Even the tax man only makes me keep my paperwork three years. Am I just being precious keeping all these manuscript drafts of my published books, not to mention multiple drafts of many unpublished titles?
I’m so far distant from a paperless office I’m out the other side. In fact, adding much more paper, I will be – on the far side of the door. I truly don’t mind lots of books and paper stuff, but… seriously, it’s time to cull.
Surely even well-known authors who donate their work and boxes of manuscript to the Lu Rees Archives don’t keep everything? Or perhaps they do and that’s why they donate their life work when still living, to get the boxes out of their homes.
With that thought, I ducked into the website of the Lu Rees Archive to get an idea of what they do hold. Heaps, it seems, and, very interestingly, they also tell you how to look after your papers. I discovered I’m breaking all the taboos and shortening my paperwork’s life span by using metal pins, staples and rubber bands amongst other no-nos. The website explains that “metal rusts very quickly and leaves permanent marks. Rubber bands quickly disintegrate, leaving marks. Self-stick removable notes easily fall off, and when they do remain, may shift from the desired spot and leave a sticky residue. Sticky tape eventually loses its sticking capability and leaves marks as well as a residue. Liquid paper and correction tape wear off and crack.”
One great and surprising tip recommends using HB pencil to label your files etc, because pencil lasts for centuries and doesn’t damage like inks and pens. Lots to learn if fame ever finds me and my work.
But, since I’m not famous, yet, and running out of room, perhaps a mini cull would suffice.
How many or much do you keep of old drafts, notes and paperwork from your manuscripts? Is there a good reason to keep all or any of it? Please let me know your method and ideas in the comments?