When You Actually Should Dig Out Those Old Stories From the Dusty Drawer

stories in the drawer

Photo credit: rusty_cage via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

My partner, Mark, is a packrat. While he has tried hard to “purge” his various collections in between moves, we still have closets, and an outbuilding, filled with boxes of ephemera from his youth. Some of it includes things he’s written, things he would probably say he’s embarrassed by. Yet still he holds on.

This gives me plenty of opportunity to tease (or taunt) him about it. Why be so sentimental?

After reading “Looking Back,” by Andrew Porter, perhaps I’ll become more sympathetic. He writes:

There are any number of reasons for why stories get orphaned and forgotten, why they get sent to the darkest corners of our hard drives. Sometimes they may belong there, but other times I think they remain there simply because we’ve chosen to forget them, or worse, because we’ve given up on them. … [I tell students] if there’s something at the heart of the story that still interests them, that keeps pulling them back, that still haunts them years later, then that’s probably a sign that there’s something worth struggling for there, that somewhere, in the midst of all that mess, they might even find some of their very best work.

Read the entire essay.

Also this month from Glimmer Train:


Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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3 Comments on "When You Actually Should Dig Out Those Old Stories From the Dusty Drawer"

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Michael LaRocca

I was able to drag myself out of “retirement from writing” by digging my old stories from my dusty brain. Twenty years down the road, I didn’t have the papers, and that was for the best. I forgot the rubbish parts and remembered the good stuff, and came at it with a fresh outlook because it was, after all, twenty years down the road.