I just went through and deleted all of my drafts.
Most of them were unplanted seeds – random thoughts I liked the feel of but never enough to nurture into more than a few sentences.
A few were complete, unpublished entries written by a person in a different place and time. Eloquent, witty, no longer representative of either who I am or who I want to be. I thought it might be hard to part with them, but they had their time, and in it I decided to hold them back. They don’t have a future, unless I’m living my life wrong. Which, of course, I might be, but I’m not going to bet in favour of that reality. So they’re gone, and that feels almost as good as writing something new.
A few years ago I ripped up all my journals. I meant to burn them, and I tried once, but I didn’t have the equipment necessary to start a good enough fire. And I never got the equipment. And at this point I’m unsure whether I just dumped them in the recycling, or squirreled them away in a suitcase to be uncovered at some later date.
The decision to burn them felt liberating. Then, later, the failure to burn them felt relieving. Now, honestly I don’t care what happened to them, but if I find them, I’ll throw them out. They don’t represent me, and they hold no interest to me. I remember who I was in them. I’m sure there’d be a few surprising cringes lurking between their lines, but broadly, I understand their writer. And their writer was not me. And nor was she someone who had very much to teach me.
Before the big rip, I’d considered my journals precious. I would return to them, and experience new revelations. I was dealing with big lessons and the process was agonisingly repetitive. After the rip, I flip-flopped a bit, and so their usefulness swung from better off dead to in need of resurrection and back again. I’m not sure my decision over whether to burn or dump or store made any difference to that journey, and I’ll try to keep that in mind.
If you’re not sure what to do yet, the choice might not matter that much anyway.