Spring Cleaning for Creative Writers

Writers need to clean their work areas to diminish clutter in paper, on the computer and with their books in order to focus their energies on their art.

Spring cleaning is essential for everyone but for writers it is especially crucial. Creative writers, regardless of what genre they compose in, need to regularly sort through their papers, computer documents and their library in order to determine what they should keep and what should be cast out as unncessary clutter.

When writers clean their work spaces, they increase the likelihood of being productive, focused and motivated. An organized writing studio reflects a disciplined and attentive mind.

Organizing Paper Accumulation

Even in this age of digitalization, most writers still use a lot of paper. Whether it’s for writing drafts in longhand, for printing out or photocopying manuscripts, or for faxes and letters, the paper mounts up quickly.

Look through all the accumulated papers with a ruthless eye. Keep only the materials that are currently being worked on or that are part of planned future projects. Also keep tax receipts and key letters. Old drafts can be stored in boxes or recycled. Memorabilia can be glued or taped into a scrapbook. MaterialsĀ can also be scannedĀ and saved on the computer.

As for the rest, purchase a file cabinet. Store the documents and texts in clearly marked file folders. Make everything easy to locate to save time and energy.

Sorting Out Computer Files

Most writers today work on either a desktop or a laptop computer. Though the screen can seem much tidier and organized than paper, it too can get cluttered. Instead of saving each text document individually on the desktop, save them in file folders, also well-labeled.

If one is not currently working on them, store in the Documents area of the computer as well, for security reasons, on an external hard drive or discs. Organize the discs into an easily-accessible library. Put anything in the virtual trash basket that is simply taking up space: old, already published manuscripts, photos or video that isn’t required and individually stored letters or MSN conversations.

Clearing off the desktop will not only increase productivity, it will also speed up the operating system, diminishing the frustration of dealing with inefficient tools.

Tidying Up the Bookcase

Writers read a lot and continue to use books, as well as internet documents, for research. Pay attention to the stacks of texts piling up everywhere. Determine which ones need to be kept, which returned to the library, which dropped off at a thrift store. Also decide which books must be on the desk or around it. The other titles should be stored in a handy bookcase. Books can be shelved alphabetically or according to research interest or focus.

While cleaning and organizing, remember to make the office an enjoyable place to write in. Put a plant on the bookcase. Prop photos in frames on the desk. Add a colourful rug or other aesthetic source of comfort. Spring cleaning the studio assists the writer to re-attach herself to her place of creativity, validating her art and enabling her to focus her confidence on her manuscripts.

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