I just realized while contemplating what to write that this is the 40th anniversary of my first short story sale.
Writers change. It's impossible not to. Consider that every work you complete makes you a better writer. The story may suck, you may be displeased, and perhaps you can't find a place to publish it besides your Facebook page with two followers - you and a confused person who created their account and never returned. It doesn't matter, because you're learning from your experience. You're a better writer by a fraction of a percentage point. The more you write, the more it adds up.
We also are changing as we grow older. Different day jobs, marriages, divorces, kids, friends coming and going, the occasional visit of the Grim Reaper, and a new batch of kittens born under your front porch. We learn, we make mistakes, we love, we grieve, we keep moving forward. All of that raw material is fodder for your stories. The people we've known contribute snippets of their personality and DNA to your characters. The settings recall places we've been and places we want to visit.
I had the writing bug, so I wrote a lot of stuff here and there. It helped to pay some of the bills, and I was able to write in different genres well enough to get picked up. Romance was the hungriest publishing genre. I wrote horror, but that market was rather depressed at the time. Still, I liked writing it, so I did it for my own enjoyment. That helped me to focus on writing things I liked to do rather than writing to market, even though the latter paid more.
Fast forward a few million years and I retired from the IT field with no mortgage and lots of time. I couldn't play golf anymore because of injuries when I was in the military. I decided to write full-time and see if I could make a go at it. It's working so far, and it helps that I can also work on improving my skills by picking up another degree (this time for English) and enroll in an MFA program. We'll see how this changes me as I progress through the classes. After all, time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
And we keep returning to this hallowed place. Still we write, taking pleasure in adding to the nodegel and having people read our words. All votes, up or down, indicates a visitor who stopped by to say hello. Maybe it's time we stopped using cheap no-name coffee and pour them a nice cuppa tea or the good caffeine.