Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Cleaning for Writers

Tangled and unidentifiable computer wires strangling your creativity? Are sticky notes covering the surface of your computer, obscuring the screen? Too many characters populating your novel?

With the official start of spring, I’ve been gearing up for the ritual of spring cleaning. Buds on the trees and tulip shoots poking through the ground prod me to clear the way for new growth in my writing life. In order to do this, I need to prune both physical and emotional clutter surrounding my writing.

Here is my spring cleaning “To Do” list:

* Sort through books and magazines. Keep my favorites and the most useful how to write books. Donate the rest to the local library for their monthly sale.

* Collect sticky notes, scraps of paper and paper napkins filled with my scribblings about characters and stories then transfer this treasure trove to my PC. Make sure I grab the ones that say things like, “What is the fastest acting poison?” before my neighbors visit.

* Double check that my computer backup is working so I don’t lose files like last year.

* Paint the wall in my writing area a honey yellow color. Currently, it’s beige and boring. Snoooooze.

* Change the passwords to access my email and social media accounts.

* Make sure the files I need the most are within easy reach. Toss unnecessary papers.

* Have a professional, or at least a better, headshot taken. (I’m resisting even though I know first impressions are lasting.)

* Take some time to think about the following questions: What do I need to change in order to gain more time to write? Do I have any negative thoughts or beliefs about writing that are holding me back? What social media sites are working for me and which ones can I delete? Do I need a website? Are the writing groups I belong to useful for what I write?

* Grab a machete and prune characters in my WIP. Perhaps there are a few insignificant characters that would be better off combined into one character. 

*Take a Spring Break. I plan to read something just for fun like WRITERS GONE WILD: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes by Bill Peschel.

Are you giving away, reorganizing or reassessing something in your writing life this spring?


Jim Jackson said...

I hope your cleaning goes well. My weeds are stronger than my pruning shears and also seem to becoming immune to periodic poisoning.

All kidding aside, I do find that a periodic cleaning does help me focus on the things I want to focus on.

So, best of luck – do you hire out your services?

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Thanks, Jim. I find it’s easier to concentrate when I know where everything is located.

I wonder if there is a professional organizer just for writers. I think it would make a great side business for an entrepreneurial person who knows how to manage paper clutter, e-clutter, and mounds of books.

Gloria Alden said...

What perfect timing, Kara. For the first time in my life - not counting when I had knee surgery and my daughter came in, I have a cleaning person sweeping, dusting, washing woodwork, etc. I almost feel guilty sitting here at the computer typing while she's cleaning. She's a friend of mine from one of my book clubs, who recently quit her stressful nursing job and was looking for something else to do on a sometime basis - something with less stress.

I also have post-it notes and scrap papers with scribbles. I never thought about making a separate file for them on my computer. Hmmm. I wonder if I'd actually go to that and read them someday. It's worth considering.

E. B. Davis said...

It's been so cold here that it doesn't feel like spring. We had snow yesterday--so I'm not into spring yet. One of the consequences of renovation is throwing things out. Because our office also had to be a make-shift kitchen, I threw out and consolidated much in my office cabinets, something that was long overdue. As a result, I have room to clear off my desktop. Even if it doesn't help me function better, psychologically it will help. No more clutter. But your blog makes me believe that maybe spring will finally come. Thanks!

Warren Bull said...

It's been snowing ever since the calendar proclaimed it was spring. I've been scheduling trips and putting blogs on the list for when I will be gone. I'm also updating my partly finished stories. Put up or shut up time.

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, that’s a great way to carve more time for writing. Plus, you’re helping a friend. I’d love for my super organized 14 year old niece to sort through my kitchen cabinets. But I don’t know if she’d do it even for money.

Kara Cerise said...

E.B., I think that home renovations and moving are good (sometimes painful) motivators to clear clutter. But it’s a relief when the chaos is over.

The snow was kind of a surprise. I’m afraid we will bypass spring (my favorite time of year) and rocket straight to summer.

Kara Cerise said...

Punxsutawney Phil was wrong about spring, too, Warren. As a joke, an Ohio prosecutor filed an indictment against the groundhog for misrepresentation of early spring--an unclassified felony. (At least I'm assuming it was a joke.)

Good luck finishing everything on your “to do” list!

Jody Johnson said...

These are some great cleaning tips! You've done a great work, I've thought of making a spring cleaning post myself, but I'm not that big fan of cleaning by my own, tho.

Jody Johnson said...

These are some great cleaning tips! You've done a great work, I've thought of making a spring cleaning post myself, but I'm not that big fan of cleaning by my own, tho.

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you for your comment, Jody! I agree that it's not fun to clean alone. Exercising is better with a friend, so why not cleaning?