Friday, August 3, 2012

Store Your Waste!

(Photo by Chris Fries -- 2012: Universal Waste Storage)

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice I'd like to offer you:  

Save your garbage; don’t throw out your trash; store your waste!

So what’s up?  Am I suddenly changing the format of this writing blog to give you a green message about recycling and environmental responsibility?

Nope, I’m talking about your writing, and my message is this:  Don’t hit delete on any writing files you’ve created.  Hold on to them.  Save it all.  Create your own "Universal Waste Storage" system and hoard your cast-off writing in it.

Trust me on this.  Because it's amazing how even your most hated, pathetic, useless piece of written dreck may ultimately prove valuable to you someday. 

Revisit your waste storage from time to time, and with a fresh perspective you may discover that an old idea thrown away as pure crap will suddenly seem workable; a forgotten rough character sketch might now seem rife with possibilities; a cast-off snippet of schlock scenery will now magically inspire a whole new story.

Often we're too hard on ourselves when we're struggling through the creative process, and when things bog down, we're tempted to throw everything out as worthless and start fresh.  I absolutely understand, and many times starting fresh is the only way to go.  But I'm telling you, don't throw everything away -- file it in your personal waste storage site and leave it for later.

Someday, when the phoenix of a great story re-emerges from the ashes of a piece of writing you once considered garbage, you'll be very happy that you stored that trash. 

It's happened to me, and I can almost guarantee it will happen to you.


Blog News:  5x5 Fiction No More...

I just discovered that a micro-flash web site has recently closed its doors and I wanted to take a brief moment to mourn its passing:   Angel Zapeta has decided to hang up his 5x5 Fiction blog -- read the story HERE.  Angel's site put out four wonderful issues of micro-fiction all done in a specific 5-line, 25-word format.  His site was also one of the first ones that ever accepted any of my writing, so I hold a special place in my heart for it.  

I thank Angel for all he did with the site and wish him well in the future.


Olympic Blog Relay Update 

On a more positive note, Nicole Singer's Olympics Blog Relay at her Write Me a World blog is going really well!  I hope you get a chance to check it out -- there have been some great posts by both Nicole and several guest bloggers.  Upcoming,  DL Hammons will be posting on Sunday (8/5), I'll be there on Monday (8/6), and Alex Cavanaugh will add his piece on Friday (8/8), so I invite you to stop by as we all blog about the Olympics and writing.  ;^)


Jake DeTrempe said...

Good post and good advice. I agree completely!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have a pile of old notebooks with writing, so hope that counts as waste storage.

Mina Lobo said...

That's great advice about storing stuff...I'd add only to save it all on an external flash or hard drive or something. Make sure to back up *everything* you want to hold onto, not just your current WIPs.
Some Dark Romantic

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great advise. Unfortunately, I've already dumped quite a lot, but I've saved more than enough to last my lifetime.

Thank you for the kind comment regarding my mother-in-law. I do appreciate it.

Nicole said...

Ooh, good advice and a great reminder! I've got stuff from 10 years ago that I'm still planning to weave into a story one of these days.

Chris Fries said...

@Jake: Thank you very much!

@Alex: Absolutely, that counts! I wrote this from a PC-centric point of view, but I have some old notebooks, too. ;^)

@Mina: Great point! Nothing worse than to lose everything because of a hard-drive crash, or a stolen laptop, or whatever -- back everything up!!!

@Susan: Thanks. And you're more than welcome -- you and your husband have my complete condolences.

@Nicole: Excellent! I'm very glad, and I hope a little trip down memory lane turns into some great reborn writing for you!

Tonja said...

I think it's also good to let go of our words and trust that better ideas will come to us.

Chris Fries said...

@Tonja: That's true. Sometimes the best thing to do when you're stuck is to walk away and start fresh on something else. I just think it's better to take what you're walking away from and store it someplace rather than to flush it completely. Who knows what you may see in it when you come back to it months or years later?

Donna Hole said...

OK, I missed all those blog relay posts; but I'll catch up now.

Good advice about the Waste Storage; I've resurrected some ideas myself in my own version of the recycle bin.

So sad about the 5x5. Seems like it was a good site.


Chris Fries said...

@Dhole: I hope you enjoy them. Plus, isn't it great when an old cast-off gets resurrected? And yeah, it is too bad about 5x5.