Biggest life regret: Throwing out “the box”

One of the #WriteMotivation goals for the month is to cull some gems from a box of old writing journals. I live in a one bedroom apartment. I need the space. I’m a writer; I need to publish something. It feels like a waste to have a box of journals filled with unseen, unpublished poems. Those poems weren’t created to take up space for years in apartment after apartment, closet after closet, state after state, storage unit after…you get the idea.

Last time I tried to do this I was 18 years old and I decided to go through the journals from the high school years. So I did. I decided everything sucked and threw it all away into my circular tin garbage can, never to be seen again. I always regretted throwing away that box of…my art. However ugly I thought it may have been in that moment. I had an artistic fit. I can’t take it back. I have often hoped that box of journals would reappear by magic someday, on my doorstep, looking clean and bright like they’d never been pitched into the round file.

Oh, the absurd fantasies writers have. That’s what makes us writers.

So it’s 2014 and I’m obviously nowhere near 18. Public service announcement to hotheaded 18-year-old writers: DO NOT THROW YOUR SHIT AWAY! EVEN IF YOU THINK IT IS SHIT! 

More than that, if I could go back to that day I’d not only stop my fit on the side of my house. I’d take things a little further into a serious mode. Let’s be open minded and not kill all our babies. Let’s divide them into piles!

Pile #1: Poems I can enter into writing contests. Some may be so damn good, they deserve some competitive love. If they get rejected, they can go into pile #3…

Pile #2: The burn pile, reserved for poems and journal entries about men I dated. I don’t really burn them, but shred them. Again, I live in an apartment!

Pile #3: The pile of things that can be saved! This is the pile of the best writing. These are the poems I will love and caress. I will rewrite each one ten times until it’s the way it deserves to be. Then I will love and caress it some more. Then I will publish it like the good child it is.

Then there may be another pile or two. We shall see. Maybe a pile of really ridiculous writing to be read to girlfriends on clothing swap night but ONLY if they have had wine. Some of my writing is far better when you are drunk. This is my sober judgment of it! 😉

4 thoughts on “Biggest life regret: Throwing out “the box”

  1. It’s good advice. Sometimes going back and seeing the horrible stuff serves to remind us how far we’ve come. It’s good to remember that all that work has been worth the effort. It sounds like wonderful progress!

  2. I think this is a good plan. I’ve never ‘burned’ my work, I just hide it away where only I can see it and cringe when I realize how far I’ve come because even though I thought it at the time – I SUCKED badly haha.
    I think it’s a great thing to remind ourselves how hard we’ve worked to come as far as we have.

  3. ah! the cleansing regret! i threw out my high school journal – why oh why? so much juicy material in there! i do have the college years, thank god! but i wish i could steal a tardis and snatch that precious gem back out of the bin.

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