07 December 2018

Tossing Away Old Writing Notebooks - My Refreshing New Start


Today, I went on an exhibition to organize. It comes in waves for me, but this time was different. It all started when I came across old collages I made during high school and early college years that I would put in the front and back of binders. The hobby faded when I stopped subscribing to magazines, but these old collages remained stuffed in a weathered tote bag, unseen for years. Today, I decided to toss them and felt a pang of remorse, but almost immediately felt relief.

Then I came across a bag filled with notebooks and loose notebook paper filled with stories, freewritings, ideas, and character sheets. Quite a few were from high school (I couldn't help but wince at those.) Many were from early college years, which - let's just be honest - weren't that much better than the stories from high school years. And as I read through this huge stack, I knew it was time to let them go.

I tossed away character sheets and several chapters from a novel idea I had about people living on a street called September Drive (there were many versions of this novel and nothing quite clicked for me). I tossed away notes from the fantasy novel I wrote in high school (there is still many pages from this world I created somewhere in my closet). I also tossed away illegiblle story scenes that were aimless and unfinished. I tossed away short stories I wrote for class taught by a teacher who refused to let us turn in genre-based writing. I threw away the unfinished novel from that same year in college when I tried NaNoWriMo the first time (I tried reading it and couldn't even tell you what it was about).

Like with my collages, I felt bad about tossing these. Then when I got started, I realized how much I needed to do this. Was there a time that I would read through these stories and use them for inspiration? Maybe. Yet, I know I won't look back with regret and wonder what came of these scraps of myself as a writer, because I am ready to grow and move on. 

I recall reading writing advice from somewhere that said if you want to try and finish a story you left undone years before, start the story fresh. I agree with that advice. 

I still look at notebooks for inspiration, but I realize that the notebooks I use for inspiration now are more recent reflections of who I am as a writer. Maybe 10 years from now I will go through my notebooks from my late twenties and early thirties and wince at my failed attempts while smiling at my endless determination. 

Even as I say goodbye to this old version of me as a writer, it's still proof to me that writing will always be something I am pursuing. I love telling stories. It's a love and desire that God put into my heart before I even knew how to read. Today was proof of that and also proof I'm ready to let go and grow.

Do you hold onto old notebooks and stories?


13 comments:

  1. Every once in awhile a purge of that nature needs to be done.

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  4. I sense this was extremely satisfying, you have given me inspiration to clean up my messy office - one that would make a hoarder's nest look tidy...

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    1. It was!!I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to let go of these things too. I thought I'd hang onto them forever and then I realized how unusable and unreadable these notebooks were at this point.

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  5. I agree about starting over. I wrote a story 15 years ago, and I was completely different than what I am now. I'm also a much better writer now than 15 years ago.

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  6. It's so refreshing to start anew. A good clear out always helps with this. I hope you feel invigorated.
    Gemma @ www.gemmasbooknook.blogspot.con

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  7. You remind me that I need to have a sort out. I am terrible at throwing things out.

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  8. A new start is always good. I'm not a hoarder, I'm more of a throw everything out and then regret it later kind of person.

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  9. Oh I have a bunch of those and I am like you in not wanting to throw them away. But they do occupy too much space and they are memories. I just clicked photos of those and then threw SOME of them.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

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  10. Organizing! I should try that, someday.

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