Now, maybe there was some validity to what he said, but I could never bring myself to do it when other eyes were going to be reading my work. But in your own private space, this is insanely valuable. I recently re-discovered my old Crossworlds notebook, the very first one I ever kept. There’s plenty of stuff in there I didn’t use. 99.9% of that thrown out material shouldn't have ever existed, and I don’t know why I even thought about it in the first place. But some of it is actually pure gold, or at least, pure gold little seeds. I had an idea for a ghost town called “Shadowvill” that I decided had no business being in the story. Why? It had no purpose or explanation. But now that I know more about my world, well, suddenly this ghost town had a really creepy history. I’m glad I didn’t erase this idea or tear it up.
Even if you don’t find little gems when you look back, I’d highly recommend keeping your early drafts for nostalgic purposes. It’s so fun to look back on how far you’ve come, and remember early, super weird ideas that otherwise would have floated away into the void. And if you’re ever feeling stuck, it’s the perfect base to return to for new ideas.