do you revisit your completed work? What happens next?

Can't wait to chat with you more in the new year. Cheers to our creativity.

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