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The Ghosts in Your Dashboard

It takes time and perspective to write or create something, and sometimes you might find you’re in the right space to tackle a post from the past.

Your WordPress.com 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:

Drafts

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 Scroll down and scan these unpublished treasures: you may re-discover a piece of memoir you couldn’t finish at the time, an incomplete gallery of images from last summer’s vacation, or a post you’ve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 only have one uncompleted post on a blog but it isn’t a draft. Instead of using the draft feature, I publish my post and then change the “Visibility” to “Private”. That way, no one can see it until it is finished and I’m ready to show it. I need to finish my one private post.

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  2. I have three of those.

    Two are last-minute head-ups for events, that were so last-minute that they would have been ridiculous to post and are now outdated anyway.

    The last one… Well I remember sitting at the computer one day with a random thought in my head. I started writing it down and while doing so it evolved. Unfortunately it evolved like the random musings of a drunk and there is no logical connection between the beginning, the middle or the end. Imam keeping it, since I think that a segment might one day become part of another post, but I doubt that.

    The funny thing though is that my mobile dashboard on my iPhone shows two more drafts than my normal dashboard, since it shows two life posts as drafts as well. I always wondered what my “smartphone” is trying to tell me! 😉

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  3. I schedule posts in advance. But I do have 15 drafts sitting around, sometimes I find that a draft fits the daily prompt topic, that’s the day that draft gets finished, published and see the light of day.

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  4. I always have several drafts on the go at any one time, works in progress, waiting for the right photo or moment. but I did start to have a clearout recently, and in all probability I should continue with the clear up!

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  5. I don’t have anything in the draft. Mine is a photo blog so if I am not too sure about a picture, it won’t even have the chance to go into draft. 🙂

    This is a good idea both. Maybe I should create a couple of posts there without publishing it.

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  6. I’m new to WordPress and love the Drafts feature. I put my ideas there and then it helps me determine what time of year to publish a post, based on what’s happening in the season and in my life.

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  7. My blog’s tagline, “Saving dogs’ lives and dog lovers’ sanity” keeps spinning off new topics to cover. As for unfinished posts, I often write in an Apple program called MarsEdit. I see what is still a draft on my computer, and what sometimes became an entirely new version of that topic or title published.

    I do have a few have baked posts in my list. So am eager to try this and cook up a poll.

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  8. I just discovered another use for DRAFTS. It told me that an entry I thought I had posted was in fact still in draft. You can bet I hit the PUBLISH button pronto! All of which explained why it hadn’t shown up on the dashboard or received any hits!!!

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  10. I have 28 drafts at the moment. I have a question – when you finally finish a draft and publish, do you publish it date stamped with the present date, or do you publish it with the originally intended post date. For example, I have a few drafts of a trip we took to Houston to visit my cousins in December 2010. If I were to finish it now, would I use today’s date, or is it ok to use the date in December 2010 to post? I just want to have it as part of the narrative and am not concerned if anyone will read it.

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  11. I’ve only been blogging for five years, and while that might seem like a long time, for the first three years I published a grand total of five posts. Last year? twenty-two posts. This year is looking good so far and I’m up to thirty. The one thing I’ve been discovering in the last few months is we have a wonderful community here in WordPress. Not only in the form of the fellow bloggers you get to know, but the information you glean from The Daily Post. As an ideas repository, The Daily Post is possibly one of the most important blogs you can read. You may not want to take part in the challenge of the writing prompts, or the photo prompts, but the ideas and “how to” information they present is invaluable.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. Glad to see that you’re finding our posts helpful — whether you choose to participate in the prompts/challenges or not — and so nice to hear you’re blogging more as the years have passed!

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  12. Neat idea! Believe it or not though, my drafts section is empty at the moment…

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  13. I really love this post, especially when you talk about quality comments. I really hate it when someone comments on my blog with something like “cute outfit, want to follow each other?” because you know they are just after followers and not looking at building actual blogging relationships.

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  14. I get a bit anxious if i have less than 100 drafts working at any given time. I love saving the idea in a draft and then revisiting it and expanding it, i sometimes do it two or three times before i am ready to release it into the aether.

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  15. On Ghosts in the Dashboard: Yes, I have a few in draft that def. go back a ways. On the Inspiration to move on, I’ve tried to dig deeper into the rational to open a thought and begin writing. I look at the title { early consideration of a title helps me organize my direction}. I revisit the tilte. Perhaps the title was the hangup to proceed? I have thrown out a title and renamed it and the theme became apparent. The juices started to flow. What do you think about this? http://sunkist2.wordpress.com

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