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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Got Files and Files

Among the many get-ready-to-sell-the-house projects I had in Minnesota was to go through my files. I have two filing cabinets in my basement and a huge lateral filing cabinet in my office. I started with the one in my office and found very little that I could get rid of. This wasn't a big surprise, but I had hoped there'd be more I could toss than I did.

The basement filing cabinets were a different story. They were also an interesting archaeological experiment for me.

Of note is the fact that I had one story with about eight different print outs filed away. It might have even been more than eight, but I didn't bother counting since they were all mixed together. This would be the same story that I had about 90 copies on disk. Okay, slight exaggeration, but I did have a lot of copies of it. Maybe because it went through so many revisions or maybe because I could never remember which was the latest version and kept saving new ones. Who knows?

The other thing that really jumped out at me—and took me by surprise—was all the pictures I had squirreled away in the files. I had no memory of doing this, but apparently I was using pictures of characters and clothes long before I started saving them to my hard drive. Hey, I was pinning before Pinterest. Heh!

And then there were the sheer number of files. Once upon a time, I used to put each idea in its own folder. This I remembered doing and I remember sliding through them looking for things to write. This was back in the day where I started lots and lots of first chapters, but never got much beyond that. Some day I'm going to have to work on consolidating all those ideas into one place because this doesn't work, but that's a project for later.

I didn't spend much time looking at anything I'd written back in the day, but the little bit I glanced at was cringe-worthy. And it was another moment where I thought about sending thank you notes to the editors who rejected me. (I'm also really glad self-publishing wasn't as easy then as it is now. I'd die of embarrassment if I'd put any of that stuff out there.)