I tend to celebrate the end of a school year with a massive purging of my possessions, particularly paperwork. It’s amazing the scraps one accumulates over time. Drawers also get pretty packed with multiple notebooks, but after a few years, I realize I don’t need to keep all my notes from various classes. The tricky part is that I can’t just throw them in the recycle bin. I’m a writer, which means that at some point in each notebook a story idea was jotted down. So then I have to flip through each page and dig out those little nuggets. For a long time, I never let go of a single idea. This time, however, I evaluated those scraps of paper.
I realized that I have grown as a writer over the past few years. My tastes have changed. My genre has changed. Some of those story ideas were from high school, and, let’s face it, they were never going to get written, at least not by me. Good luck to any one sifting through my trash who wants to take on those throw-aways. If I thought there was the slightest chance I might try to turn those ideas into real books, I kept it. But the other thing I had to admit was some of my ramblings I couldn’t even decipher any more! Even if I wanted to write it, I’d have to start from scratch, making those notes null.
I will say this: while I condone throwing away old ideas you’ll never make anything of, a writer should never throw away something they’ve actually turned into prose. Yes, we all sigh at that. Our old stuff is embarrassing, and a lot of it should be locked away never to see the light of day. That’s fine. We can all have our own hunchbacks hidden away in the bell tower, but they are our babies nonetheless.
Happy purging and Happy writing.
~Dreaming wide awake