Every once a while I look into my wardrobe and think it’s time to sort it out. Not only put all the skirts together and put sweaters beside one another, but actually take out all the clothes, check if they still fit and try to remember when was the last time I actually wore them. I don’t like it as it requires parting with pieces I feel sentimal about, but never really wear or admitting that there’s no way I’m going to fit in that blouse again. And the jacket? I love it, but it really starts looking shabby… If you can’t relate, maybe you can imagine how unappealing this task can be.
But what I do love is cleaning my literary wardrobe: looking back at all the ideas I scribbled down years ago and inspecting the forever postponed works in progress. It’s not only a pleasant surprise of finding hidden gems I’ve forgotten, but also a decision whether anything is worth coming back to. Some texts are archived to be forgotten forever, but others get to be considered again, and kept for later. They will be perfect for these grim days every writer has sometimes when they feel out of fresh ideas.
Cleaning my literary wardrobe also helps me to notice the progress I’ve made and how my style changed. How it improved. Sometimes I even feel tempted to rewrite an old piece, fix the writing or try to tell the story from another point of view. Of course I have to feel strongly enough about the particular story to invest time in it, but it might be worth it on occasion. One of the stories that I found deep in my writing folder was “Kot na sznurku” (“The Leashed Cat”) – a story that after rewrites and fixes made it into an anthology. Few other texts still wait and I’m sure their time will come as well… unless one day I decide they go onto the “to be thrown away pile”.
There is also a novel idea and if I were to keep my clothing similies, I’d say this novel is like a “special ocassion outfit”. It’s there, in my wardrobe, and I look at it every once a while and think “it’s so nice”, but I still decide it’s not the time to write it yet. I know, I tried to write it two times already.
What about you? How does your literary wardrobe look like? Is it neat, with all the ideas sorted waiting for their turn? Or is it a mix of various genres and styles, of works in progress, skimpy outlines, and full-body texts that still need some plot work? Or maybe you open it only to stash another handful of ideas (I bet they need a bit of push by now), never really looking inside, because new inspirations just keep coming?