Would You Burn Your Entire Archive

This Week In Writing, we contemplate throwing out our leftovers and slimming down our digital presence.

Would You Burn Your Entire Archive
"burning paper" by Justin Cox and Midjourney

Today is Throw Out Your Leftovers Day since theoretically any Thanksgiving leftovers should be thrown out by now. You don’t want to get sick eating spoiled food. I say theoretically because I’ve been known to eat leftovers for more than a week without issue. But, you do you.

Anyway, the day got me thinking about throwing out the leftover content we create as writers. I recently deleted all of my tweets, and I periodically go through and delete past articles I don’t like. It’s a form of spring cleaning (during any point of the year) to keep my digital presence orderly.

As Twitter continues to melt down, I recently returned to my old Tumblr account. Looking up people I currently follow on Twitter was like stepping into a time capsule — most people who had Tumblrs hadn’t posted since 2016. Who knows whether they were being preserved for posterity or were simply forgotten. Either way, the platform was like a dusty attic of content lost to the history of time.

When I go back and delete old articles or when I purged my Twitter archive, I have a small debate in my head: should I let them live on — after all, they are words I wrote and were proud of at the moment; or, should I let them go since they don’t reflect my best work. My desire for minimalism typically wins out.

There are some old posts that I hold on to and even update from time to time. My first Medium article, published in February 2014, is updated every few years. It’s a way for me to see how I’ve grown as a writer and storyteller. Ironically, that post was originally published on Tumblr. It’s strange how things come full circle.

Do you throw out your leftovers or let them live on for posterity? Hit reply or leave a comment about how you handle your writing archive.

Justin Cox Justin Cox

Justin Cox is a donut-loving, word-writing, nonprofit consultant based in Orlando. He also runs The Writing Cooperative on Medium. Come say hello!