Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Organizing Your Writing for the New Year

I don't know about you, but December is usually the month I start thinking about the new year and what I want to accomplish with my writing. If you think you can keep your dreams in your head and that somehow they'll get accomplished, think again.

You've probably heard the saying, "A dream unwritten is just a wish," and I can't help but agree.

When I wanted to publish my first book, I had the words written down in my journal. When I wanted to open my new business, I had the words written on a poster board that I saw every day.

Organization can be a daunting task; especially when there's still so much Christmas shopping to do, but you may want to consider these ideas as you prepare your writing for the new year. 
    Photo by: casey.marshall, courtesy of Flickr
  • Clean out your desk. Organize your file folders. I know, I know, this takes some time, but make it. As you accomplish new manuscripts in the new year you'll have a place to store your work that will actually be found again. I keep my work on the computer as well as on paper, just in case one of them fails me.
Photo by: One Way Stock, courtesy of Flickr

  • Throw away items you no longer need. I have a habit of hanging onto old notes for books that I have already published. This takes up a lot of space. Throw out the old stuff so you have room for the new.
  • Get a calendar for your writing. You can use your phone or buy a paper calendar. What days will you write in the new year? What times will you write? Some writers write particular things are particular days. For example, on Monday they may work on their blogs for the week, on Tuesday, their newest novel, on Wednesday, they might set aside time for research and so on. Keep in mind that the more you have written down the less likely you are to put your work aside in favor of cleaning the garage.
  • Make some time for fun. In one of Jack Canfield's books I learned that everyone needs a day off each week to have some fun. And while you might consider writing as "fun" there's something to be said for putting that writing aside and going out for the day.
  • Make your goals realistic. If you have a goal to publish a book this next year, make sure that your smaller goals lead you to it. You don't want to spend the majority of your time writing journalism articles, for example, if you're trying to get your book finished--especially if you're looking for a national publisher to publish it. Consider how much time this will take you in favor of self-publishing and work out your days accordingly.
  • Treat your writing like a career. One of the most full proof ways to keep you writing is knowing how you think about your writing. If it's just for fun, that's fine, but if you are looking to really get your name out there you need to treat your writing differently than an old sock puppet. You may not answer the phone when you're writing. You may decide not to answer the door. You may decide that your writing takes precedence over cleaning the bathroom. Whatever you decide, stick with it.
Organizing your writing for the new year is a little like getting ready for visitors for the holidays. There's a lot of prep work, decisions that must be made and places you must visit to gather in all that you need.

Your writing should also take a front seat.

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