Waste Not, Want Not

Waste Not, Want Not by R.S. Mollison-Read

When writing, it can be easy to become discouraged, if what we’ve written doesn’t seem to be the best of what we can produce. Sometimes, when I re-read something I’ve written, I find it so awful that I want to immediately delete it, and pretend that I never wrote it.

But I’ve learned to pause first, and tuck away that little piece of writing into a folder I’ve labelled ‘waste.’ This is my ‘rainy day’ folder, a ‘save-for-later’ file, and I always come back to this folder every few weeks. Just because something isn’t working the way I want on the first pass, doesn’t mean it’s never going to be useful to my writing again. I often find that later, I’ll discover a way to improve the passage I wrote; to make it into something worthwhile again. Or, I’ll find that the idea contained in the passage sparks another idea, and leads to something even more creative than the first idea I initially wrote.

I’ve talked about cannibalizing story ideas when necessary here. But in order to have stories to pull ideas from, I first have to keep those ideas that aren’t working out. That is what my ‘waste’ folder is for; storing the pieces of writing that seem like nonsense today, but just may be redeemable on another day.

Do you save all of your writing, even if it doesn’t seem great at the time? Tell me in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Waste Not, Want Not

  1. Yes, I save everything. Sometimes I can rework it; other times, I find a publishing option I hadn’t discovered before. One never knows.

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