Perennial Favorites: The Ghosts in Your Dashboard

As bloggers, we’re always on the lookout for the next great post idea. Can you find one by looking back?…

As bloggers, we’re always on the lookout for the next great post idea. Can you find one by looking back? This week, let’s revisit a great piece from last year on making the most of your forgotten drafts.

Your dashboard is the nerve center of your blog: it’s where your ideas come to life, and your creativity gives them shape. As writers, artists, and thinkers, we know inspiration can be sporadic and those moments of genius are fleeting — they come and go, which means that sometimes your literary flame burns out, and those bursts of creation are short-lived.

The result? An abandoned idea. The dreaded draft, sitting in limbo, staring back at you. And so, we’re curious: what’s lurking in the drafts section of your dashboard?

Go to Posts » All Posts in your dashboard. At the top, you’ll see links like this:


Well, look at that — I have 46 unfinished posts in my dashboard! How about you? Scroll down and scan these unpublished treasures: you may re-discover a piece of memoir you couldn’t finish at the time, an incomplete gallery of images from last summer’s vacation, or a post you’ve simply forgotten.

We ditch posts for many reasons; maybe you felt uninspired and got bored. But sometimes, it takes a bit of time and perspective to write or create something, and you may find you’re in the right space to tackle a post from the past. So, sift through this list and consider these options:

  • Click “Edit” on a specific post and continue where you left off.
  • Open up and read each draft, and then create a new post from all that you’ve read.
  • Pull fragments from different drafts and craft “found poetry” from your dashboard detritus.
  • Run a writing challenge on your blog: post the draft and ask your readers to finish it. They can publish the finished product on their own blogs and link to their submissions in your comments.
  • Ask for help! Post the draft and insert a poll at the bottom of your post, asking for feedback on how to improve or complete it. (We’ll talk more this month about using polls, so stay tuned!)
  • Transform writer’s block into something productive, like writing about why you can’t write. Seems silly, but it gets you typing. I even have a draft in my dashboard titled “False Starts,” in which I compiled the first paragraphs of all of my drafts into one post, one after the other, in an attempt to create something out of unripe ideas:

False Starts

We’re curious about what lurks in your dashboard — tell us in the comments, and if you plan to revisit something!

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  1. i appreciated this post last year, and every so often your wise counsel returns, and i peruse those that are drafts. some are strictly quotes for the Timeout for Art, and they’re waiting for yet-to-be-created images. others are wondering why i abandoned them! this week i will retrieve one from the drafts.. the suggestion to get others to finish it is a fun option!


  2. This is really Idea Gold Central! Thank you– I never would have thought of this stuff for the pieces I ran out of gas on. Speaking of, I’d far rather scrutinize my WordPress Dashboard then my Toyota….all I’m likely to find there is some ominous looking lit-up symbol and numerals telling me I should have the oil changed — 9 months ago. Thanks for this!

  3. I am pleased to hear that others also have unfinished drafts; thought it was just me not being able to finish certain posts. Unfortunately I delete mine after a while. Never thought of revamping them. Thanks for the idea, will use it in future :)

  4. Last night I managed to finish two drafts from last year. Time away from some thoughts really can make all the difference in getting to the heart of what you had hoped to say. This is definitely advice well given.

  5. My unfinished posts lie lurking in Word files on my hard drive – I’m far too big a scaredy-cat to draft straight into my Dashboard. What if I hit publish by mistake? And what if, in the time it took me to delete said unintended post, someone visiting my blog for the first time should read it and decide it was the worst blog they’d ever visited? Or what if I managed to somehow delete all my other posts whilst I was drafting? What if… what if … Yes, I have an over-active imagination and an under-developed understanding of how all things blog-related really work. Maybe I should write a post called ‘What if…’? And what if I attempted to draft it straight into my Dashboard …?

    1. I was doing it straight as of now, my personal blog’s post, by personal blog post I mean very personal. It got posted in my college assignment blog. My heart was pumping with speed of an airplane then. Its good idea to prepare post draft on offline softwares.

  6. I’m sure there is quite a story in “Private Trash.” Oh, wait….that’s two different files, isn’t it…

  7. I keep my drafts safely offline, but I don’t think I’ve had many discarded ideas… My main problem is the opposite – I have too many for the time frame I have had to restrict myself to publish in (once a week) because this thing called life kinda gets in the way. And then sometimes, because I’ve had to delay them, the entries wind up not feeling as relevant as they would’ve been, meaning I have to do priority shuffles every now and then.

