Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Cleaning

My file drawers were full to bursting with old drafts of stories, copies of rejection letters, scraps of paper or news clippings with story ideas, and still more old drafts of stories. I decided to take a big step and  weed through it.

I started with old drafts of published stories. If I have the published clip, I don’t need the 25 drafts that got me there. That was easy.

Old drafts of unpublished stories. Will I really look back and use something buried in a file? Not if I can’t remember it. I took several deep breaths and tossed out all but the most recent draft or two of my favourites. Then there was some stuff that prompted me to think, ‘I actually wrote that?’ Goodbye.

Copies of submission and rejection letters. If these were for something I'd already tossed, no sense in keeping them. More than a couple of years old? Adios. I have a few things I’ve kept for writing presentations at schools, but I don’t plan on ever wallpapering my office with rejections.

My folders of story ideas? I couldn’t face weeding through those, so they are back in my file drawer. Even so, when I was finished, I was thrilled. I could actually put things in the drawer! I felt so much lighter, like it was a new beginning to go along with my new project.


  1. Wow, I don't think I could do that kind of spring cleaning. My writing is one of those things I can't throw away. Partially it's because I actually like going back to old drafts and seeing how terrible they were! But also, I think they feel too much like me to get rid of. I'm sure my desk drawers would be happier if I wasn't so sentimental!

  2. Anna, it was painful at first, but I really had no more room in my file drawer. I like the idea of going back over old drafts, though, especially when you're working on the first draft of something new. It would be a good reminder of how it doesn't have to be perfect.

  3. I love to throw stuff away. I'm very careful about throwing writing away, though. But the queries, covers, rejection slips? Out they go.

  4. Yeah, it has to be done carefully, Marcia. There are some pieces I'd never think of getting rid of. But some of the stuff I threw out was over 10 years old, and I know I'll never need it.


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