Stop Throwing Your Writing Away by Cheyenne

Are you the type of writer who takes the time to compose a novel, poem, or some other form of literature and then shred it or move the file to the Recycle Bin on your computer? If you are, consider changing your behavior.

We all have that one piece that makes us cringe and wonder, “Why did I write this?” In those cases, it’s not so bad to toss the story and push it as far from your mind as possible. However, if you write something (absolutely anything—even just a small poem daily when your mind wanders) and then decide to toss it without a second thought, you may be throwing away an opportunity. Perhaps you are the type of writer who just enjoys writing for the pleasure of it and does not mind discarding your pieces at the end of the day. You do not find any reason in holding on to something you will never publish, nor does it seem logical to cling on to a story you are just not “feeling” in your gut to continue writing.

Whether these feelings are true for you or not, if you throw your work away, chances are you are also throwing away the potential creativity you could have invested in another story. Take, for example, the scenario where you are writing multiple stories at once. You have good creative flow with one story, but you’re stuck with the other and do not feel your connection with it like you do the other one. You decide to throw it away and focus your creative energy back on the opposite story. However, after a few paragraphs in, you decide the scene you’ve written just doesn’t fit with the overall plot, and you cannot find the creative energy to think up a different way of continuing the story.

This is potentially where the discarded story could come in handy. If you think it is completely hopeless in finishing, then take the time to look at the scenes you’ve written for it individually. Analyze them. Get into a “recycling” mindset. Going by the example above, you may find a scene in the discarded story that inspires you to create a new scene for your other story, thus propelling its plot.

Long story short, it is a good idea to hang on to stories you do not think you want because some scenes, characters, settings, or even lines of dialogue can be picked out of them and incorporated into other stories you have a passion for. And even if you truly are the type who writes for the pleasure of it and does not care to publish the work, consider hanging on to each manuscript for the purpose of creative inspiration to keep your passion alive. It is very easy to drift away from an imaginative zone when writing, but having other written works to inspire you can make the writing process much easier.

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Posted on December 28, 2016, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love this, Cheyanne! This is so very true.

  2. When I was little I used to do this and now I really regret it, because most of my work is thrown out

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