One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever been given is, “don’t throw anything away.” Deleted scenes can be used for blog posts, bits of description that don’t fit one place may be perfect for another. Dialogue that slows important action may work beautifully at another point in need of a more measured pace. At worst, you may one day be able to use it as an example of what not to do. So, I agree. Don’t throw your writing away. And I’m not the only one that thinks so. Here is a poem from Jack at The Top Banana that explains my point perfectly.
Down the dusty, data-blown back streets
of my computer’s hard drive lies
the dumping ground-
where failed poems go to die,
and fragments too, which make me feel
embarrassed or ashamed-
lines leading nowhere, overgrown
with lush, excessive, choking adjectives;
a rusting heap of mis-matched metaphors;
a rhyme scheme spray-canned on a concrete wall.
And that’s not all
that festers here-
a ballad that would put a saint to sleep;
a cinquaine that’s correct, but deadly dull.
The place is full
Yet often when I’m stuck
I wander here
to browse the trash
(it’s happened many a time.)
I pick up some soiled phrase and rub it
on my sleeve
and sometimes- you won’t believe this-
I can see a gleam of gold beneath the grime.