Reading through these was an exercise in self-awareness, seeing just how far I have come as a writer, even since those pieces which were shared a mere eight years ago. The secret, of course, is that these words needed to be written in order to reach the better ones — something many people who ‘want to be a writer’ fail to see. They dare not write, for fear their words will, in a word, suck. And the bigger not-very-secret secret is that yes, they will. Yet, without them, there’s nothing to polish, no foundation to build on, nothing to reread and wonder where you could improve. Writing is hard work, but there is no way you will ever get further on your path without putting in the effort and placing words on the page, without actually doing the writing. It is, after all, a practice.