Would Your Burn Your Entire Archive?
This Week In Writing, we contemplate throwing out our leftovers and slimming down our digital presence.
Today is Throw Out Your Leftovers Day since theoretically any Thanksgiving leftovers should be thrown out by now. You don’t want to get sick eating spoiled food. I say theoretically because I’ve been known to eat leftovers for more than a week without issue. But, you do you.
Anyway, the day got me thinking about throwing out the leftover content we create as writers. I recently deleted all of my tweets, and I periodically go through and delete past articles I don’t like. It’s a form of spring cleaning (during any point of the year) to keep my digital presence orderly.
As Twitter continues to melt down, I recently returned to my old Tumblr account. Looking up people I currently follow on Twitter was like stepping into a time capsule — most people who had Tumblrs hadn’t posted since 2016. Who knows whether they were being preserved for posterity or were simply forgotten. Either way, the platform was like a dusty attic of content lost to the history of time.
When I go back and delete old articles or when I purged my Twitter archive, I have a small debate in my head: should I let them live on — after all, they are words I wrote and were proud of at the moment; or, should I let them go since they don’t reflect my best work. My desire for minimalism typically wins out. There are some old posts that I hold on to and even update from time to time. My first Medium article, published in February 2014, is updated every few years. It’s a way for me to see how I’ve grown as a writer and storyteller. Ironically, that post was originally published on Tumblr. It’s strange how things come full circle.
Do you throw out your leftovers or let them live on for posterity? Hit reply or leave a comment about how you handle your writing archive.
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This Week’s Featured Articles
Why You Should Never Delete Your Drafts by Lindsey (Lazarte) Carson
As we grow, our writing grows with us — As we grow, we gain a fresher, newer take on things. Our perspective may change. And the foundation is there, we just need to build on it.
Transform Your Writing By Pressing Delete by HK Sloan
The truth is that once we put a good story into the world, it doesn’t need us anymore. It’s our baby, sure — but it’s grown up now, forming new relationships. I can see it now, my light-haired child that looks nothing like me, kicking my shins with soot on his face, You’re embarrassing me, Ma!
My Computer Is Temperamental And Sometimes Deletes All Of My Writing by Walter Rhein
The modern writer lives in constant terror that all their work will disappear with the flip of a switch. Today, more than ever, it’s important for writers to adopt good practices to minimize the risk of losing your whole life’s work.
So far I've purged a selection of stuff I posted on Medium. I also cull my tweets 1-2 tines a year, but that's about it.
I have systematically copied each blog post to a document and have a digital file with them. Since I am an artist, and art teacher / mentor they come in handy when I have a new student, or teach a workshop. I find gems (maybe a sentence or two) that I love the wording and feel the need to keep. As I grow, different sentences may speak to me as important "at this time."