Every writer has a big bunch of drafts sitting in their drive. Some stories were fortunate enough to be read, while others did not make the cut.
How many stories, poems, or essays have you written before you feel satisfied enough to ask someone else to read it? How many were submitted, published, or posted on social media? How many remain unfinished? Do we keep them in our drives forever?
Next time you are running out of writing ideas, maybe it’s a good time to organize your drafts and unpublished stories. Here are our tips:
- Categorize. Looking at a long list of drafts can be daunting, so let’s categorize them into two folders:
- Stories you will publish in this lifetime: These are the works that have potential and can be salvaged if you have the time and motivation to revise it.
- Stories that should not be at all be seen by anyone: Maybe you had written these when you were emotional or when you were still an amateur or when you were still very young. You don’t have to delete it. If you think these stories are somehow entertaining, keep them. You can still rewrite them, and publish under a different pseudonym, targeting another type of audience. The rest can be saved as a remembrance that you were once a novice – this is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Rewrite. Again, another daunting task, especially if you’re not passionate about the characters you created ten years ago. You don’t have to force it, but if it feels right, by all means, edit away. Set the time to rewrite your works until you are proud enough to post it on a social media site, say Wattpad. This can help in expanding your readership, and you can get paid too.
- Start a website that features your works. Having a website with your own domain can turn you into a legit writer. Just make sure that whatever you post here are well-edited because this is how future agents or fans can find you. This serves as your portfolio. With more writing samples you post, the better boost you’re giving your portfolio.
- Print it out. If you don’t intend to post your old works for the world to see, why not print it out as a personal souvenir? You can also give it as a gift for special occasions to your friends who are avid readers. These gifts can be in the form of a zine, letter, or a booklet.
- Turn it into an e-book. I grew up writing my stories on various notebooks. And because these notebooks’ shelf-lives will probably last about a decade, they were not in their best condition when I last saw it. If you’re like me, then I recommend you to type your works on Word and create an e-book out of it. After editing these stories, you also have the option of selling it to Amazon or Gumroad.
- Create a database of all your works. Tired of staring at your messy documents folder? If you don’t have the time to revise your works, at least offer your drive a facelift. Categorize your works into different genres and rename your files with the title of the work.
Then on Excel, allocate one sheet per story. The sheet can contain the character names, a blurb, and the cover photo. This way, if you want to check out one story you wrote, you don’t have to scan through the entire work. You can simply refer to your database.
The above process will take a lot of writing time, but it is a way to clear up your creativity e-space. There are characters you have probably written ten years ago that you need to get to know, that can lead to realizing your progress as a writer and see your potential.
By going back to your unfinished drafts with a different perspective, you can come up with fresh ideas on how to navigate around your plot.
What are you waiting for? Polish your drafts and turn your drive into a treasure box!
If you have any more ideas on what to do with your drafts, share it with us on the comments below.