Creative individuals are bound to have thousands of ideas a day. You might not realize it yourself, but I’m sure if you fancy yourself a writer you likely have an active imagination. I’m not just talking about the random ideas for stories you might come up with, but also the number of times you regard people around you and wonder what their story is, or when you look at a bit of graffiti and imagine how it ended up there, or what the repercussions are of making a car wait just a little longer for you to cross the street.
These are thoughts and ideas that we as creative individuals are generally aware of in others. If not, just ask, as I’m sure you’d find it’s common with a lot of people from our cloth. It’s no tragedy that these spontaneous ideas go unsung in our life, because there are millions of others out there having the same thoughts of wonder. What’s tragic are the ones we write down, and end up discarding for no reason other than that we were bored of it. Those ideas and stories that came to some fruition, but never see the light of day just because they are incomplete – that don’t see anything because we’ve shredded them or burned them or deleted them. There’s nothing tragic than there being no proof that something existed.
I write this after reading about an article in “The Scotsman” about an unfinished manuscript written by Robert Louis Stevenson that has recently seen the light of day. Apparently, the full text is an incomplete novel that Stevenson had been in the process of writing in his younger days before abandoning for, well, let’s face it, he went on to write Treasure Island, Jekyll and Hyde, Kidnapped, etc. So there’s no reason to cry over his decision, but there’s no reason to cry here at all. Sure, the manuscript is unfinished and we’ll certainly never see it complete, but over a hundred years later we now have access to read something that RLS had been writing before he was a renowned author. How often does such an opportunity come along, right?
It’s things like this that makes me want more of these little things. If I could read some rough material written by Keats, that’d be something else.
The point I’m trying to make in all this is that your writing. YOUR writing, even if you think it’s not good enough, or you grow tired of it, it’s never worth exiling it into nothingness. What if one day years from now you were to wake up, find yourself talking to some fellow writers and you start telling them about “this great idea you once had”. What do you do when they get interested and want to check it out and you have nothing to show for? Trying to resurrect something isn’t so simple, and even if you do it isn’t ever going to be that “great idea” it was back then, because you’ve changed since then.
Any form of writing is worth preserving. I’ve made mistakes or had situations where I’ve lost old stories, poems, scripts, etc. because I didn’t bother backing up the old files. I’ve since rectified that by ALWAYS backing up my work. It’s a tried and true fact and I say it to you now – back up all of your work, because you never know, someday maybe there’ll be someone that cares enough for your smaller ideas, even if you don’t agree with them.