I used to save everything I wrote. In fact, I have a Word document with around 70% of what I blogged between 2005-2014 which is 803 pages and over 275,000 words.
Once I put all of those blogs/journals into one large document, I got pretty lazy about archiving my written word. I opened and closed various blogs and journals and not much of it has survived the past five years.
Recently, a friend of mine is undergoing the process of turning some of his best blog posts into a book. It reminded me of a book project I had back in 2015. I was attempting to compile a series of articles I wrote about working at a video store that I never completed. I had gotten busy and just uploaded my work to the Cloud where its remained ever since.
I decided to pull the zip file off my OneDrive and take a look at what was inside. Not only was there my partially put together book, but several documents of finished and unfinished scripts, short stories, fan fiction, and blogs.
I decided to read through some of the blogs and journals. What I found was very much a mixed bag. I decided that it would make things a lot easier if I compiled them into a single document.
So, I spent some time pulling anything I could off post-2014 and putting it into individual .txt documents. I figured it would be a good way to preserve some of that writing and it gave me sometime to see where my mind was specifically in 2015. Wow was I ever in a different place.
I noticed my writing was less focus. Topics were even more diverse and I had no problem showing my full range of emotions online. Some topics were controversial while most were just me talking about entertainment I liked and was looking forward to.
I’d say 85% of what I found was pretty useless. However, that 15% that remained was good. I had a series of blog categories entitled Life and Stuff which chronicled the ins and outs of my life on a weekly basis for about six months. These provided a nice snapshot of what was going on in a very turbulent time in my life. I had lost my job and was scrambling. I also had begun college for the second time, and I chronicled my experience on a semi-weekly basis. It was also interesting to look back on.
Looking over my old blogs it got me thinking about how much my writing has changed and grown over the years. I gotta say, I am proud of myself for improving as much as I have.
I also thought about the quality of stuff I post. Is what I write today stuff I’ll want to read in five years? I’d like to say, mostly yes. I spend more time writing about things that interest me and the way they make me feel and less about announcements and reactions to news.
That’s not to say that fluff doesn’t serve any purpose. One post I ran across was simply a quote I liked from a Men’s Health interview with author Chuck Palahniuk. I must have liked it, but I had forgotten about it until I read it. It came in handy today and I hope this little tidbit of advice can serve me well in the future.
MH: Any words of wisdom for us? Anything that might make a contemporary man’s life a little less horrible?
Chuck Palahniuk: A friend of mine, Suzy—she’s in my writer’s workshop—said to me many years ago that she’s always conceived of herself as three people. There’s Suzy of three days ago. There’s Suzy of now. And there’s Suzy of three days from now.
So whenever she finds herself in crisis, she can choose to be the Suzy of three days ago before this crisis was even a possibility, or she can be the Suzy of three days from now when the current crisis is really mitigated.
It gives her perspective. She’s not just reacting to something that occurs in one point in time. She can be in movement with whatever’s going on. I don’t know. Is that useful?