I Wrote my First Book When I was 8
Seriously. I did. No, it wasn't some great published piece that made me a child prodigy. It was a class project that my Aunt had us do just after Christmas break. She was my second-grade teacher, and she taught us how to make a book by writing our story, illustrating it and creating a "binding" that looked very real to a group of 8-year-olds.
My riveting masterpiece was a book about our new puppy that we got for Christmas. As any talented writer knows, there must be a piece of the story that grabs the reader. I grabbed the reader by telling them how our dog promptly squatted and took a poop under the Christmas tree. Truly a story for the ages.
My Mother preserved the book in a box of things belonging to my brother and I. Every so often, I'm able to look back and remember the riveting story of our Siberian Husky taking a crap under the tree. The dog became a treasured memory, and I can not think of anymore incidents where a Christmas present was soiled by her.
It's funny when we look back on our past pieces of work, isn't it? In my case, I'm looking back on something I wrote when I was a child. I thought this was a wonderful book! I had written something amazing! I got a good grade on the project. That much I can say. The rest? Not so much.
As writers, we move and grow with our work. I think one of the worst things we can do is stagnate and always remain the same. To this day, I continue to listen to lectures, take online workshops and find writing exercises that teach me something new about writing. I hope that one day, I'll look back on The Veiled Monarch and see it the same way I see my little school project.
There's nothing wrong with looking back at previous work and shaking your head or chuckling at yourself. As long as it isn't disparaging towards you, I think it is fine to say "Look how far I've come." It's my hope that I can do that one of these days. That I can look at the novels I wrote in the past and enjoy them for what they are. I can still look at what I am writing in the present and know it's better.
The Veiled Monarch will not win any awards. I will still continue to treasure it as a story I wrote, keeping two separate copies on my shelf for me to hug every so often. (Hey, it was the first novel. You leave me alone. I'll hug it if I want to.) It will be the same as my Mother keeping that silly old project of mine. It's a glimpse into the past to remind me of where I started and where I've gone.