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Non, je ne regrette rien

December 15, 2011

I think a lot of people regret what they have written in the past. They think, “Ugh! What was I thinking? This is so horrible!” I met a writer at World Fantasy who told me how much she regretted the first few books she published and cringed every time someone came up to tell her they had read them.

I understand her point. She is a better writer now and can see all the flaws of her early work. However, I think she is missing something vital.

I saw this picture on one of my favorite tumblrs and thought, “That is very true.” It is one of the reasons I haven’t burned all of my horrible fan fiction writing from middle school and (yes) high school. At one point, that was not only the best I could do but it was something that excited me and that I was proud of. It was what I wanted to write and I should never regret it.

The writer I met had forgotten she loved those stories. They were what she wanted to write. And while it is true, you should make sure to burn all of your crap when you become famous so that no one (such as your well-meaning but starving children) can find it, publish it and sully your name, you should never regret writing it.

I recently was offered a new job which I gladly accepted. And while I’m not going to exactly miss my old job (10 more days!) I do not regret working there. Working there was how I developed the skills that got me the new job. I met some wonderful people, not to mention some less than wonderful people (your horribleness will not go unpunished in fiction!). I had access to hundreds of names every day, one of which inspired my main character’s name for this year’s NaNo novel.

Realizing that you are a better writer is a wonderful thing. You’ve improved. But why would you ever regret all the hard work it took to get you here? That’s like regretting puberty. Sure, it’s a little embarrassing but we all went through it.

The only thing you should regret is doing nothing. So aren’t you lucky that it’s almost the new year and you can make some resolutions! You can’t regret trying something. Except maybe drugs. Don’t even try to argue with me. Resolutions! Make them! The end.

*If you don’t recognize the title, it means No, I didn’t regret a thing. It’s the song they are listening to in Inception. By Edith Piaff. Lovely. Go listen!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 22, 2011 3:55 am

    I agree with what you wrote, I always try telling people that too (in very nice terms) and myself never regret anything, even though some truly HORRIBLE stuff has happened. :) Cheers.

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