As you learn and grow into your professional skin, you go back to the vault and revisit old pieces. Trust me, I’ve been doing just that today so it’s on my mind.
Honestly, most stories come from solid ideas. You go back to look at things you penned to the best of your abilities in the past. Things you previously shouted about from some imaginary mountaintop, “Yes! I am a creative genius, and this is a freaking masterpiece!” At this point, reality slaps you in the face. It will do so to make you realize that your ego is enormous—don’t worry, all writer’s egos are—and that what you once thought of as genius is awkward and imperfect.
Too many adjectives (because you thought it was not only clever but the sole, flowery definition of creative writing), redundancy, grammatical errors, etc. Huge bonus: you will finally see what editors, agents, etc. saw. They weren’t assholes, after all. You just weren’t “there” yet. It takes a while to reach that “there” point, yes, but it’s worth it. If you haven’t hit the mark yet, just keep writing.
—Seriously, that’s the secret.
Accept that nobody is perfect, not even you, and persevere. Write, Sugar Buns, write! Write some more. Write even more and solicit feedback from your peers. Remember that ego is your enemy. Bitch to yourself if you must but suspend all that horse hooey in the presence of others and learn. Use resources like free editing sites and copy editors to make your life easier. Pay attention and they will eventually help you identify consistent patterns in your errors aka your grammatical and structural weaknesses. And no matter how good you become, you can always be better. Don’t ever stop doing these things.
—P.S. As a writer you are part of a unique, supportive asylum. Your fellow inmates are resources. Use them and give back when and what you can. We’re all in this together, my friends.