I’m currently working on a novel that I’m remodelling from an old fanfiction novel I wrote around 6 years ago. That was the first thing I’ve ever fully planned, written, edited, and completed. I’ve been writing consistently since then and believe I have improved immensely. I’ve reread that story a couple of times since then, usually skimming and skipping wherever I feel like it. I know there are many problems with it: it’s too long, the prose is often clunky, there’s inner monologue that goes round and round in circles and subplots that never go anywhere at all. But there are also some real gems of dialogue and humour, and the development of the main relationship is pretty strong (something I’m struggling with in the current version).
When starting the new novel, I had decided to go back and read the fanfiction with a more critical eye in order to pick out the good parts, so I can try to emulate them, and the bad parts, so I can avoid the same pitfalls again. I am also interested in simply recording just how much I have improved since then. However, whenever I try to sit down and read it, I am immediately put off because the writing in many places is just plain bad. It was my very first attempt, so that’s to be expected. But I find it so cringey that I struggle to get past the opening chapter.
I’m wondering if there’s any advice out there to desensitise oneself to their own bad writing, in order to review and improve? Especially one’s early writings, which are undeniably bad but have some small gems of goodness hidden in them.