General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Do you like reading what you've written?

Asked by wundayatta (58596points) June 25th, 2010

For most of my life, I’ve hated rereading old stuff. It just embarrasses me. It feels kind of ill-informed and poorly written. I’ve hated it so much, I almost never go back to read anything old.

Lately, though, I’ve been reading some old stuff (only a few years old), and actually enjoying it. Perhaps even more scary, I’ve been learning from it. I wonder if I really wrote it sometimes. I certainly don’t remember writing it that way, although I do remember thinking things of the like.

What are your experiences when you go back and read older stuff? What feelings come up? Why?

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44 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have been appalled at what I’ve written ;)

jfos's avatar

I like reading old stuff. I’m usually impressed, and sometimes even surprised.

OpryLeigh's avatar

For the most part I do. I sometimes think that I might sound a bit cheesy but on the whole I think that writing is one of my strong points.

mrentropy's avatar

Same. I’ve read things I wrote in high school and start wishing I could write like that guy.

ubersiren's avatar

Sometimes when I go back and read something I’ve written, I do a giant forehead slap. But sometimes, I’m like, “Dayum, yo… that was brilliant.”

Brian1946's avatar

I like a little more than half of what I’ve written.
Sometimes that enjoyment is diminished when I discover that I’ve omitted a word or so.
There have been a few times when I’ve wondered wtf I was talking about. :-0

zenele's avatar

Old diaries and poetry are the worst – for me.

Cruiser's avatar

Re-reading my answers BS here is enormously entertaining for me!

nebule's avatar

I recently started taking my diaries into my counselling session and after saying how embarrassing they were my counsellor asked me “but why?”...“this is you Lynne…”. What once seemed rather naive, immature and ill-informed I now look at as bitter-sweet innocence, a mind deeply desiring to be understood and yearning for an outlet, an ear to listen to my troubled mind. I am learning to love myself as I am now and all the selves I have been in the past.

jfos's avatar

A few years ago, I had a writing assignment that was due for one of my classes the next morning that I didn’t remember to do until after much herbage and drinks. At around 4:30am, I pumped out the essay and passed out. The next morning, after classes, I got back to my dorm and remembered that I had submitted my essay the night before. I winced when I couldn’t remember anything that I had written…

I sat down at my desk and read a masterpiece! I can’t explain how funny it was; the essay was not only full of great content—it was written perfectly.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I do enjoy reading my old material. I am often surprised at the high quality. Back when it meant something to type on a typewriter I tended to put more effort into the words.

BoBo1946's avatar

no one else like my writing, and neither do i! The Pulitzer Prize is safe!

drClaw's avatar

Yes, I love reading my past writings, listening to my past music, looking at my past drawings…

You see greatness such as mine cannot be found just anywhere and I enjoy reveling in it. I love it so much in fact that as you read this for the first time I am reading it for eighty seventh. I am a sublime linguist and I will take any post that follows mine as a direct attack on what will no doubt be touted as a literary masterpiece.


CMaz's avatar

“Do you like reading what you’ve written?”

Yes I do. And I read it over, and over and over.

marinelife's avatar

I have come to like what I’ve written in the past for the most part.

Andreas's avatar

@jfos “A few years ago, I had a writing assignment that was due…” We can amaze ourselves at times, can’t we!

@wundayatta I look back at some of my poems and stories and I am greatly amused at how I can confuse others with my words, or have them ROFL, so I’ve been told.

BlankMind12's avatar

yes i would reread some stuff i read but if i dont like it i let some else read it and see if they like it and thats about it .

Coloma's avatar

Well, I just submitted a piece that I have had loitering around for oh…about 16 years now. lol

I happen to think it’s pretty creative and well written, but…I am not in the power seat of a publishing house…it is now a mere note in my submissions journal and have released it to the universe…and, the 4 month response time. lol

I go in spurts…might bang out some new stuff, then, long stretches of desert.

Mostly I write for the sheer enjoyment it brings me, and share with a few selective and supportive friends.

One thing about writing…everyone and their mother solicits you for all sorts of little projects.

If I have one more person ask me to write them a dating profile I am going to commit Hari Kari! lol

ragingloli's avatar

I have no problems with stuff I write. It is stuff I say that troubles me. And I really hate hearing my own recorded voice.

gailcalled's avatar

Occasionally I will read some old responses on fluther and think; “How interesting; how eloquent, how original, how to-the-point.” Then I see that I am the author.

