Today I found an old Moleskine journal. It’s one of the little brown ones, with the cardboard cover. I used to buy these because they were easy to carry in your pocket; the covers are soft and bend with your leg. I liked to have one nearby so I could jot down ideas and funny or interesting things I encountered during the day.
Based on the notes inside, the journal I found was one I carried in 2010 or 2011. Among other things, the contents included the outline for a story about a superhero’s sidekick, a Robin-like character who has to deal with the reality of going to college classes while fighting crime late into the night. At the time, I had thoughts about writing a series of stories based on the superhero sidekick trope.
The outline is terrible (which may explain why I never tried to flesh out the story) but I’m glad I still have it. When I read through it I could still visualize the story completely, even though I’ve not thought about this character for a few years. I still don’t feel like I can write this story well enough to bother with it yet, but the images are there, still bopping around my imagination.
I’ve heard other writers warn (sometimes emphatically), “Don’t throw anything away! Keep everything you ever write. You never know when you’ll need it.”
I admit, I’ve ignored this advice. So much of what I write is junk. It either gets crumpled and tossed, or digitally deleted. But today at least, I was glad I still had this crummy outline. It brought my sidekick character to mind. Maybe I’ll write something about him after all . . .
Have you ever found an old journal, or old notes? What did you find?
Do you save everything you write? Or do you throw stuff away?