Letting Go Of Old Friends

I recently unfriended over 180 people on Facebook.

I’ve previously considered deactivating my account; I rarely use Facebook other than to look at photos and stay in touch with family.

Then I realised what was really putting me off.

Every time I’d log in, my newsfeed would be a sea of half-forgotten names – people I haven’t seen or spoken to in over a decade, and am unlikely to ever speak to again.

That guy who I last saw in fifth grade isn’t my friend. Neither is his younger sister. Neither are most of the people who attended my school, or many of my acquaintances from university. While their names and faces may be familiar, I (and they!) have changed so much over the last few years that we may as well be strangers.

I looked through my friends list and wondered: why am I holding on to these people?

But what does this have to do with writing?

Story ideas are much like friends.

As part of my spring e-cleaning, I’ve sorted through my writing folder – tidying up projects, deleting unnecessary drafts, and tackling that dreaded “to sort” folder.

At one point, I browsed through my ongoing projects list – a sea of half-forgotten titles, stories I haven’t thought about or worked on in years, and am unlikely to ever work on ever again.

Those half-baked novel ideas and outlines? They’re not my friends. I don’t know who they are anymore, and they don’t know the kind of author I am, either. I’m never going to write that romance novel, or finish the sea creature story, or figure out why the time travel thriller didn’t work. I have too many other ideas I’d rather be working on.

As I looked through my projects list, I wondered: why am I holding on to these stories?

So I selected them all and dragged them into an archive folder, which is pretty much like unfriending, if you ask me.

And if one day an old story idea or old friend knocks on the door and we reignite our friendship – brilliant.

But in the meantime, I have new friends to meet.