#IWSG Post: Be a Writing Pack Rat

New to IWSG? Here are the details:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional! 

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

My Post:

I haven't, and by really old I'm thinking years and years. Since I've only been writing since 2010 (which, I guess, DOES feel like a really long time) it seems hard to say something I've written is really old. I did write two novels after the one I "pulled back out" to publish two months ago, so may be that counts? 

And when I'm "done" with the series I'm publishing, I look forward to going back to the other two contemporary young adult manuscripts. They really do need a reworking, one way more than the other. I miss those characters and the writing style I used in them.  Hopefully that will work out, too. My plan as of right now is to query them to small publishers, but it seems that more and more are now requiring agents, so I may have to take that route first. We shall see. It may be a while.

Like I tell my first grade students, never throw any writing away. Even if it's not exactly what we're trying to write (I have a student who's struggling to make the switch from our personal narrative unit to our non-fiction text unit) and even if it's not the text you're choosing to publish, KEEP IT. You may choose to go back to it and revise and edit it for publication later!

My very first manuscript (that I will never, never go back to) had a million different beginnings and I'm quite certain that I saved every. single. one of them. Anytime I cut a scene or rework a chapter, I always save the old version somewhere.

I'm GREAT at saving, not so great at being organized about it. My documents folder (and kitchen counter) is a MESS!

So...the lesson here: Save everything. Be organized about it right away, because you WON'T really go back later to clean it up. And you never know when an old muse will come calling. You may want to dust off that ol' ms and spruce it up. It may end up being the most successful piece you've ever written! OR you'll have great outtakes to give away to your readers for free. :)

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!


  1. Great advice not to throw anything away and to be organized from the beginning. It's good to practice in life in general too!

  2. I say save it all because you just never know.
    My publisher doesn't require an agent so I know they are still out there.

  3. I'm with you on saving everything. YES. My folders are organized, but not as much as I'd like them to be. My published works have probably a good 100 to 300 files in each folder. Old versions, drafts along the way, promotional aspects, etc.

    There are definitely small pubs who don't require agents, but I always advise a thorough investigation of the small guys before really considering them. Some are great as far as promotion and editing, some not so much.

  4. Hi Christy and Erica! I also have an old YA contemporary on the backburner. It was my first novel, and the only thing I could ever go back to, if I was to go back to anything. I'm not sure that I ever will. I've learned a lot since writing that book, and though it was well written, I've taken feedback to heart and come to the conclusion it wasn't well plotted. It would require too much reworking I think. I agree about being organized from the get-go with filing. http://www.raimeygallant.com

  5. I save everything, too. I have boxes upon boxes of notebooks and old drafts and story notes and the like, and so much more on my hard drive. I never know when I just might find something in that mess that will help me with a current project.

  6. That's a good lesson to save everything, and I would add to save it in multiple places. I've lost quite a bit of my old (pre-2009) writing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but there is one poem I wish I still had. I don't remember it enough to recreate it, but I really liked it at the time.

  7. Oh dear, I am so guilty of saving everything ... even when I stopped writing in spiral notebooks (which, of course, I've saved) and began typing on a laptop, I've printed out copies and tied them, year by year, in stacks which are stored with my notebooks. My optimistic image is that a great great granddaughter might one day find them and read about a woman's life in the twentieth century ... humbling to admit that my ego is that strong. What do you envision will happen to your saved writings far into the future?

  8. I also save everything. I actually pulled the second manuscript I'd written and totally reworked it years later, with all the new information I'd learned. I got some requests for fulls, but it never went further than that. I'm still fond of it. Maybe I should pull it again ...

  9. I wish I had saved some of my handwritten drafts, as I do tend to rewrite old material to make it publishable. Thank you for the reminder to save old manuscripts and to be organised about it.


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