The Joy of (Re)Discovery

Happy Monday world!

I love writing. And I love finding my old writing again (well, love-hate, but definitely a fair splash of love in there). One of the most exciting adventures that I can go on (at least inside my own house) is rediscovering old things. That’s a pretty open-ended statement because I find it really easy to have adventures and get excited about stuff, but I’m fairly confident with rating finding old, forgotten things—depending on what the ‘old things’ are, I mean I’m not advocating for digging up any ancient graves, everyone—as an exhilarating experience. But it’s complex, too.

I wandered downstairs a few months ago to put a full notebook from Trimester 2, 2016 in the room downstairs where I used to study. It has some inbuilt shelving that our upstairs study is lacking, so there are a lot of pieces that I consider as requiring ‘storage’ that just live alone downstairs in the tiny back room. Foolishly, I decided to do some riffling around after I placed the notebook on the shelf… And I found a whole bunch of other ones. At least two were blank, which meant they had to go upstairs to the left-hand side drawers of my desk (I have more blank notebooks than any one person should have: and yet, I can’t seem to stop myself from buying them). The others—three, maybe four—were less empty.

One of them is full of torn pages, scribbled notes, half-started stories and random ideas, as well as the complete (not really that complete, but relatively solid) plot for my first ever novel idea. I’m sorry people, but how could you not get excited by that?! Sure, sure, it’s a bit cliched (aren’t most things when we originally create them? Especially when we’re just teenagers) but it was my first big idea. It was the first time that I thought, ‘yepparooni, this needs to be a book.’ Now, it may never actually be a book, and we’ll have to wait and see whether I ever get around to writing it while there are still so many other adventures to take, but it’s still amazing, brilliant and magical to me that it exists at all. Strange to think that having put so much effort into creating that concept and all of these other random bits and pieces that hung awkwardly off it—you know, scenes that just pop into your head and you have to get them down before they disappear, even though you’re nowhere near that actual part yet—that I then disappeared down the military rabbit hole and basically abandoned it for so long.

Lives are crazy.

Anyway, it was fascinating to revisit some of this stuff. Now: some of it is terrible. The prose isn’t great, some of the ideas are a bit ‘meh’: but it’s there. It’s just more sand in the sandbox for me to play in. Sometimes I like to think about (or actually ‘plan’ out) cobbling together a number of different pieces into a single story, be it shorter or longer. Since I have so much material—the benefits of lots of free-writing sessions and my newly rediscovered treasure trove—sometimes it just makes more sense to me to find ways to weave different stories into one another and come up with something a little more complex. Mostly because it uses up a bunch of bits that otherwise would probably never see the light of day—and still might not. It sounds very exciting and brilliant (fair crack of the whip, I didn’t say it is brilliant, just that it sounds it), but I’ve yet to actually create any of these Franken-stories yet. Like much of my writing ‘career’ at the moment, I’m full of ideas and somewhat less full of actual completed pieces.

But some of what I found looks like fun: and isn’t that what writing is about? Like… why did I design this galaxy? How did I come up with those weird-but-kinda-cool-at-the-same-time names? Why is one of them highlighted? And is it time to resurrect it and set something within it?

All good questions. Just another burden for the writer: more questions, ideas and possibilities than the stars in the skies and only one lifetime to hungrily pursue them all.

What a beautiful burden to bear.

— Ana.


  1. Further evidence that writing any idea down no matter how small is a good habit to get into! I often find that I have an idea that sits in a file for a while and then suddenly a second idea comes along weeks/months later and the two fit together perfectly. So many of my stories have come from that route. Nice post – I suspect I may be digging around some old notes later today!

    • Thanks Nic! I agree that it’s a good habit to get into – I now have OneNote on my phone to put quick notes into, and since that then syncs to the same app on my laptop, they’re handing when writing ? Good luck with the search: I hope it’s fruitful!

  2. I LOVE finding old personal things. Just recently I went through a box of holiday cards and other mementos, some of which were from high school. Nostalgia is my favorite thing. I’m so glad you’ve kept your old story notebooks and I hope you always do – I wish so badly that I had kept my writings from high school, but I must have thrown them away in a fit of embarrassment a long time ago. Right now I put ideas in the note app on my phone, which is much less romantic and less lasting, because text is easy to delete but a weathered notebook with its frayed edges and smudged ink is more likely to be kept precious. (Except of course when you have a sudden fit of embarrassment, as younger me did…) I think I’m going to transfer my digital notes into a notebook so that when I’m 80 I can look back on what weird inspirations I was having at 29. 🙂

    • I KNOW! It’s always so much fun. I’m the same, in that there are undoubtedly some things that have been lost along the way, which is part of why discovering other old stuff is so heartwarming for me. Haha I’m in a similar boat with using OneNote on my phone (then transfers through to my laptop which is really convenient for writing ideas or blogging stuff), but I miss keeping notebooks. I tend to start one and then not finish it and end up with a million around the place 😛 Yes, that’s a great idea! Brains are so weird and awesome haha, it’s always wonderful and thrilling to see what we’ve come up with in the past 🙂

      • My phone is so just so annoyingly convenient! Ohh, the digital age… I tried carrying a small notepad in my purse, but it kept getting beaten up by other things that were crammed into or pulled out of my bag. But I still want a real idea notebook, so I think I will go with my plan of transferring my phone notes to a notebook at home periodically. I got a beautiful journal for Christmas that I haven’t figured out what to do with yet, and I think this is it. 🙂

      • I should clarify, I do have a bunch of notebooks for more long-form writing/planning/brainstorming, like for my novels or critique group meetings. But a notebook just for jotting down those random idea bubbles that float up? That I don’t have. Yet. 🙂

        • Preeeeach, phones are just so HANDY! Oh, I love your plan of transferring your phone notes to a beautiful journal. I’m a sucker for moleskine notebooks (like the kind you can buy from Dymocks in packs haha), but my issue with writing down random idea bubbles is that then sometimes I feel like my notebook isn’t ascribing to my anal-retentive neatness requirements :p Hence the value of phone & OneNote! Still… it’s always hard to go past pen and paper. I love stationery <3

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