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Do you get rid of old writing? Options · View
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 12:33:00 PM

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I have several 'sluff boxes' - a lifetime worth of bits and pieces. Scenes, poems, character studies, anatomy lessons, research, etc.

My husband accused me of being a pack-rat. Even though I see no reason to go back and read any of this stuff, it's still a significant part of my life. In the margins are scribbled personal notes and in many ways it was therapy. You never know, though, if at some point I might want to read it again. 15 years ago some of my poetry became pretty dang good, I still like it.

Just because it's old doesn't mean it doesn't matter.

On this note - technology has changed things significantly. I can write on my phone. It's very easy to lose and accidentally delete something. Once upon a time cells didn't exist. Everything was on paper, typewriter - floppy disks which were eventually transferred to 3 1/4's - and eventually that was all just printed out with a dot-matrix printer. I have reams of printed books that I never bothered to separate and stack.

If anything ever happened to it I'd probably die a little inside.

Now - everything I've ever written can fit onto one small thumbdrive.

Still not getting rid of my original works :D

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 2:36:32 PM

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Joined: 3/3/2009
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Location: Victoria, Australia
I generally keep my old stories and poems, but I wrote a novel by hand back when I was a teenager that's somehow gone missing over the years. I wish I still had that one. All my poems are kept in a box that I haven't opened in a long time, but I like knowing they're still there.

Now that everything's written on my laptop, I keep it all. Whether it's a story idea, a half-finished story, or a first draft that's been sitting there for years, I always come back to them at some point.
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 3:17:14 PM

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I throw nothing away!! The story in my forum sig won third place in the last comp... I'd stopped working on it a long time ago after a friend told me it was crap... (Come to think of it, they said quite a lot of my work was rubbish and that I wasn't a very good writer)

Even then, I still liked it, but thought they might be right... Eventually, I picked it back up and decided it could be a decent story...

I've often reworked old stuff... You can generally do something with it...

Nothing to see here...
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 4:09:06 PM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
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Nope. . never. Sometimes old storylines or plots resuface in my head and I end up finishing the tale or morphing it into something new. Just finished a new story under these circumstances as a matter of fact. thumbright
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 4:16:01 PM

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Getting rid of old writing is like cutting off your own leg. Silly to do, and leaves no support for future adventures into the world of prose.
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 4:19:17 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
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I would never really throw anything away I wrote, or purposely delete it...I've lost some stuff I hadn't finished, first time when my netbook got stolen in Sept. 2010...and again when my system crashed right around New Year...but nothing really major...

I've only really been writing in earnest since 2009, so everything is sort of posted on the internet somewhere, for better or worse I might add...

I did write two poems in high school, and a girl I went to school with reminded me about them a couple of years back...I have a feeling they're still in a drawer somewhere...

I did write out a couple of song ideas on paper in the 90's before I got a computer, which means they had to be before '96...a couple of them seem to work more as poems, and I posted one here "I Wish I Knew" is actually the oldest thing I have posted on Lush...early/mid 90's...

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 4:22:34 PM

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I keep it all. Sometimes looking back on it can give you an idea for a new story, or you can edit the half finished piece of crap and polish it up. Even sometimes just looking at something you can bring back feelings that you want to remember, so I keep everything. You never know when you're gonna wanna recycle something. Oh and btw, I have backups of backups everywhere. If it's electronic, chances are I'll have a story saved on it, in some form or another.
Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 5:57:45 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

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GingerKitty wrote:
I keep it all. Sometimes looking back on it can give you an idea for a new story, or you can edit the half finished piece of crap and polish it up.

You can also take a couple of unfinished pieces of crap and put them together to make, hopefully, one not so crappy piece...I've done it with poems a number of times...if you have two or three poems which are going nowhere fast, just take out the best lines from each and put them together...with any luck, you'll get one halfway decent poem out of the deal...

I've only done it once with a story..."Sexual Healing" which is my most popular story, in terms of reader response, not view count, was the result of me going through my unfinished stories back in late February 2010...

There was that story, which was one page in Word that I had started in Oct. 2009, a couple of weeks before I joined Lush btw...and there was another story called "The Best Part Of Breaking Up"...

The latter was a humor piece I had in mind about a guy who starts arguments with his significant other in order to get makeup sex...I couldn't think of a way he could insult her without it becoming possibly distasteful, so I abandoned the story...it was only one paragraph at the time...but, the opening paragraph explained how in order for someone to annoy you, you have to have feelings for them...

Anyway, that section in "Sexual Healing" where it starts "There is something I learned a long time ago. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference." came from that abandoned story...

