I just came up with this reason while browsing the forums here. Someone's probably already come up with it, but I don't wanna ruin my moment: We can use our old stories, written when we were very young, to learn about the paradigms of young characters. My first few books are now purely learning material. They are flawless examples of a 12-year-old's perception of his characters' perceptions, common storylines, action, tension, etc. The best part about all of that is that I never covered anything up. Now, looking back at them, I can have insight into my insight from 5 years ago. If THAT isn't some of the best reference ever, I don't know what is. Conclusion: learn from your old stuff. It sounds stupidly obvious, but now that I think of it, I realize that I don't see this sort of advice offered very often. People do tell you never to trash your old work, but they always say "learn from your mistakes." Yeah, do that too, but if you're writing any form of young characters, your old writing will be perfect to reference. Anyone else have stuff like this? Like, what do you use in your old writing to improve your current writing?