Q & A with Charles Yu at io9! Here’s a snippet:
The first story I wrote was about ten years ago. It was called “Problems for Self-Study” and was a story about a marriage, told through physics problems. You can actually read it here.
I worked on that story for several months, and then sent it out (ahh, the arrogance of the clueless - sending my very first story out!). I got about 50 rejections. And an acceptance, from the glorious Harvard Review. I then revised the story a couple of times with edits from HR, and they published it about 8 months later, so about a year and a half after I first started the story. And it is only about 2000 words long! And a lot of those words are numbers.
I definitely struggle with liking what I’ve written. Always, always. I think that will always be a thing for me. When I read some of my earlier works, sometimes I cringe, but then again, that happens with some of my not-so-earlier works, too. It’s like hearing the sound of my own voice on a voicemail. It’s just weirder and more nasal and so much less cool that it sounds when filtered through the architecture of my skull.
But there are definitely some affectionate feelings toward my very first stories, too. It’s important not to hate on yourself too much - if you do, you’ll never let anything go out into the world. The trick is hating the bad parts, right? Knowing how to read yourself as if you’re not yourself. Not easy, not always even possible (if you’ve been through a draft too many times), but it is do-able, in my experience.