I suppose every writer understands the awkward, uncomfortable experience of trying to re-read or edit something they wrote a very long time ago.
For me, at least, that experience tends to begin with cringing, and then moves on to a desire to we-write from scratch, just to avoid any more uncomfortable re-reading.
At that point I usually just close the editing tool I have open and walk away.
I used to write all them time. I was once a reasonably accomplished tech writer. In early 2004 I started blogging, writing almost daily. Writing short essays several times per week is great practice for a writer.
I’ve written a number of short stories, started a novel at least three times, actually finished a novella.
It all stopped a few years ago. Social media rose and blogs stopped being a thing, and then the friend who hosted my web sites died suddenly, leaning me locked out our server for good (I was able to export most of the writing, fortunately, and have since at least gotten the blog back up, if not kept it up to date).
In any case, I just stopped writing, for a very long time.
Recently, however, a friend of mine asked to read something of mine, so I fished a piece of fiction out of archives and shared it, getting positive feedback; this got me stated writing a few things, just descriptions of events or experiences. Nothing ambitious, but vastly more than I’ve written in a decade.
Then a second friend made a similar request to read something. That friend then recorded herself recording a piece of my writing, is planning to do a more complete recorded reading in future.
Hearing it out loud, hearing the story, and hearing all the little things I needed to fix somehow gave me the kick in the ass I needed to actually complete a long-avoided re-edit. A task I’ve been avoiding for literally a decade, if not more.
It’s been cathartic, and I am thankful for the friend who got me started on this, as well as the one who liked my work enough to try reading it out loud.