I wanted to continue on the previous post, and how revisiting affects my writing. There are two primary ways: reading old things with new eyes, and having my writing workshopped.
When I dig through my files and decide to read an old story, I get to see it like an outsider. I have no recollection of the specifics, or even some of the major plot points. I can truly analyze it without bias. Though it takes a long time to do so, I do love being able to revisit my old work. If nothing else, it shows me how much I have changed as a writer since then.
When I don't have the time needed to forget about a story, I need a workshop. It may be a dozen people or just one person reading it, but feedback from external sources forces me to revisit all of my ideas and all of my choices. Here, I am even more forced to consider my beliefs and ask what is better off being changed and what should be left alone.
Especially in workshops, it can be rough. It takes a certain personality or a lot of training to be able to handle a good workshop. But the hardest thing to do is not withstand a barrage of criticism, but to face yourself and accept where you are lacking. It's totally worth it when you realize that every flaw you admit and work to prevent is a criticism you won't receive again.