The 5 Types of Posts in my Draft Folder — Learning from Abandoned Work

Charles Daly
4 min readNov 7, 2019

Looking back at some of these drafts, I wish I had used the energy I spent writing them to document my journey rather than describe a destination I hadn’t even reached.

I currently have 44 unpublished drafts in Medium. I was browsing through them today to find something to post when I decided to write about the words I abandon.

The topics of those posts I never posted are all over the place — one’s about what it’s like to feel homesick for barbeque while living in Europe, another explains why I read about atrocities, and there are about a dozen aborted attempts to have something original to say about outrage culture — but what these posts have in common is that I seem to discard them for the same reasons again and again.

Photo by Charles Daly

The Half-Baked Hot Take

I rush to the keys in a frenzy over some pressing current event, but I don’t stay interested or the topic doesn’t stay relevant long enough for me to follow through and finish the post.

Going back through these drafts, sometimes I’ll find a clever phrase I want to use later, or I’ll discover something more interesting to write about when I follow the thread of the initial topic. But usually, I leave these posts in the bin and thank my lucky stars I don’t have to churn out hot takes for a living the way some bloggers do.

The Angry Letter in a Drawer

Sometimes my draft folder serves as the proverbial drawer where you’re supposed to let an angry letter cool off before you actually send it.

These drafts can be useful, either as free therapy or as material to repurpose elsewhere. A post I wrote about getting off Facebook started as an open letter to someone whose inane comments on my wall made me realize Facebook was a huge waste of time. My initial frustration and anger towards this person wasn’t very compelling. But when I shifted the focus to my own unhealthy relationship with the platform and how that had set me up to get my feelings hurt, I ended up with a decent post.

By using the draft folder to let my words cool off, I turned a temper tantrum into something more self-reflective, relatable, and helpful.

Charles Daly

B2B Copywriter. Co-author of Make Peace or Die: a Life of Service, Leadership, and Nightmares (my dad’s memoir).