|What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
You are your own best judge, as long as you're being honest with yourself. If you believe something you've written in the past is worth trying to do something with now, then by all means give it a try. You may still be wrong, but even rejection is a valuable experience that makes you better in the long run. If you're not confident about something you've written, don't get hung up on it; forget about it and move on.
Leave them where they are unless you feel a very positive surge to write about something of your past. I had to rewrite volume 1: Lieutenant at Large and I thought that was very hard.
you need to let the world see it. I say you can not make your dream come true if you keep it locked away.
just get it out there. the only thing that can hold you back is you.
Edit them and give them as Xmas gifts. That way you can either get a lot of feedback that encourages you to publish or enough friendly kidding and teasing to make you realize you had better hold on to your day job.
Read them again and again, correct every part that you feel shameful of, until one day you will not feel ashamed of your text anymore...
Revisit them with a fresh eye. Some might be more suited to a different medium.
Read them again. If you've been working in the meantime, you should have improved, and you'll be able to spot any potential you might have missed earlier.
Reread them. If it was a book in a store would you buy it? Would you change anything? When it's as you want it either send it off to a publisher and wait months or get it online at Smashwords and Amazon and let the reading public decide if they like it.
I can't answer this for anyone, this has to be the individual's own choice because acceptance is an important part of being a human. I was very worried that if "My Bad Tequila" would not have been so widely accepted and recieved so many 5 STAR Reviews I really don't know if I would have been able to show myself in public. I might have become hidden and perhaps a hermit or worse - suicide?
Old pie never sells.
Start a blog and post them up there. Tell a few of your friends to read it. Or say they aren't by you when you post them. Then you can get honest feed back and you won't feel so shy about it. When I'm shy about showing a story I have to ask myself if I believe in what I've written and if I love it. If I love it and believe it's great than showing people is like playing an instrument for the first time on stage. You might go off tune, but you'll never know your potential if you don't step on that stage.
Go through them, and see if there's something you like in it. There might be an idea worth salvaging.
Thicken up your skin and the3n dig 'em out of your drawers and closets and dust 'em off and go for it cause you can't take 'em with you if they ain't published. Whadda ya got to lose, a manuscript?
I have nothing from years ago.
Go back through them with a critical eye. What's worth preserving, what could be rewritten or tweaked and what's a complete loss? I have so many projects like that — plays, novels, scripts — that haven't gone anywhere. There is probably some worthwhile material mixed in with a lot of half-baked ideas or cornball concepts. Actually, "The Sum of My Parts" came out of a couple of uncompleted memoirs and "Au Naturel" grew out of the blogging I did when I was on Martha's Vineyard. You never know what will turn out to be valuable. Thanks to computers, it is much easier to save and access old material than it used to be, back in the days when you stuffed shelves with failed manuscripts or unfinished plays. Unfortunately, I have been doing this for so long that I still have hundreds of pounds of printed-out work that I will never look at again because I don't have the time or energy to scan it all into the computer. Something for the future biographers to sort through, I guess!
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