Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keeping Old Writing Clips: Super smart, sweetly nostalgic or just plain old hoarding?

Maybe I should make a clip book like this.
Throwback Thursday

Do you have a massive stack of old clips sitting lonely in a box? I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I do. The frail newspaper could-set-your-house-on-fire kind. Okay, even the xeroxed almost as flammable paper kind, from junior high. The problem is figuring out whether they've outgrown their usefulness, professionally and personally.

It started out innocently enough, even naturally. I wanted to be a journalist growing up, so I saved the yellow copies of my junior high paper and the newspapers from high school. Making a spiffy neon clip book, I proudly showed my work to my college newspaper adviser. It's what I had read writers do.

She was shocked I bothered, but I became the new sports editor and the next year editor-in-chief. I took my new college clips and landed a gig as sports editor of my local paper.

That was how journalists found jobs, just over a decade ago, but I haven't had to show those clips in years. Technology has surpassed the need for paper copies and those clips aren't what consistently lands me work today.

My first writing portfolio, in my--admittedly lame--first college bedroom.
No, like the rest of the writing world, my portfolio is now virtual, a list of links and PDFs. No neon in sight.

Of course there is sentimental value, but do I really need a copy of every article I've written? I'm starting to think not, but still can't bring myself to toss these out. Am I just hoarding?

Do you save old writing that is no longer useful?

Photo credits: Furmum/Wikimedia Commons; Tamara McRill

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