I'm not usually a hoarder. If you look around my house, there are a few over-crowded shelves and there's a cupboard that doesn't shut properly, but nothing a quick straightening can't fix. But one thing I've always done is keep old drafts of stories and novels.
Last night, while having a major procrastination session, I sorted out my filing cabinet. In some cases, I had six, seven or more copies of the same story. Worse, some of those copies were exactly the same. So I started to shred... and shred... and shred.
I found some gems - a handwritten first draft from a story I published in 1996, and a few fantastic openings or random lines that I'd forgotten about, which have already sparked some ideas.
But most of all, I found space. All I have to do is write enough to fill it back up again!
It was quite interesting to go back over some very old work. Some of it was awful - terrible - and it was reassuring to see how far I've come since I started. I kept a couple of those early stories, but threw out the rest - sometimes there's no point holding onto things that don't work anymore. I haven't quite brought myself to shred the novel I keep returning to (yes, 20 years later, and I'm still considering re-working it again), but I think I have to. For my sanity, if nothing else.
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