  8. I only had 2 — I draft most of them in Evernote. The abandoned ones tend to be ones I started in WordPress. One was from when I was struggling to find topics to come up with and just didn’t pan out as interesting for me. The other was announcement for a veteran’s collection I’m going to be in (called Red, White, and True) that for some reason I didn’t post. So I added it to a sticky instead.

    1. Haha definitely not. One of the main reasons I started blogging was to force myself to turn all the abandoned half-drafted ideas on my computer into something more. I didn’t realise everyone else did the same!

  9. I set up drafts whenever I’m inspired by an image, a song, a title, a quote, an idea… I revisit them fairly frequently and often find one that has “ripened.” Oh, I do edit the publish date to the year 2019 before I do anything else just in case I hit publish by mistake. (Not that I’ve ever done that!)

  10. so i just checked my dashboard, cuz you woke up the Cat of Curiosity….. only 1 draft of a review i wanted to do on the last two Walking Dead episodes that I saw (raw emotions of Zombi Passion i felt compelled to share with my Ethereal Friends)…. not much there but a mental “NOTE TO SELF”. However….. i looked in the “password protected” file…. now there is some krazy DukkSheit i forgot all about! (password protected for REASONS, Kidz! heh-heh-heh!) let’s see what YOU found… ;-)

  11. I love the idea of ‘false starts’ and am happily lifting it (hopefully with blessings!) in order to post something tomorrow. I’d post today, but am heading out…usually the reason I end up with posts in my drafts folder to begin with. If I don’t finish an idea and post the blog, it languishes in draftland for ever. Thanks for the idea, and the daily encouragement provided by The Daily Post!

  12. This post made me feel good about myself! I have often questioned WTF I’m doing here because one moment I think, “Damn, that’s good!” and all flows so effortlessly. Then the next moment, I take 20 minutes to write one sentence that could quite possibly be the WORST sentence EVER! :)

    1. hahahahhaha…I feel you!

      Sometimes I wake up fully expecting to be featured on Freshly Pressed because it was THAT good, other times I expect to lose followers it’s that bad. Sigh.

  13. I have no abandoned or forgotten drafts. I do, however, spend a lot of time working and reworking and thinking about posts so that they are ready for publishing. I post once a week and also participate in the weekly photo challenge, so maybe I don’t write enough to have work I leave.

  14. My drafts have become a bit like the note book beside the bed when I get ideas – I start of to write the post but need to go & either make something to finish it off (crafting blog so I often want to make a piece of work to go with it) or I need the time to go & explore other peoples crafting blogs to see if they made anything to go with my idea. Thus then I have a lot of drafts that remain unfinished until I have the time. Mine are not false starts just abandoned work until I want to reveal.

  15. 294 published, 140 drafts – the drafts are ideas that will eventually be used. I store my ideas in too many places because I have a paper file with just as many ideas in it. I write when I have time, as long as I can access a computer I have a post (or two or three) to work on. It’s a lot like my reading, I have many books on the go so that I’ll always have something to read. Idle hands and all that! Can’t you tell I’m old.


  16. I suppose that it’s just a matter of writing style. The only time I ever save to draft is if for some reason I manage to get interrupted, or if for some reason, I lose my Internet connection, and have to pull up an autosave once I get back in. Otherwise, I write one post at a time, and once I’m done with it, it goes out into the big wild world wide web.

  17. I should dearly like to rediscover such as you write of, Michelle !
    But being an obsessive compulsive, I can’t bear having unused crap sitting around anywhere; and so there is absolutely NOZZINK.
    Sighh …

  18. I did actually go through my drafts recently and I published a poem, but somehow it was lost and I have no idea how. It’s not on my blog and it’s not in the drafts anymore. :( >:(

  19. No drafts, thank goodness. I have a habit of finishing what I start. Not a fan of things left undone, only a fan of new creative projects and then completing those.

  20. I did have a writer’s block. I have ideas – too many of them but just could not find the time sit, reflect and write. Writing needs perspective and inspiration. Thankfully my draft from 2 months ago now scheduled for publishing. Glad to know there are fellow writers who happen to have the similar problem!

  21. I’m in the midst of a month long A-Z writing challenge. In crafting my calendar of posts for the month, I knew that using my collection of drafts (usually 70+, in some stage of completion) would be a good way to ensure success.

    Plus, it is also forcing me to poop or get off the pot with some of the drafts that showed early promise, but have been sitting stagnant for several months.

  22. I don’t have any drafts because they would drive me nuts. I work on them and work on them, even if it takes me days to complete, and then publish.