Long ago, in a far away galaxy, Amanda Riggle wrote a short post on where abandoned writing projects go, and I liked it so much that I wanted to share it again with our readers today. I, as well as Amanda, believe that you should never toss out any writing projects, no matter how small and no matter how hopeless they may seem. I have folders hidden away on my computer that sometimes, years later, I return to. Some of these weren’t as horrible as I originally thought, and I have turned them into longer pieces, while others—still horrible—had something about them that stuck with me. I used them as jumping off points for other pieces entirely.
Here’s what Amanda had to say about abandoned writing projects:
When my little sister was younger, she watched a TV show called ChalkZone. It was about the land where erased chalk drawings go once they are cleared from the board. It was a creative and cute show, and I’ve always imagined what it would be like if there were a land where abandoned writing projects went.
I’d like to imagine there’s a world out there where unbelievable plots fight with each other, bad puns run amok, cliche rhymes can roam free, and confused similes and metaphors ruled the land.
This land would be beautiful. I want to go there.
But, in all seriousness, what do people do with their abandoned writing projects?
Personally, I keep mine around. I have piles of little notes I’ve started that I’ve never followed through on, tons of saved Word documents on my computer that haven’t been opened in years, and I have little sticky notes on the desktop of my computer filled with half poems that I’ve yet to complete. All of these words are, in essence, abandoned, but I hope that won’t always be the case.
I keep around my old writing in hopes that I will revise my old ideas and make them into something glorious and new. There have been lots of stories in which I have written myself into a corner, or the believability has flown out the window, but that doesn’t mean my work can never be salvaged. Bad writing, poor puns, cliche metaphors and similes aside, no project is totally unworthy of a second look.
So where do my abandoned projects go? No place, for they aren’t abandoned, just merely shelved until I have the time and ability to turn them into what I want them to be.
And I shall end this post with my favorite quote about revision, by author Katherine Patterson: “I love revision. Where else can spilled milk be turned into ice cream?”