Monday, October 20, 2014

Disposing of Buried Treasure
There is something about fall that inspires me to organize. Maybe it's a lingering habit tied to back-to-school preparation. Maybe it's the crisp weather (once it finally arrives).

Maybe it's the piles of "collections" that are slowly taking over my house.

Yesterday, I spent a little time in my office, tackling a few of my "how long has that been there?" piles. I was thrilled to discover that a bin full of papers was not, after all, entirely full of disparate papers. A large chunk of the bin was occupied by various drafts of the manuscript for my first novel, published last January. 

Suddenly, the time necessary for sorting and purging that bin was cut by two thirds; aside from the manuscript, there was only a handful of clipped articles to sort through. Success! Except...
...what should I do with the copy store box full of my own words in various incarnations?

Option 1: It's paper, so it's recyclable. 

Option 2: Though the finished product is intended for public consumption, the in-progress work was...not. Shred?

Option 3: Someday, I might be a world famous author, and this could be auctioned off, earning some money for my family (since I assume I'll be dead by then). Keep it.

While option 3 was easily dismissed, the first two options wrangled back and forth in my head. 

What's an author to do with a box of blood, sweat and tears?

Had my husband not spent several hours clearing similar detritus from the basement, I'd have gone for Option 4: Stash it in the basement until you decide what to do with it.

As of this writing, the bin is gone, but the box still sits on the floor of my office, awaiting judgment. I shredded some late drafts yesterday afternoon, and it was pretty painless, so Option 2 is still a contender. The recycling gets picked up tomorrow, so theoretically, I can still exercise Option 1 and get the box out of there in the next 24 hours. 

What do you think? Keep it? Toss it? Shred it?

Sentimental authors want to know.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do the shredding thing with old manuscripts after they become a published book.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

That's what I'm leaning toward, Susan. Just need to make myself do it!

LD Masterson said...

I've still got my original draft but I've shredded all that came after. Just can't quite let go of that original.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

I know just what you mean, LD. Nearly a week has passed, and I've yet to take that short walk to the shredder. Maybe a little bit at a time.