Writers Anonymous: There are not enough cemeteries to hold all the dead characters I left behind by not finishing stories.
"Old Graveyard" by Evgeni Dinev from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Every writer I know has a folder. What's IN this folder? Every note, every picture, every first line, every character sketch, every idea for a story you've ever had.
I have one. It's quite large. It's called WRITING. Inside the folder, you will find other folders that represent various "states" of projects. I have a NOVELS folder that contains novels that are completed, novels with outlines, novels with ideas. I have a SHORT STORIES folder that contains the same elements as my NOVELS folder. I have a STORY IDEAS folder that is full to the brim of ideas. I even have a NEW STORY IDEAS folder because of course those ideas are different from the those in the STORY IDEAS folder. I have a SNIPPETS folder that contains hundreds of notes, each note has a line that I heard or that came to me and I just KNEW I had to write it down for a story... that has not been birthed... yet.
I have nearly thirty folders within the WRITING folder, and each of those folders contains several folders as well.
Some of the material within the WRITING folder is over ten years old. I think the oldest thing in it is about twenty years old.
There are some items in this folder I know I will never touch again. During the time I've been collecting these bits and pieces, I have grown as a writer and will no doubt continue to do so. Some of the ideas do not fit into genres I love to write in, and some no longer pull on me, begging me to write them.
Just as we make time to write (or well, we should make that time)... just as we make time to organize our current writing and to promote and market the published works (or well, we should make that time), we should also make time to take a deep breath, sit before our computers, enter the Cemetery of Stories and Ideas, and take sincere and honest inventory of what we find among the dying pieces. There are no doubt gems worth resurrecting, and there are no doubt things you know in your gut that you will never come back to.
It's not necessarily about hitting the DELETE button and removing those things from your life forever (though technically, some of it does probably need a good, proper burial). It's about organizing a space that is important to your writing life so that when you come to the digital space you work in, you have the most useful tools (including stories and ideas) at your disposal for quick and immediate production.
|Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator, whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services and online programs at CLG Entertainment.|