The start of a new year is special. It’s a reboot opportunity, a moment when we can hit refresh, adopt a new mindset if needed, and build new habits that will lead to success. So Becca and I would like to encourage you to tackle a few housekeeping tasks before you wade into the next page of your writing journey.
Housekeeping Task #1:
Back up your work.
I know, it’s obvious. And yet…do you? I mean we all know the danger of not backing up work, but let’s face it, computer crashes happen to OTHER people, right? Um, no. It can and probably WILL happen to you at some point. So, yep, back your work up. Now’s the perfect time to do it!
Housekeeping Task #2:
Do some weeding.
Nope, I didn’t celebrate too hard last night and forget that most gardens are deep beneath the snow. The gardening work we need to turn our attention comes in the form of old word files on our computers.
Think about it…just how many versions of the same story do you have on your computer? How many blog posts, revisions of query letters, pitches, story notes, character profiles and worksheets…well, you get the idea.
Over the years, this stuff piles up. It becomes a mountain of data. The truth is, we can’t bear to let any of it go, these words of ours. We’re so sure that at some point, we’ll want that 7th revision of chapter 9, absolutely. And even if we finish the novel and move on to another, dang it, maybe that discarded paragraph 3 in that first draft can be used in a new story!
Group therapy time: maybe it’s time to let some of these old files go. Once we’ve finished revisions on a book, there’s really no reason to keep all the old bits and bobs, right? So take a look at the scary patch of files and ask yourself, do I really need this? If you truly don’t, go on and purge.
Housekeeping Task #3:
Okay, up until now, we’ve taken some baby steps. You’ve done well. In fact, you’re a freaking rock star. But now…we need to talk about the biggie. I know, you don’t want me to go there, but I have to. It’s the Thing That Must Not Be Named.
Your desk. Your workspace.
Yes, I know your dirty little secret…those drawers are an episode of Hoarders. Maybe several episodes. (You think my desk looks any different? It doesn’t.)
Here’s the deal: if we really want to start with a clear mind we should clean our surroundings. Make our fresh start a TRUE fresh start.
If your desk is a mess, your drawers are filled with God-knows-what, and there’s so much of it you haven’t seen the bottom in a good year or two, it’s time to excavate.
Trust me, you will feel so much better knowing those drawers actually shut like they are supposed to. And it probably won’t kill you to dust. Or empty the trash. So sort, organize and recycle!
A Bonus Tip? Look into One Stop For Writers.
This is the start of a new year, and more importantly, a new page in your book. So write the story you want most. Arm yourself with powerful creative resources that will help you put your best work out into the world. (We have a free trial, too.)
Housekeeping can help you start your year off right. Here’s to a fantastic year for all of us!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
You’re not kidding about it being scary to let go of old word files! But it’s a great idea. Guess I will have to take myself in hand… Happy new year!
Rosemary Gemmell says
Great advice and perfect for a new year! Wishing you all the best on your creative journey in 2019.
I couldn’t agree more that de-cluttering and organizing are KEY to productivity, Angela 🙂 Here’s to yet another year of that!!!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Yes! I want to clean my office, my computer, and most importantly, my mind. Time for me to discard waster activities (like nonsense TV shows) and fill that time with meaningful activity and make room for new thoughts and ideas. 🙂
Christine Monson says
Took each step at a time, and now my computer, desk, and work space is sparkly clean and ready for 2019. Thank you for this, Angela 🙂
Happy New Year!!
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
HURRAY! I always feel better when everything is clean and organized, and I hope you do too. 🙂