I used to live near a co-op, a natural food store that also produced a publication focused on wellness. I pitched a couple of ideas and began writing for them. I contributed to each issue for a year or so.
But, I moved away and the locality of the writing wasn’t something I could continue long distance. I thanked my editor for the experience and opportunities and moved on.
Later, that publication ended up being folded into another magazine. When the new site was launched, the older articles were nowhere to be found (there’s a lesson here, as much as we are told things online last forever…well, sometimes they disappear, too.) I didn’t think too much about it at the time, I was working on other projects and although I was thankful for the experience, those articles being in the rearview mirror felt right.
Maybe it also helped I knew I had the printed versions if I ever needed them. They were filed away. Waiting. A time capsule.
This past weekend, I was typing a blog post for a client when an article I had written for the co-op bubbled into my brain. Next thing I knew I was flipping through files and there they were, in all their newsprint paper stock glory.
Reading them now, I’m able to see how far I’ve come. I remember how nervous I was reaching out to authors and professors for quotes. The drafts I’d labor over, learning how to weave a story together. I can see now, through the power of hindsight, how much I’ve grown. Plus, seeing my past articles has given me fresh ideas, new seeds to fertilize my current projects.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you sit and read old work daily, or even monthly. That sounds like an exercise in procrastination. But do look back now and then and give yourself some credit.
You may even find you’ve surpassed your goals. And then some.