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Monday, December 6, 2010

Is There Anything Good About These Old Shoes????

Maybe. Maybe not. If nothing else, they might be good for working in the yard. Or perhaps the laces can be used in another shoe. You never know. It's worth taking a look at if you ask me. Most of you know that I was on a little break from blogging over the last few days. I'm happy to say that I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and then some. House clean--check. Christmas decos up--check. Some shopping done--check. Really, I couldn't ask for more. Anyway, while I was pulling out Christmas decorations, I came across a box of old things I'd written. I had seen them about a year ago but didn't pay much attention to them. They were mostly essays and short stories I wrote in high school and college, or poetry that I wrote anywhere between the age of 10 and 22. This time, I sat on the cold concrete floor of the basement and re-read every single word. Most of these words were complete crap (and by crap, I mean a total waste), but some of the words and sentences, and even the plots, were salvageable. In one work, I found the glimmer of a totally unique and interesting story line. In another work, I found a beautiful description that I was surprised I'd actually come up with. Neither work in and of itself is worth much, but those two little pieces might just find a home in my more mature works. So, today, I beg you not to discount any of your old writing. Just like the shoes above, you never know when those old words might find a new home. What about you? Have you ever salvaged old writing and put it in a new piece of work?

28 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

When i first joined my writer's group I actually submitted an older piece of my writing my college as my first submission cuz it was wayyy too soon. They loved it. I've re-editted it & made it longer & it actually became one of my fav pieces I've written. Definitely don't discount your older work!! =)

storyqueen said...

I took the idea from a picture book ms I had written and placed it into a chapter of my novel. I am always raiding ideas from myself.

Shelley

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I've saved everything and I've found I've used a line or a description from something I've written years ago.

~ Wendy

Jen Chandler said...

I stumble upon lost writing all the time. Either moving furniture, cleaning out drawers, or just rummaging for a pen that actually works. Sometimes, I'm embarassed by it. "I SURELY didn't write THAT!" but many times, I'm pleasantly surprised. I've learned to take the good and discard the bad. And by discard I mean seal it in a shoebox with duct tape and stuff it in a dank, dark corner of the attic!

~Jen

Lynn said...

I've done that too--run across old writings and spending hours reading instead of the task I started out to do. Some is salvaged but all is worth keeping as a reminder of the intention I had/have for writing.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm glad I don't have my writing from HS. I know it was terrible. And since I didn't write fiction back then (though I wanted to), there won't be any brilliant ideas waiting for me to discover them. ;)

Terri Tiffany said...

I've saved most everything but have yet to go back and pull anything. I dob't think I would know where to start unless it was recent!
I love finding things like you did and reading them--the waaaaay back things as a child. Makes me wonder who I was then.

Stephanie Thornton said...

The only writing I recall doing in high school was writing essays. I have one on Wuthering Heights- it was actually good!

So your post and the picture reminded me of when people bronze their babies shoes. They might be old and worn, but then they become a treasure. I suppose old writing could be like that too.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm with Stephanie - I don't think I did any creative writing in high school. Oh, that's so sad. :-)

Natalie said...

What a fun discovery, Susan! I too was not a writer in high school, so my old stuff isn't too old yet. But maybe in ten years I can look back at it and search for something good!

Tere Kirkland said...

I wish I could read some of the stuff I wrote in h.s., but I think it all got thrown away when I moved out. That's so cool that you found stuff worth keeping, and you can see how much you've grown as a writer.

I'm trying to salvage something old right now, actually. It's been challenging, but very rewarding since I'm essentially writing new adventures for these old characters that I still love.

Of course, I've made them younger, changed most of the plot and switched povs, so it's like a completely different story.

The Book Nut said...

I have scraps of stuff I started to write stashed away, including "The Autobiography Of A 16 Year Old" that made it half way into page 2! :) I can't say there aren't ideas that I might not resurrect some day but for now, it's just fun to see how my mind worked back then!

My mom had a shoe box somewhere with all kinds of horse stories she wrote as a girl. We loved to get them out and read them, to us they were every bit as good as the classics! :)

Carolyn V. said...

I found a first chapter that really surprised me. It was fun and interesting. I haven't picked it back up yet, but it's been on my mind. =)

lotusgirl said...

A lot of my writing from ages ago is very less than, but there are jewels. I'm glad I saved it.

L. T. Host said...

I love finding old work. Always something surprising in there! Also fun to laugh at myself. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Yep, I've recycled phrases and plotlines before. Always nice to see that I've improved!

Kim Kasch said...

I just think of it as repurposing - kind of like being sustainable only in the wonderful world of writing. :)

K. M. Walton said...

I always marvel at your brilliant ways of weaving shoes into your posts. Today's post is well done, friend. Great advice.

Patti said...

I keep everything, probably too much, but it's fun to look back.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Now I want to go treasure hunting! Thanks for sparking that!

Valerie Geary said...

I definitely recycle things from old pieces. I don't know if I've gone as far back as high school, but definitely rough drafts and bits of things from when I first started getting serious about writing. I love it...It's like finding hidden treasure!

T. Anne said...

I wish I would have kept all my work. I moved so many times and all that "organizing" cost me many a full notebooks. It's a good lesson for me to pass on to my kids. Great post.

Diane said...

Glad you found some hidden gems to use. Great treasure hunt! :O)

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Maybe I should do what you've done--take a short blog break! I'm so behind in my Christmas shopping, cleaning, baking, etc. And although I have many of my old stories stuffed away in a file, I haven't read most of them in...er, decades. If only I didn't need to sleep. Sigh. Except I LIKE sleeping!

Melissa said...

No, I haven't but I do have a giant folder on my computer where it all sits.

Jody Hedlund said...

What a fun discovery! But no, I wouldn't use any of my old writing, probably not even the ideas. Those old "shoes" of mine helped me walk a mile or two closer to publication (helping me hone my skills) and that's the part they played in my journey. :-)

Paul Greci said...

I haven't used my really old writing but I did draw use journal entries for setting details in one of my stories.

Faith said...

I've thought about it! I haven't done it yet, but I tend to keep everything, and I know there are some stories I wrote in grade school that I might be able to turn into picture books. Of course, I'd have to find the time to do it first... o_O