As writers, one of the most difficult things we can do is to get rid of some of our writing. We have completed the draft of our story; but as we cull through it, deciding what to keep and what to take out, we notice all these great descriptions or pieces of dialogue. They don’t belong in the story, but they are too good to just toss away. Don’t. Don’t toss them away. For each story or chapter I am working on, I keep a separate file of what I have taken out. This is especially easy if you are working on your computer. Just create a file for each story, entitled “Take Outs,” and place the items there. If you are working by hand, you can either literally cut the sections out or write them into a notebook or envelope. Keep them there as you rewrite your story – if you are working on a book, keep them there until your book is completed – so you can have them for easy reference if you decide to put some of them back in or want to refer back to them for context or to see, if by taking them out, you got rid of pieces of information your readers need.
Once your book or story is finished, go through these takeouts and see which ones you really want to keep. By now, you will have decided some of them are not as fresh and wonderful as you first thought they were. But those gems – put them in a new folder (or notebook) for ideas to use for other writing projects. Classify them into separate files (dialogue, character description, setting, ideas to ponder, new story ideas, etc.). Then you have them for future reference and can stay a bit more organized – always something a little difficult for many of us writers.