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What should I do with old journals an...

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Vylar Kaftan
Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 07:41 pm:   

I have a question, and I'd especially like to hear from writers who've been working longer than I have.

In preparing for my upcoming move, I've found the archive I tend to forget about. Old journals, stories I wrote during childhood, early drafts of ideas that later became stories, idea notebooks, plays, poems, essays, etc.

How much of this stuff should I keep? Every last bit? Only some?--and if only some, then how do I decide what's interesting/valuable/worthwhile?

A lot of it is typed stories and so forth from the early computing days. I don't think I have these things on disk. Is it worth my time to scan them all? Keep them on paper in boxes under the bed, like they are now? If I scan them, maybe they'd be easier to move around, but that might be too much work for too little reward.

I've heard some writers say "burn your trunk once you reach a certain point" (although I'm not sure where that is), and others say "keep everything, because you never know what will have value."

Advice and thoughts welcome. Thanks.
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Carole Hall
Posted on Friday, November 17, 2006 - 03:50 pm:   

As someone pathologically incapable of throwing anything away, I've more or less kept all the old stuff, but can't say that it's ever been of any use. So 'burn your trunk' does seem like a good idea.

Maybe tomorrow ...
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Friday, November 17, 2006 - 04:48 pm:   

I've got stuff I wrote in high school, forty years ago. I plan to leave it to my kids to donate to some academic venue that will give them a big tax receipt. Assuming, that is, that between now and then I become interesting enough.

Matt Hughes
Majestrum

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