Tuesday 2 November 2021

Recycling Old Manuscripts (ten years on)…


Back in 2011 I did a guest post over on Notes from The Slushpile about recycling old printed out copies of manuscripts to read press here. The post was a bit whimsical, a tad serious and whole lot of silliness. Firstly it did have some useful ideas on how to re-use manuscripts rather than just throwing away in the paper recycling bin, but also had some bonkers ideas too.

Fast forward ten years, and I am back thinking about the same issue, because I’m having building work done of my house, and had to therefore either store of get rid of all the prints out of old versions of all my books. As storage costs, disposing of it won, however I didn’t want to just put it in the green bin, so we did re-use it as much a possible.

I write mostly YA – which are big books, and due to my dyslexia, I find editing on the computer very tricky, as I need to use a ruler/finger to track my reading, and especially with developmental edits I have to LITTERAL Cut and Paste Roald Dahl style.  So this is lots of paper. Now I know some of you will be saying it is bad for the environment (I know) but I do use rainforest managed paper. So ten years and nine book later, each with multiple edits, and that is a lot of paper.

You may ask; how this can have changed since 2011? That surely I’d be doing the same kind of re-using. You’d be right – but you’d also be wrong. In ten years, my offspring have grown and are now teens. Teens change everything.

Football boots…

Yep, my manuscript has been used on multiple occasions to help my son dry his football boots. (This will be particularly funny to anyone who actually knows my son!)


Yes, in 2011 we were using the manuscript to make pots for seedlings. We still do this, but we also use it for projecting the floor when the teen is tending to his plants and cuttings.


My youngest is doing GCSE Art, and one of the projects was sculpture. This was done in the lockdown, so sourcing materials was tricky. But there was no reason to panic when you have a box full of old manuscripts that can be used!


It is the season for bonfires, and my manuscript apparently burns well. Although as we currently have no heating, I am wondering if we should have kept some!

Any other ideas on how to re-use, re-cycle or re-propose old manuscripts, would be gratefully received.







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