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Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:26:40 PM

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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013 7:32:23 AM

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icon_smile I throw nothing away when it concerns writing: from notes, characters, or research.
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:45:46 PM

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You would not believe the number of one's I have deep six
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:58:36 AM

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My computer has a 4TB and a 3TB external hard drive. I have 2TB on the CPU itself. I also have a 500GB "temporary" external hard drive. I don't throw anything away! LOL!

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:16:47 AM

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There is absolutely no way I could keep everything I write. I probably lose more than I keep. I run across notes stashed in books and unfinished poems all the time. I wear computers out and leave things on them. Storage devices are everywhere. I can't remember where I stored certain things, I trash notebooks in hopes that no one under the sun should ever get a hold of it after I die. I have my academic articles and tons of notes for those. Notes for lectures that spin me into writing frenzies. Poetry, fiction and just stuff I have to write down before I shoot somebody. I've thrown things away only to dig in the garbage for it the next day. I'll remember writing something and can't for the life of me find where I put it at--and it was good too. I'll find diamonds in old journals and flash drives in the bottom of purses. I'm basically a neat person. That helps in my battle to let things go. In the past, I've moved around quite frequently. Getting rid of things becomes a necessity in that case. Sometimes I long for things that I have written that have long since been thrown out. It's a two edged sword.

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 12:50:04 PM

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when I was young, I used to write short stories in a diary. But, one day my mom read them, used a red pen and marked out all the grammatical errors. I guess she was just being a parent and playing her role. I was so mad that I ended up burning that diary. I think I'll always regret doing that. So after that, I kinda stopped writing for myself till I turned 19. But of course what one writes at 19 is not the same as what one can write at 10 but still...

Now I try to keep most of the things I write, whether its on my pendrive or a my notebooks. I am proud of what I've written so far; whether its thoughts, stories.. even ranting off and I'd like to keep it with me forever.. like a valuable treasure. and it probably is.

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Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 5:24:44 PM

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I try scanning the files into the computer, because paper can eventually take up a lot of room. Just make sure you put in Dropbox, Google Drive, and on a flashdrive to protect it from being destroyed forever.

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 6:51:52 PM

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I do most of my writing as journaling. To me journals serve a purpose and when that purpose is over I have no regrets about recycling them. So...I've tossed maybe thousands of pages over the years.
Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 12:58:01 PM

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For years I would write poetry and then just toss it out once I'd shared it with the person it was meant for. More often, it would simply be formed in my mind and recited at the moment. At the time, I never even considered keeping it. I lost dozens, maybe hundreds of works over the years. Now, with the advantage of smart phones and tablets, I record every verse as soon as it comes. Most of it will never be shared, but sometimes something is good enough that its worth posting.

Posted: Thursday, June 05, 2014 3:40:12 PM

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Never get rid of anything I have penned. I write history besides poems and in the case of one introduction I wrote, it took me so many re-writes over more than half a lifetime that I have an orange-crate full of various version of a 26 page introduction. Poetry is not "mine"
technically but I am the medium for a muse a woman incites. Sorry if only some of you have heard of such a thing.

I crave so much more than a physical connection. I crave your words and depth. I crave who you are and where you came from, your desires and fears. I yearn to know every inch of you beyond the surface.

-All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

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Posted: Sunday, June 08, 2014 9:39:52 AM

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I've never got rid of actual writing but I have a habit of ripping pictures and stuff out of magazines which I think will help me 'see' characters and places. Those do get binned occasionally. Reading Lisa's post reminded me that I have misplaced an early poem that won an award at school. I should have another rummage around for that.

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014 9:45:39 PM

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I have before, when I was younger. Now I try to keep everything, no matter how silly I think it is. But...I still lost everything when my computer died on me suddenly. I lost a decades worth of notes, character profiles, outlines and research. It still hurts...

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Coming Soon:

Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014 10:02:58 PM

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When I first started writing I wasn't careful and I lost some work that I would now very much like to have. Now I keep multiple copies of everything I write.
Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 9:47:45 PM

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No not at all.
Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:17:29 PM

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Some of my writing wasn't worthy of ashes in the wind. I have recently started a file for dust mites to read while wiling away in my shop, hoping them to quit fucking with my allergies...the dear wee creatures
Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:28:18 PM

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Most of mine isn't written down. I would think of a line or two and keep saving the drafts.


Probably not recommended.

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Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:33:24 PM

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Joined: 8/30/2013
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Location: Ventura, United States
I so agree. I have bookshelves of literature but most of them are now on my iPad or kindle. However, throwing my books away is like cheating on your lover. I can't bring myself to do it. Just dumping the encyclopedia alone would clear a book case.
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