Sunday, November 28, 2010

Throwing stuff away

Today my daughter got mad at me for throwing away an art project she did at school a year ago. It was a picture she drew on tin foil and she wanted to do it again, but couldn't remember exactly how to do it.

This begs the question. How much of your old writing do you keep. Sometimes I think I keep too much. Every time I change a chapter, a query letter, a synopsis – I change the date and keep the old one, even though I might have only changed one sentence. I keep thinking that maybe I'll change my mind and decide that the paragraph on page 10 was better in version 15 than version 18 and if I throw it away I'll never remember what the exact words were.

How about you? Do you let go of your old words, or do you hang onto them like clothes from the 1980's.

21 comments:

....Petty Witter said...

Clothes from the 1980's? I swear if I was to look closely enough I'd find clothes going back to the 70's.

Colene Murphy said...

I am a writing pack rat. :( I can't delete anything because I know when I do I'm going to want it again and I will never be able to say that the exactly same way ever again and I will be a total failure because I deleted an older version of a book! Granted, it IS neurotic but it's easier just to go along with my insanity than fix it sometimes.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Oh, I'd like to see your clothes from the 1980's. Good thing the 80's are back.

notesfromnadir said...

Hey, if the clothes still fit & are in good condition, why not?

As for saving writing, I recommend printing it out, if you think it's worth your toner, & filing/labeling it. If you don't choose to print it, put it on an external hard drive making sure it's labeled & dated.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I do like you do. In part it a backup in case I crash my current copy. Also, it's fun to go back and look at the mess of words I started with!

Melissa said...

Yes, I save everything. Not sure why because the reason I usually delete something is because it's bad;)

Laura Pauling said...

I do save most versions because I never know when I'll go back to them. they just sit in a file and don't clutter a bookshelf, so who cares? Right?

The Happy Whisk said...

If I don't need it, I toss it. I can always rewrite a scene or whip up a new character, when needed. That's the fun of creating.

Robyn Campbell said...

I backspace baby. I know writers that keep everything. If I know it's poop, I get rid of it. :)

Oh and I don't keep the clothes either. :)

Carol Riggs said...

I'm a SAVER! But, having said that, I didn't write for 9 years while I was a single mom, and I tossed out all my hard copies cuz I moved into an incredibly small apt. Later, when I went back to writing, I regretted doing that.

But those novels were only practice anyway and luckily I'd given hard copies of most of them to my niece! I wouldn't ever USE those novels, but I might use core ideas from them, or completely rewrite them.

Also, it's good to see how I've improved--one cool reason to keep old stuff.

mshatch said...

I totally save everything - including a story I wrote with a friend in 6th grade. You never know when those ideas will come in handy!

Melissa Marsh said...

I never throw any of my writing away. I will delete scenes that I think are good and keep them in a separate file. But I have stories from the 6th grade that I wrote on a manual typewriter. I can't bear to part with them, so I will lug them around with me forever! :-)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I admit I keep most things. Eventually, they have to go, though. :-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I save most copies (drafts) though some of my early attempts at my query have long since been deleted. There's also ton of versions in my inbox that I haven't deleted. ;)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

It depends on what it is... I've thrown away everything I think doesn't have a chance. But the stuff I wish I improve on or still have hopes for, I keep.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I keep them all. I suppose I should go back and purge some of the old drafts on my computer now. :-) Usually the changes were a good idea and I don't need to hang on, but I do anyway!

Susan R. Mills said...

I keep everything. It's crazy, but I'm like you--I might want to use it later.

Talli Roland said...

I keep it all! I'm a believer that writing can be recycled. I might not write the idea the same way, but it might still be a good idea!

ali said...

I think I used to hold onto more things than I do now. I know which thing is better.

I usually keep things through the next draft ~ usually by then I know if something I wrote previously was better, and if I'm pretty confident that I've definitely moved on from that old thing, I don't feel one ounce of sorry for deleting it. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I used to keep much more than I needed. I always keep the first draft, the plotting notes, synopses and such, but I delete the middle drafts when I finish a project.

Carolyn V. said...

Just today I pulled out a huge stack of papers from one of my first drafts. I hate to throw it away, but there are so many pages! (Thank goodness I have a copy of it on my lappy.)