Letting Go – Old Writing

The big packing and de-cluttering continues at my house as we prepare to get it ready for selling. I’ve gone through so many of my things, that I’ve gotten to that exhaustive point of not caring and throwing old stuff out.

When I began sifting through my old writing stuff, I admit I was nostalgic. Looking over the print outs with notes of my own as well as from some of those in writing groups – the good and the bad. I wondered if the stories were worth salvaging in their half finished forms. I wonder if I could go back to them. In my gut, I knew I can’t. I saved a few ideas, a few snippets of notes with ideas written on them, but as far as the stacks and stacks of old stories, I sent them to the recycling bin. I felt a small pang for them, but then I realized that I have to start fresh. I can’t hold onto old ideas or stories that I never felt the motivation to complete.

I even discarded the notes and critiques. What good are they for me now? Do I take them in the move and get something out of them later?

Or would I rather nurture new ideas, ideas that are fresh in my mind that I can actually do something with them?

The answer is of course obvious. After chiding myself for wasting so much paper on the print outs, I knew that if a story was going to last, I would have kept at it. I would have transferred the idea onto my Google Drive, a much more environmentally friendly repository for all my copious thoughts.

Sometimes you gotta let things go. I’m starting to learn that as I slowly de-clutter my life. I’ve grown out of those stories, and though I may have gained something out of them in their time, they are no use to me anymore. Sometimes characters and stories just have to die; especially, if your writing style and craft has grown so much more since then.

What do you think? Can you de-clutter your own past writings and move on from them? How much do you mourn them knowing other better stories and ideas will take their place?


H.K. Rowe

6 thoughts on “Letting Go – Old Writing

  1. I did the same thing months ago. I came across notebooks full of very old writing, only to end up getting rid of them. (Something I never would’ve considered years ago.) It was sad, but at the same time, it’s like…I would’ve just put ’em in a box to grow dusty, anyway. Made more sense to just de-clutter. Glad you were able to do the same with your own writing!

    • Yeah my main reason for getting rid of most of my writings was they would just be in a box collecting dust, and that didn’t really motivate me to move them.

  2. I have not reached that point yet, but it’s all still pretty recent to me. Most of my nostalgic writing at this point is my juvenilia, which I will never shred no matter how crappy it is.

    But perhaps in 10-15 years, I might toss some short stories that didn’t work, or old school essays and papers and creative writing exercises. Especially if they’re unsalvageable. I’m already a little tempted to do that with some of my old, terribly written fanfic.

    • Yeah at your point I would have never thrown out that stuff.
      I did keep SOME things, like papers I did well on and stories that had artwork in them. But mostly my motivation was if I can’t use this story in any way anymore, I really didn’t want to move them. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about them until I went into the dusty box to lighten the weight for moving.

      Yeah I destroyed A LOT of fanfiction. That’s definitely unusable to me, lol.

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