A Writer’s Biggest Fear

Posted: May 18, 2013 in Books, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
My poor poetry journal!

My poor poetry journal!

In my mind, a writer’s biggest fear is probably losing his or her life’s work. It would be a nightmare to write one’s heart out for years and years only to have it all lost forever. I know that occasionally, I have nightmares about my writing getting ruined or lost somehow. Sometimes, I dream I’m looking through my notebooks or poetry journals and every word vanishes before my eyes. Other times, I dream that a great disaster destroys my work or a hateful person decides to steal all my writing. Ultimately, regardless of how my writing is lost in my dreams, I’m always left with the same hollow and sickening feeling when I wake up from my nightmare!

Unfortunately, I have had some real life experience with the gut-wrenching loss of my writing, as well. I started writing poetry and short stories when I was a little girl. However, except for 3 poems and 1 short story, all my writing prior to 1998 is gone. I used to keep all my poems, stories, and ideas in shoe boxes for safe keeping. But somehow they vanished! Perhaps my mom accidentally threw it all away when she was cleaning my room. Or maybe my writing was in one of the boxes that someone stole off of our front porch during a move. Or something else entirely could have happened. I will never know.

What I do know, though, is I still mourn the loss of my early writing to this day. All that I have ever written is a part of me–a part which can never be replaced. I often wonder what great things I created and have long forgotten about. And I miss not having the chance to read more of my childhood work now that I am an adult. All my past poems and stories are a portal into my past. They are a chance to see myself again as a little girl and to understand myself a little better.

You would think that I would be much more careful now with these nightmares and my past loss. However, I almost lost an entire poetry journal because a glass of water was accidentally knocked onto it. I was using a hairdryer at 2:00 am a couple months ago, frantically trying to save my precious poems. I promised myself that night that I would never make that mistake again! I promised myself that I would backup my work in multiple places to ensure that my writing is preserved and protected. But did I follow through on that promise? No! My writing still goes unprotected.

Instead of risking more loss, though, I have set time aside this week for finally backing up my writing. No more procrastinating. No more endangering my precious creations. And no more blindly going from day to day thinking nothing is going to happen again. My creations are one of my most valuable possessions, and it’s time to start treating them that way!

  1. This is exactly the reason I got a storage unit! 10 years of journals are in it and counting!

  2. johncoyote says:

    I agree with your thoughts. I have 40 books of poetry and story. When we are gone. Who will care for our work? I fear losing my old work also. I keep it close.

  3. leamuse says:

    When I moved to France, half my shipment disappeared when it reached port in Felixstowe England. There were over twenty years of journaling and work gone!

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