Last week I shared my dismay over not saving all of my past work. Our past writing has potential value – be it for personal edification or for future projects – but in order to tap that value, we need to keep it.
Taking that thought one step further, I also see the need to save our writing that we don’t use. When we cut something from our “work-in-progress” (WIP), it could become useful later:
- A cut character could be the basis for our next novel, a novella, or a short story.
- A cut scene could become a short story.
- A cut section from a non-fiction work could later be adapted into an article or a blog post.
- Of course, there is always the possibility that what we have just cut may need to be added back later.
This also applies to abandoned projects. Sometimes I start an article, but it’s just not working out, so I stop before wasting any more time. A few years ago I published “Going From Good to Better” in Connections Magazine. I wrote – and abandoned – the first two paragraphs of that piece some five years before that, but it took half a decade for the rest to come into being. I’m glad I kept it.
I also make a point of saving emails containing significant messages. These could be useful content for a future non-fiction work or memoir – or if someone asks the same question again.
So save all of your writing, including everything you cut. One day you’ll be glad you did.
Has there been a time when something you cut was used in a later project?
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!