We all know what hoarding is, but have you ever heard about writing hoarders?
Digital hoarding is “a thing”. Haley Cue of XoJane.com writes:
Technology has made collecting things so much easier, more attainable, creative, customizable. Filters! Hashtags! Sharing! We can get to know another person’s life by scrolling through a collection of images we’ve been granted access to. I am certain I would be doing these things regardless of time and medium, but I am thankful for the conveniences of my generation. I’d be terrified to find out how I would function without it all.
My inclination to hoard takes place in real life as well – especially when it comes to clothes and sentimental objects that I have a hard time letting go of – but it would be decidedly more amplified without technology helping to keep the physicality to a minimum.
Haley Cue, like so many reading this blog, writes. These days, I don’t know a writer who can live without some form of digital hoarding. Let’s just call this phenomenon “writing hoarder”.
N.B.: This is not to be confused with “writing whore” or “content whore”. One of our most prolific financial writers, Miranda Marquit, was once referred to by a financial blogger as “everyone’s favorite content whore” due to the amount of work she does. Demand for her work is high enough that it’s impossible to avoid her in the online personal finance space. Blogs have been hoarding her writing!
Let’s define “writing hoarder” similar to the way Ambrose Bierce satirically defines words in The Devil’s Dictionary:
- Wri-ting hoar-der (n)
- One who writes and hoards everything he/she has written since the first grade. Also, someone who collects everything to do with the profession of writing, including notes on relatives for possible memoir/sitcom/stand-up comedy routine/novel/screenplay. Someone whose hard drive, bookshelves, digital devices and closets could be a time capsule in case the Library of Congress needs it.
Think of all the knowledge we have. The clips. The various drafts. Research. How often have I hunted through old CDs and flash drives and memory sticks for a project that needed resurrecting or a research file? I finally digitized old magazine article clips and award certificates. That doesn’t even begin to count everything else a writer tends to hoard. Do any of these apply to you?
- Ebooks on various platforms
- Material from past e-courses and conferences (hey, you paid for it)
- Present e-courses from Udemy.com, WritersStore.com, Coursera.com, ScreenwritersUniversity.com
- Old emails from “wouldn’t it be cool” projects you’re still keeping around in case you ever have a free moment to pursue them
- All those contacts from writers conferences you entered into Contacts, Outlook and so on
- Material you’ve written for your own e-courses or live presentations
- Digital photos for writing research/inspiration
- Bookmarked research
- Writing residencies in Italy for your bucket list
- Old project chat logs on Skype, etc.
- TimeTracker records if you’re charging by the hour, or if you just want to keep track of time as proof you’ve written
- Old movie clips and music clips for inspiration
- A Netflix queue of stuff in your genre that even the most devoted binge-watcher couldn’t plow through.
If you checked more than two or three items, congratulations, you are a writing hoarder. No cure exists–because there is no cure for writing fever. We recommend knowledge management so that you can proudly embrace being a writing hoarder.
N.B.: Compulsive hoarding is also, unfortunately, a thing. Seek professional help if you have this, as it can be a sign of depression, anxiety or OCD.