It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

I’m still trying to organize my writing stuff. I’m determined to reduce my paper baggage. But I’m having a hard time letting go of stuff.

For my current wip, I have notebooks and hard copies from the three times I rewrote it, an encyclopedia of story and character notes, poorly written query letter attempts and diagrams of settings from scenes in the story. All this stuff is from the late nineties. I really don’t need them anymore because I’m totally reworking the plot and the characters have changed– a lot.

Still, I can’t bring myself to put the papers in the recycle box, especially not after I’ve gone through the pages. I may have to just put them in the recycle box without looking at them. But then I’m afraid I’ll be getting rid of a genius bit of dialogue or the filler for the gaping plot hole in my story.

Well, writing this post has helped me arrive at what to do with my writing stuff. I’m going to pack it all up in a plastic container and put the container in the garage. Good plan, right?

So how do you handle your old notes, discarded scenes and other stuff that doesn’t make it into your stories? Do you delete or throw away the wordage and not give it a second thought? Or are you like me and can’t let any of it go?


Filed under Kimberly, writing

8 responses to “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

  1. I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to tossing stuff I don’t need, but I figure that just gives me space for things that I really can’t let go of. I have those notes, too, and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of them. Anyway, in our house, one more box doesn’t make much difference. 😉

  2. harrisonamy

    I have exactly the same problem. I have scrawled notes to myself from over 15 years ago that I come across when having one of those “spring cleans” only to amuse myself by reading them all and putting them back into storage. Like you say, I worry about throwing away that one idea of gold, but the irony is that when I’m looking for some gold, I wouldn’t know which notebooks to go through to find it! Mostly it’s just for my own pleasure, I can while away many hours just sitting with a cup of tea and reading my diary from being 12! (13 years worth of handwritten diaries – one day I’ll type them up…one day)

  3. I don’t usually print anything–but I do save all my discarded wordage. I usually have a subfolder in the current wip folder called “false starts and abberations”.

  4. How do I handle them? That’s easy. They get moved to a folder called “Old” or “Older” or “Newish” or some other form of a name.

    I don’t delete anything, either. But I don’t have lots of paper notes. I imagine if I did, I’d save them, too. I can’t let go, either, and I probably won’t.

  5. I am a writing pack rat. I keep everything. Unless some computer malfunction has eaten it (Jesse *cry*) then I never throw it out. Now I am currently burning one paper copy of a manuscript I printed out 3 yrs ago that frankly isn’t even much good as kindling starter. But I have that file on flash drive so I technically still have it.

    Hard copy notes and things I keep also. They are in folders or envelopes in my desk. One day, maybe, I can throw them out. Maybe.

  6. Linda

    I throw nothing away, you never know when the bits you couldn’t use in one book would fit like a glove in another. I’m not a pack rat with anything, but my writing. Much to the chagrin of my But seriously I cannot throw a darn thing away, that would almost be like asking me to cut off my right arm. Even if the story never sees the light of day, it came from the heart. Yes, my early writing sucks..but it’s my crap and I lurve it all. 😀

  7. I can never keep my notes in a single binder.. So I have many half written notebooks, online journals, etc.

    But one thing I did for my physical journal was to cut out the papers I wrote on, and pasted them on a notebook. Somehow.. that enabled me to have a year’s worth of musings in a book as compared to having them scattered everywhere.

    I totally relate to you about the dont dare throw things away syndrome. I throw things away easily, but when it comes to things I’ve wrote, etc.. it gets abit harder.

  8. Jolie/Sally

    I could have written this post! 😛 I have a big problem with wanting to keep all that old writing too, but mostly, as someone else mentioned, for my own entertainment. 🙂 I actually have a harder time getting rid of the paper copies than deleting stuff off of my hard drive–probably because it’s more work, which is an altogether different issue, isn’t it?

    Maybe try think of your inability to burn or recycle your old stuff like this… Someday–when you’re at the top of all the bestseller lists–you can look back and be proud of how far you’ve come over the years!

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