Every once in a while, something prompts me to pull out my stash of old notebooks and read through some of the old stuff I've written. I don't know what it is...writer's block, nostalgia, psychosis...but I can't rest until I've read it. Maybe it's a desire to see how far I've come as a writer. Or to convince myself that I haven't learned anything and I need to give it up.
Now I wish I dated all my old notebooks. I have a pretty general idea of when I wrote most of it (college, circa 1999-2000). I keep telling myself to write the start and finish dates, but I never do. If I would put everything in a Word file, I could tell from that (but that's too easy. I like doing things the hard way).
Most recently, I pulled out the very first novel I ever wrote. The first version was started while I was in Cape Girardeau, MO around 1999. I didn't complete a good final, novel length draft until I did my first NaNoWriMo in 2004 or 2005. I got a wild hair and started to edit it. It's really kind of crap, but I love the story. I love the characters. Is it just sentimental attachment or is it really worth putting the effort into it to revitalize it and make it something worthwhile? I don't know. I put a lot of work into writing it. It's a two and half parter...the last part of the trilogy was written in blocks of scenes and never put together. I even had an idea for a fourth book, but the idea fizzled and the notebook ended up in the tub with the others.
Does anybody else do this? Do you think it's helpful or harmful? It's kind of a distraction from things I should be writing now, but we learn from our mistakes, right?