Dear Writers, What Do You Have Saved in Your Drafts?

Illustration for article titled Dear Writers, What Do You Have Saved in Your Drafts?
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If you’re somebody who writes for a living or as a hobby or because it’s not that you won’t stop, it’s that you can’t stop, then there’s a really good chance you use some sort of publishing platform to share your thoughts with the world. Many of us started out on Blogspot or whatever came before that (paper? cave walls? Yo no se.) and one of the buttons we all got most familiar with was the “Save” button, effectively saving to drafts all of our ideas that we never finished or didn’t work out the way we wanted.


Now that I do this like I’m doing it for television at all times, the same practice still exists. Every now and then, when I get a bout of writer’s block, I do a quick breeze through of my drafts to see if any of them spark joy within in my soul. Usually they don’t. There’s good reason why many never made it out of drafts. As I perused my own list of things that never saw the light of day, I got to pondering (who hasn’t pondered a time or two) about what other folks of writerly stripes had warehoused in the potential purgatory of “Drafts.” Since sharing is caring, I am going to let you see mine, if you let me see yours. Here is a list of my 10 most recent drafts (not all, it’s too extensive) and a brief explanation of what dat draft (didn’t) do. Some have titles, some have ideas as the headline.

1. Hypebeasting

I was going to write a whole-ass post about being a hypebeast—a person who literally makes it on trend at all times. If we’re wearing Gucci today, he/she is on Gucci today. Applies to every clothing brand or shoe that’s popular. The post was inspired by Payless Shoes opening the fake Palessi store to dupe folks into paying too much for shit they thought was high end. I have overpaid for shit I thought was awesome. Absolutely.

2. Burning Bridges: The Troubled Waters of Gentrification and the Cultural Erasure of Black Life in Washington, D.C. 

A response piece to those who took issue with me as a non-native of Washington, D.C., writing about Muriel Bowser’s statement about mambo sauce. Some felt I had no business speaking for D.C. and was in effect erasing D.C. natives’ ability to tell their own stories. The piece was going to be about the question of who can speak on culture, even in defense and protection of a culture in particular. It was also going to be about whether black folks can be gentrifiers. (I was called one.) I lost interest in this one because I spent so much time in the actual comments on Facebook.

3. How D.C.’s School Lottery Threw My Family Into a Tailspin Two Months After School Already Started

D.C. assigns seats at its public schools and charters through a lottery system. That threw my whole-ass family into a weeklong tailspin two months after school started as we were offered spots at some of the most coveted schools in the DCPS system, but like 30 minutes (no lie) to make a decision. This piece is actually finished. Maybe I’ll drop it one day.


4. America Has a Listening Problem

Kind of self explanatory. I suppose I kind of wrote this in response to Kamala Harris talk, though the time I drafted this (October 8, 2018), I could have made it about anything.


5. Where Does Wreckx-n-Effects ‘Rump Shaker’ Rank Amongst Notable Ass Jams?

I wrote this whole-ass piece with links to videos and necessary research at necessary strip clubs (I kind of kid), before I ultimately remembered that I’d ALREADY wrote an article like it a year before where I ranked (No. 4) exactly where “Rump Shaker” ranked. Talk about a waste of time. I couldn’t delete it though; I had one sentence I loved in it.


6. 26 Is Too Young to Die

I may one day actually share this piece, but I wrote it in the aftermath of the death of Mac Miller. His death affected me more than I could understand. I think it’s because of how much I loved his final album Swimming and, in retrospect, it felt to me like an album on the way to the end. The whole piece is complete, written in full, very personal and I just couldn’t bring myself to publish it. RIP Mac.


7. The One About Naming Problematic White People With Cute Names

This whole article was about coming up with a list of names from A-Z of names for white folks who call the cops on black folks for basically being born. Thing is, while writing it, I felt like I was making light of the phenomenon. And I hate how cute the names are that we give people who are literally putting folks lives in danger, so I scrapped the piece.


8. A Different World Was Literally for Me and You, Your Mama and Your Cousin, Too

I was going to give a list of 10 ways that A Different World changed the game. I think I got bored with my own list because I stopped at No. 4 and never looked back.


9. Ya Know, I Always Thought Digable Planets Should Have Been a Bigger Group

On the heels of their Unsung episode, I delved into why Digable Planets didn’t end up being much bigger and more revered. On a musical level, they were astoundingly sophisticated, though lyrically they were all pretty bad, but in the ’90s way that we all rather enjoyed. I think it’s because they were way too “New York” for a group of niggas where nobody was from NY, but I mean, Gang Starr thrived so I don’t know. They imploded, though they had one of the biggest songs of the ’90s with “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) and one of the blackest albums of all time in Blowout Comb. Mystery, thy name is Digable Planets.


10. Why It Matters How You Use Your Outlet

After Kanye decided to amplify Candace Owens and cape for Trump, a lot of discussion centered around Ye’s influence and how he used it. Not sure why I never finished this piece as it spoke about those of us with platforms (including in writer spaces) being responsible with those platforms.


Those are my 10 most recent drafts. Show me what you got.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


Chevonne Harris

*Sigh* Here we go. #NoJudgement please.

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3. An Ode to Ballies and Barrettes 

4. Gotdangit People, Get a Professional Headshot!

5. Positively Yours: Love, Sex and Dating w/ an STD