There is an article in the RWR this month about the importance of archiving. Of saving things. Apparently some day, someone might want to study an author's work and how they develop ideas.
Jennifer Blake contributed to the article and also pointed out that it can be helpful for the author. For example, she thought her method had changed but then she went back to her old ms and discovered that she did as much rewriting as ever.
My problem is lack of storage space. I can not keep all the physical copies. I do keep my black moleskines which have my early thoughts. (Currently with my room having been changed around, my latest notebook has gone AWOL -- most disconcerting. ) And I do keep my electronic copies. But I do not tend to keep my revised scribbled on copies. I suppose it would be useful to see how ideas develop...but I guess I am only a demi-pack rat. After awhile, I do like a good clear out.
The article was interesting as it did point out that even though the author may save to disk, diskette or what have you, the nature of technology has changed and there is much that can no longer be easily accessed. The article recommends -- opening up all your files when you get a new computer and making sure...
Other things to think about saving include -- reader letters, correspondence from your editor, newspaper articles and the like. Badges from conferences. Some of these things get saved and some are just clutter.
But when does clutter become important to researchers?
I still remember the conversation with one author who used to look after the Byron archives, they had even saved his slippers.
I do not think that I will ever rise to that height. And most of the time, I am not even aware of my own thought processes. If I thought about why I changed a word to another one, I would not be able to write.
It was Browning who once said --God and Browning once knew the true meaning of that poem, and now God knows.
But I suspect that I should get more methodical about saving things. Now if I could just find that moleskine, I would know how the next part of the story should go...