Occasionally I will read some old responses on fluther and think: How jejune, how fatuous, how pompous, how derivative.” Then I see that I am the author.

jfos's avatar

@gailcalled Acknowledging the existence of the previous post, I see that sometimes you also think both. (Or will…)

gailcalled's avatar

@jfos: Sorry, but I don’t quite understand. Are you paraphrasing me or making another point?

jfos's avatar

@gailcalled Making another point—that your comment reflects both of the “personalities” of responses that you described.

perspicacious's avatar

I like to read things I wrote years ago. It is sometimes entertaining, sometimes reaffirming, and sometimes a window to a time past.

Nullo's avatar

I enjoy re-reading old Web posts, but I cringe at most of my old fiction writing.

Qingu's avatar

I hate reading anything I’ve just written. If I wrote it more than half a year ago and haven’t read it since, I’m usually okay with it.

downtide's avatar

Some things I’ve written, I really like. Others not so much.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Oh definitely – even if it’ll make me cry or laugh.

Coloma's avatar

Oops, I guess I misunderstood the question and took it to mean do I re-read my writings in general. haha

As far as Fluther goes..I am a spontanious go with the flow type…often overlook typos and have moments of dyslexia that cause me to go back and edit.

Meh…I just shoot from the hip and am not attached to beng ‘seen’ in any particular light.

I try to make sure that I am not misunderstood, but it happens….oh well. ;-)

anartist's avatar

Some I like, some I don’t.

keobooks's avatar

I recently found some boxes of old books I wrote as a kid. They cracked me up. Especially the ones I wrote in middle school. I loved romance novels and tried my hand at a few, but I very obviously had no romantic or sexual experience—and BOY can you tell! The writing was so terrible that I laughed out loud.

I don’t feel bad about writing bad stuff. I had a lot of fun doing it and I think that while I wasn’t a great novelist, writing on a daily basis was a great exercise for my mind. I was pretty good at writing papers in high school an college.

Brian1946's avatar


Has Charles Schulz influenced any of your writing? ;-)

DominicX's avatar

I like reading what I’ve written, despite the fact that every time I do I can think of a million ways to improve it. I just reread an old story that I wrote at age 7. It was cute. :)

pickleshy's avatar

I think at first, when we read what we’ve written a while after we wrote it, we’re surprised by the raw material. We don’t necessarily remember all of the context behind the composition: emotions, memories, etc. And as a result, the compositions can seem empty and not really stand on their own.

Perhaps as we get older, we read those same writings with our lives as context, and they bring new meaning?

Scooby's avatar

I only go back to correct the Smelling mistakes!! ;-)........

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Most of my previous writing was edited and reedited dozens of times. Most of it is extremely technical and not very entertaining. It is not painful to read but I have little incentive to do so.

My previous posts, while usually written with considerable care, do contain irritating grammatical and orthographic (spelling) errors.

Sometimes I find my answers could have addressed the issue better in light of information that was disclosed later in the thread.

I do enjoy many of my more comprehensive answers appearing in past threads.

gailcalled's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence: The royal we enjoys your writing, also. However, after the discussions of “assuage,” prosaic,” anhedonic,” and “aggravate,” I am afraid to write about even Dick and Jane.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Gailcalled You have no need to fear. Your set and support a standard high enough that you are granted considerable latitude. Your content is of high enough calibre that few would be justified to challenge what you write.

AleckzG's avatar

I get emberrased too. I still can’t ever keep a journal I just feel dumb reading back at what I did and how I thought.

josie's avatar

Absolutely, that is why I write it.

wundayatta's avatar

@josie Why do your write what you write for your own reading pleasure? Do you learn anything from it? Are you entertained? If so, what do you find entertaining—if you can characterize it?

If I were writing purely for myself, I would never write. I only write for myself in an indirect way—it helps me find out/figure out what I’m thinking, and I hope to learn how to communicate more clearly. Other than that, I write to say something to others.

josie's avatar

@wundayatta The same reason that I paint, and play music. I like it. If I hated what I created, what the hell good would that do me?

wundayatta's avatar

@josie Interesting. I make music and I dance, and those things I find intrinsically valuable. I wouldn’t do them without other people (they really don’t make sense out of context), but in doing them with others, they are very fulfilling. Then again, these things are done simultaneously.

Writing or talking can’t be done simultaneously if you want to communicate anything. There has to be listening/reading as well as talking/writing. We take turns, I guess, when we are writing. So writing for oneself, to me, is like talking to myself. It’s a fairly one-sided conversation, and I really don’t have much, if anything, to say in response.

So, I guess it comes down to the idea that if I am not writing to someone else, there’s really no point in writing. I don’t need to explain myself to myself. And I’m not entertained by anything I have to say to myself. It’s just kind of boring or sad. It only works if I can imagine it entertaining someone else.

mattbrowne's avatar

Not after the thirtieth time. But this is part of the publishing process. Not everything is fun.

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