Friday, March 12, 2010


I have been rifling through the blog archives to find some old lists, and decided to check on how many draft posts I still have saved from over the years but never got around to publishing. Altogether: 156, or an average of about 30 every year since I started PBW. Does that sound like a lot to you guys? Seemed like a lot to me.

I started to go through them, and found that most were satires that needed polishing, rants that ought to be deleted permanently, or partial ten lists that needed to be finished. A few were in great shape but were a little too impolitic for NetPubLand. Then there were a couple I honestly couldn't remember writing at all.

When I save fiction drafts or partials, which I keep on disk and in hard copy in my filing cabinet, I always include notes to myself on where I got the idea, why I set it aside and what I think it needs if I want to revisit it. Most of the time I'm too busy to go through that file more than once or twice a year, but I figure it's still good to save things that have promise. Who knows, maybe someday I will absolutely go crazy if I don't try to publish a modern day retelling of Gilgamesh.

I don't do that with blog posts, and I think it's because Blogger's save-as-draft feature is too convenient. I hit save, get distracted by another idea or do something else and in a couple of weeks I forget about it. Also, I rarely print out my blog posts in hard copy, so I don't have to file them, which is the point when I do make notes.

156 posts seem like a lot of work to simply delete; maybe I'll go through them a little at a time and save the best for the idea file. Or publish the ones I think won't get me tarred and feathered. There are a couple of those ten lists I'd like to finish, too.

Writers and bloggers, what do you do with your blog or story drafts? Do you save everything like me, or have another routine that keeps you from collecting too much unfinished work? Should draft hoarders like me get into a different habit to keep from acquiring too big a pile? Let me know what you think in comments.


  1. I try to save everything.. key word there is “TRY”

    When it comes to concepts or even finished or continuing stories.. I never seem to forget them.. I can't ever remember how to play the guitar after countless lessons but I can remember that stuff? Uhg...

    when it comes to drafts I used to back them up to flash drives or to what is now a pile of scrap metal plastic and computer components complimented by blood stains in a box shoved in the back of my closet.. this was a laptop before it died during a oh so wonderful time in my life.. It's death wasn't much appreciated.. ok got a little side tracked.. The flash drives always get lost, hard drives always crash or get cleaned out by insane lovers who don't much like what I write and obviously laptops fail.

    One of the longest lasting ways of saving my drafts has always been hard copies and notebooks stored in a file cabinet, drawer or box dedicated only for such things... technology just isn't always so relabel.. nor is luck..

  2. Anonymous6:03 AM

    I've been worrying a couple of old, unfinished stories. I keep everything and it's not particularly organized. sigh.

  3. Call me packrat.
    Am apt to shove things in an archive box, higgelty-piggelty and lug them to the attic for "someday."

  4. Eh, I haven't been blogging as long as you-I've got about 10 draft blogs that I'm keeping around just in case I decide to use them.

    But draft stories? Scads.

    Some are too complicated to work on right now. Some are too complicated for my epubs-contract issues require stories over certain lengths in certain genres go to one of my main pubs but I don't have the time to juggle these in right now.

    Others wouldn't be contract conflicts, but if they are more complicated/complex than my typical epub stories, then that means they'll take longer. I try to keep epub stories stories shorter because I fit those in around my contract deadlines. So if it takes too long, I can't do it.

    So for now, they just sit there. I'll dip into them when the next time to negotiate contracts comes up and see if any of them tug at me. Story ideas, though, I never toss those. egads, no.

  5. I keep hard copy notes of ideas and drafts. I regularly go through them and throw out anything that makes me say,"What the heck were you thinking?" Keep in mind I can be a little anal about keeping piles of things so I've probably shredded good stuff over the years.

  6. Anonymous9:19 AM

    I save everything on disk. I frequently realize I should print more often though. I believe it gives the drafts more solidity in my mind. I don't have a list, but I do have files of images I like, files of interesting articles, and files for story ideas, both virtual and physical.
    verification: "ethrium" Sounds like a precious gas.

  7. Keita Haruka11:13 AM

    Well, having a full-time job now sort of ate into my blogging. I just don't get to it at all anymore. but then...I've always sort of used it more as a "get stuff off my chest" thing than anything else. So I have no draft posts. But I do save every single story idea I get. Some of them have been gathering dust for more than 10 years. Multiple computer glitches have thinned them out somewhat, but I still have enough to keep me writing for a LONG time should I ever decide to devote myself entirely to writing. I dislike printing them out because my family has no notion of what the word "privacy" means. Hell, they don't even respect closed doors with a "do not disturb" sign, so you can imagine how much respect they'd have for a hardcopy file. Same objection to saving on disk...which is ultimately why I lose so much when the computer fails. :P I save everythiong in semi-organised way on my computer.

  8. Draft stories get saved. Hopefully with notes, though not very often.

    Draft blogs usually sit around about a week and then are either finished or deleted. WordPress has a box on the dashboard that shows your current drafts, so I can't just forget about them...

  9. Anonymous4:57 PM

    My draft stories and non-fiction articles just sit around for *ever*. They usually have different filenames to the final versions, too, so I altogether forget that they're there...

  10. I have loads of drafts on my laptop and also copied onto disc. The ones on the laptop make for some interesting things because I might have three of the same basic chapter and if I don't catch the date, I end up working on something I did months before.

    And I finally got smart and use Carbonite so if I have a crash anymore, I have my stuff.

    And I email them all to myself...

    Good grief! I'm a draft hoarder!


  11. Wow, I thought it was just me...but I'm not anywhere close to 156. I write my blog posts in a text file and save them for editing that often never happens. Sometimes the moment has passed, sometimes it's too controversial, but often it just gets lost in the shuffle. I'm trying to save them in WordPress now so that they sit up and beg for attention. I have 3 pending, so maybe it's not as helpful as I'd hoped :).

    Oh, and yeah, I have a ton of stories too, but that's normal.

  12. Like Margaret, I write my blog posts in a text file. It's one file with all the blog posts I am working on at any given time, but every now and then, when I have accumulated too many partially written posts I haven't touched for months, I make a new edition. Every now and then I look at the old files, and decide what needs to be finished and what needs to go.

    I am one of hose people who occasionally get the urge to write fiction, but have no particular desire to be published, because 95% of what I write is dire and there isn't a market for the rest in my small country (I write in my native language, which isn't English). I don't publish my fiction on the web, so those drafts are kept separately, and I never throw anything away.

  13. I save most of my old stuff that needs work or I don't plan on doing anything with. I still have a copy of my original story/video-game script, a gosh-awful story that had a good opening scene and then went absolutely nowhere. I think it's good to hang onto the old stuff so that you can backtrack in your mind and rememeber where you once were. Hindset is 20/20 after all.


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