Thursday, March 29, 2018
Spring Cleaning, Writer Style
That is, I believe in the concept. The major scrub-till-you-drop cleaning itself, not so much. Still, I enjoy that starting-fresh-feeling that comes along with even the littlest bit of tossing, organizing, and spiffing up. So I apply my version of spring cleaning to my writing business, and when I’m done, I feel pretty good. And I bet you will, too.
If I don’t do anything else at the end of a long winter (and yes, I live in the South so maybe it’s just two and a half months, but it feels at least three months), I toss all the winter clothes I didn’t wear. The too-short jeans, the shoes that pinch my toes, the chartreuse coat that was a bargain but makes me look sallow. If I didn’t wear it for an entire season (so let’s say five months because yeah, fall can be brisk in the South, y’all), then it’s got to go. I also toss the much-loved clothes that have seen better days because let’s face it. One more spin in the washing machine, and I’ve got nothing but rags.
Gosh, it’s exhilarating to have all that space in closets and drawers! And you can have that kind of space in your inbox, your bookshelves, and your files. If you have an email that you haven’t even opened in four months, delete it. If your bookshelves are sagging with outdated reference books (Welcome to Windows XL anyone?), donate them. And those files crammed with clippings on arts and crafts ideas for your kidders (the last of whom just graduated college)? Shred ‘em.
Come spring, I like to tackle those spots that tend to get jam-packed and messy, like the linen closet or the garage or the junk drawer. In all these years, I don’t quite understand why these spots get so messy. I just know that when I see pollen, my brain says, “HOW did all this stuff get in such disarray in my garage (or linen closet or junk drawer)?”
Okay, I don’t say disarray. You can imagine what I really say. The point is, it’s stuff I need so I get to work organizing. And we writers run into this sort of disarray all the time. Which ultimately ends up costing us lots more of our precious writing time. So take an afternoon, put on some music you love, and organize those notes for your novel/memoir/non-fiction picture book. Attack your desk and don’t give up till you can actually see your desk. And those emails that you have read and are truly important but still languishing in your inbox? Organize files in your inbox—and be specific!—so that those emails can be filed and retrieved easily when you need them.
And let me just say this about the junk drawer: I don’t organize it; I don’t open it unless I want to put junk in it. I suggest you do the same.
The Spiffing Up
Now it’s time for a little spiffing up, like maybe a new coat of paint on a door or washing the dust off the baseboards or planting annuals in the flower bed. I’m sure lots of people actually do that sort of thing. But after the tossing and the organizing, I’m flat wore out. About all I can muster is the spiffing up of my writer stuff.
~ Cathy C. Hall