I said early last week that I was not going to tell you to work on your writing goals for 2017, at least not right away. And today, I'm still not going to suggest that you spend your time thinking about goals. I didn't know until I wrote this post that today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.
So, before you do anything else this January, consider giving your writing workspace a good cleaning. Not just with a broom and a dust cloth and sorting the papers on your desk, although that is a good place to begin. It's your writer's life that you want to get organized and cleaned. The woman above could start with those sticky notes decorating the edges of her monitor. They all must be telling her to do something or reminding her of an important task.
Here's a checklist for what you should consider in your cleaning and organizing:
- Make a list of the items on those sticky notes and post it where you can still be reminded.
- Clean off your computer desk or whatever place where you write--go through those bits and pieces of paper that tend to pile up; throw away the ones that have no meaning any longer and put away the ones that you feel you need to keep.
- Look at the wall behind or to the sides of your workspace. Is there something pleasing on it? If not, put up a poster or picture that pleases you. It will help your mood tremendously. I have a framed picture of a place where we had a marvelous vacation in Cornwall, UK a few years ago. Fill the walls with artwork done by children or grandchildren; that should make you happy.
- Do you have the pens, pencils, notepads etc that you might need close by? You don't want to waste time searching for them when you reach out and find nothing.
- Check your writing records for 2016--your submissions, acceptances, rejections and what you earned. You need this information for tax purposes if you earned enough but you also need it to assess your writing for last year. If you haven't kept a chart like this, start doing so this year.
- Check the file where you save your documents. Make a list of the unfinished ones so that you have a good place to begin writing in this new year. Make another list of already published pieces that you can market as reprints.
- If you don't already have one, start an Idea folder. Jot a few notes for each idea and add more as the year progresses.
- Look in My Documents. If you're like me, there will be quite a few things you no longer need and can delete. 'Stuff' piles up and we always mean to get rid of this or that but somehow never get to it. Now is a good time. Keep only those things you think you might need or use again. Definitely get rid of duplicates. I try to keep the most current version.
- Go through that long list of messages in your email inbox. If you're like me, you don't always get rid of the ones that are no longer of any importance. Delete those and save others in a folder. Keep the ones that need your attention now or soon.
- Make a list of projects you'd like to work on this year. Put an asterisk * besides those of most importance. This sounds like a goal but I considerate it more of an organization tool.
If you do all the above and give your area a thorough dusting and sweeping, you will be ready to start on your list of goals for this year. More on that later.