Lately I’ve been digging through my hard drive in preparation for buying a new computer. It’s the perfect time for some spring cleaning so I don’t transfer over a bunch of crap I don’t need. What’s funny is that I think I keep a pretty clean hard drive, but this little project has taught me that I’m a bit messy. And forgetful. And prone to starting things and not finishing them. I’m so messy and forgetful that I’ve created a “Lost and Found” folder on my desktop into which I’m dumping all the random things I’ve found. Once I figure out what these things are and their potential, I’ll either dump them or find a good home for them. Or, just maybe, finally finish a few of them.
So what kinds of stuff have I found? All sorts of weirdness: Abandoned projects, app samples downloaded but never explored, ideas that never came to fruition, and miscellaneous crap that I don’t even remember getting/creating.
- My old board game comic project. This was a fun thing I started, but quit for no real reason. I think I got busy and forgot about it, and then it just disappeared into a larger folder of game-related content.
- Several apps I downloaded and meant to explore, but never did. There’s an app for creating text-based games like Zork that I thought might work for creating games based on my books. There are photo and design programs to replace Photoshop and Illustrator. (I refuse to pay for subscriptions to software, so when my current versions die, I need replacements.) There’s a copy of Scrivener I got cheap for “winning” Nanowrimo and I still haven’t explored it. (And now I see it needs an update I’d have to pay for if I do want to use it.) There’s even a will-making program I intended to use to draft a simple will. Good grief. I never get around to anything, not even planning my own death.
- A digital booklet for the Mama Mia 2 soundtrack. Apparently I downloaded this when I bought the soundtrack, and I never realized it was there.
- Veterinary records for a dog who passed away a few years ago. Why these weren’t in the “Vet” folder, I have no idea. Why I still have them at all is another mystery.
- So many half finished novels and stories. Some were abandoned for obviously good reasons. Others, I can’t really figure out why I quit on them. Except for the, “I’m lazy and easily distracted,” reason.
- And so many half-finished articles. There’s crap for this blog, my work at iSlaytheDragon.com, and other sites I’ve written for over the years. Just pieces and bits of things started but never finished. For most, I have no idea why they were abandoned.
- Idea files. In recent years I’ve created a “master” idea file that houses my ideas for every kind of writing I do. But before that, I tried various apps and other ways of tracking ideas. These little files are everywhere on my hard drive. So many ideas, and some of them are even good! I’m working on bringing all of these things into the master file now.
- Doodles. Apparently I went through a phase where I liked to doodle with an app called Sketchbook. I don’t really remember this, but there are doodles to prove it.
- So many pictures that aren’t in the “Pictures” folder. Why not? I have no idea.
- A folder labeled, “Magic Cards” with nothing in it. I have no idea what this is. I’ve never played Magic the Gathering, and I’ve never tried being a magician. I’m sure this was some great idea I had for something, but hell if I know what it is now.
- So many miscellaneous downloads. I’ve got some ebooks sitting outside of my Calibre library. Updated rulebooks for board games. Expansion content for board games that I meant to print off and put in the game boxes. Images that I’m sure were for some useful purpose, but which I cannot remember now.
- All of the stuff for my Patreon page, which I haven’t pushed or promoted.
- Files full of marketing ideas. I have lots of ideas on how to market my work, but a lot of them seem scary. Or likely to fail.
There’s more in lost and found, but this is the tip of the iceberg. The big takeaway from this project is that I’m really good at starting things, but lousy at execution. Which I sort of already knew, but it’s nice (horrifying?) to have it confirmed.
There’s so much stuff in here that might actually be good, but I never gave it a chance. Sure, I can chalk some of that up to general busy-ness, but most of it is either laziness, or believing that the idea or piece is stupid. This is a huge failing of mine. I crap out on things long before they have a chance to prove their worth. I just assume whatever it is won’t work, and give up. I’m working on it, but my hard drive tells me I’m not working hard enough.
So what’s the point of this lost and found exercise? Maybe it will push me to work harder on some things. To give myself and my ideas more of a chance before burying it all on a hard drive. I’d encourage those of you who might share my fear of, “Everything I do sucks and people will just hate me if I try,” to clean out your hard drive. Create your own lost and found and then go through it. See what’s there that might deserve another (or a first) chance. At the very least you’ll end up with a clean hard drive. At best, you’ll end up with a whole lot of new stuff to pursue that might lead to greatness.
(Image by Nathan Copley)