Stop Deleting Your Old Content!
An argument for leaving your terrible past out in the open to show everyone how far you’ve really come.
I have been posting content online since 2008. My old art and outdated hot-takes that I made at the tender age of 13 are not things I really want people to see. The obvious solution is to delete anything I deem terrible and move on, but I don’t and I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Your old art and writing is bad...to you now. Keep in mind though— at one point you were really proud to share that with the world! And at that point, the world was happy to enjoy the fresh new things you made. Just because it hasn’t aged well with you, doesn’t mean it’s aged badly. There are still so many people out there who will be impressed by that story you wrote six years ago! And there are even more people who read it once but could come back to it over and over and over again.
Just because it hasn’t aged well with you, doesn’t mean it’s aged badly.
Here's the thing: if you didn’t look back at the things you created a few years (or even a few months) ago and cringe a bit, you would have to be concerned about how much you’re really improving. A normal part of growth is being able to nitpick the flaws that time and practice have made obvious to you now. When you hate something you once made, pat yourself on the back for how much better you are now! That is concrete proof that what you're currently making puts your old work to shame.
...But that doesn't mean your old work has no place in this world. So many creators fall into the trap of hating anything they made over fives months ago so much that they never want to see it, and therefore never want anyone else to see it. That content’s old, it’s full of mistakes, it’s embarrassing, and you may even think it doesn’t represent what you’re able to do now. Except it does! It proves how far you’ve come thanks to how much effort you’re putting into your work. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
2014 vs 2020
Also keep in mind that there is someone out there who loves your old phases. Whether it’s a certain style you got into or a fandom you were obsessed with but don’t care about anymore, there’s a big fan of yours out there that will be heartbroken when they find their bookmarked page says “This can no longer be found”. I would know. I have been that fan many times.
Ultimately, you are the creator and you have full control over what works of yours get to stay. That being said, I beg of you to be proud of what you’re making and what you’ve made. Remember you wouldn’t have your current skills without all of that experience under your belt. And stop worrying if people will judge you based on a “bad” drawing or story or piece of music from 2012. Your old content is part of your overall journey, which your biggest fans will always want to be a part of (no matter how wonky you drew that nose). Keep creating and keep those old works online!