I subscribe to the RSS feed of Murray’s blog. It can be interesting – you should check it out. His most recent post is called “How can you know where you’re going, if you ignore where you’ve been?“. It’s about his journey as an improving writer, and how you need a reference point (your past work) so that you can see if you’re improving (by comparing it to your current work). It’s sensible stuff, and a good idea1.
I think I’m quite similar to Murray, both in character and situation. I’ve considered including some of my old writings in this blog for a long time2. I have a wide selection that I can choose, nearly spanning my whole 15-year writing life. Murray chose to post a short story which he discovered in a notebook, written when he was 14. Here’s the first section:
A strange woman rode into town upon a donkey. She rode up the general store, dismounted and entered
“Good evening, ma’am” said Smithson. Robert Smithson was the General store’s only employee. He had worked there since his father, Robert Smithson Sr, had unfortunately died when 10 tonnes of tinned Baked beans fell on him during a delivery.
“Hello sir. Take note. By Dawn tomorrow I wish to have A new donkey, 10 tins of Baked beans, stop Blubbering man, an assistant, 3 2 litre Bottles of perrier water and a map of the county. Think you can do that,” she almost whispered
“It’s possible, I think” he replied with a tear in his eye, “By noon tomorrow I could get it done but it’s a bit 50:50 for dawn”
“I’ll see you at noon then. Make it so”
Yes, it’s bad. I cringed. But you know what? Whenever I dared to write fiction, I had the same result, and I most likely still would if I tried my hand at it now. I similarly expect past blog posts to be of a lower standard than my current ones3, but that’s because I’ve been writing regularly. Writing takes practise, just like everything else.
Anyway, although I’ve thought about it for a while, after reading Murray’s post I’m actually going to do it: I’ll post my old writings. Where will they come from?
- I have a collection of old school work, right back from primary school4 along with more recent (and coherent) work.
- This includes two novels and several poems which I wrote age ~10. I’m sure you’ll love to read them.
- I’ve taken notes in various notebooks. I’ll see what I can collate.
- I’ve written on several iterations of this blog, but not all of the posts survived the rebirths. Most of those missing posts are backed up somewhere, and I’ll have to dig them out5.
- I’m going to read through all 250 posts and 50,000 words of this blog, to see if there are any gems that I think are worth putting on display again. There’s surely some old post here which I’m proud of.
Let’s see what I come up with.
ASIDE: Whilst I’m on the subject of ‘bad’ writing, I want to mention Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy. He’s the author of “Bad Astronomy”6 and “Death From The Skies!”7 Sure, he’s enthusiastic, knowledgable, and has the right attitude and contacts, and I enjoy reading his blog, but I just don’t think he writes very well. He’s not awful, but he has a certain style, and I wouldn’t go as far as to describe that style as “good”. I’m probably just being a dick, and it’s just my opinion, but I do find his writing off-putting, which is disappointing as his subject matter is almost always so interesting. Still, he’ll improve, and I’ve nothing but respect for the guy. He does a great job.
- One so good that I’ve had it myself. [↩]
- Not because it’s ‘easy’, by the way. [↩]
- Well, my serious posts at least. [↩]
- That’s a story for another day. [↩]
- I read some of them yesterday. Sadly, most of them are completely assinine. [↩]
- Technically, it’s called “Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing Hoax”. [↩]
- Technically, it’s called “Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End…”
Fuck American publishers and their insistence on giving books a subtitle. Look at the result – an exclamation followed by a colon!: blasphemy much? [↩]