The other day I started a project that is very well suit for the using of 'frozen' materials, in fact that is one of things that most attracted me of it, so happily I ventured, for the first time in a long time, into the folder that contains all my snippets, riffs, jam recordings and whatnot, and which, congruently with my current Lean efforts, is now called "materials inventory". To be more precise, for "materials" I understand any amorphous stuff that hasn't reach the demo state yet.
For a long time, I've only been in that folder to drop stuff. It contains, for example, things transferred from two generations of cellphones. Traditionally I've done the transfer only when the memory is running out, so there is a big batch each time.
There are also, as it is foreseeable in a musician, plenty of other recordings made in the computer, via the internal mic or a sound card, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, kazoos, a capellas... There's also fragments of lyrics (or themes to be expanded into lyrics), in all the file formats you could imagine and then some.
I guess some people have problems to compose. I have the opposite problem: it's not strange for me to get up from bed in a rush looking for a pen and a recorder, as some melody has visited me in that intermediate state between sleep and awaken. It isn't strange, either, for me to stop after some minutes of jamming and enable a recording because something popped up and I want to capture it; in fact, once I get on a roll, I can sometimes figure out the 'seeds' of 3 or 4 songs in a single session.
A lovely abundance, but it was also becoming problematic because it's easier to create stuff than to make a decision about what you do next about it, or even how do you classify it. However, in this visit to my archives it seems things have started to get sorted out, a bit at least...
My hard drive died a few months ago and I got to change it just before it happened, with incredible luck and perfect timing. However, I lost some stuff in the process, and here I've found that some of my riffs are gone or exist only in the sad ghost of files that turn out to be empty. In particular, one that I was counting on for my project. So sad...
Something like this had happened to me before, with my former cellphone: the SD card died and I lost everything from one day to the next.
Inventory is always a big cause of problems, both in the real world (the unfinished products occupying real estate and gathering dust), and the virtual one. Use it or lose it.