No, I’m not going to discuss taxes or finances, although they might be good topics for future posts. Today’s tips concern the writing life. Here’s what I need to keep in mind at this busy time. Maybe you do, too.
1. Hold a year-end clearance. Now that my teaching semester has ended, I’m immersed in my semiannual clutter-busting battle. As soon as I turned in my students’ grades, I recycled every piece of paperwork from this semester. I’ve significantly reduced the piles on my desk, but I still have a long way to go. The end of the year is a good time to make space for new work.
2. Take stock of your inventory. Did you accumulate new story ideas by participating in PiBoIdMo? Have you written a new draft of a novel through NaNoWriMo? Or do you have half-baked manuscripts piled up willy-nilly around your workspace and scraps of paper falling out of your pockets like I do? Gather everything up in a file folder, basket, or shoe box. Sort through the stack and see what you have on hand. You might be surprised by a nugget or two of pure gold. (I'm hoping!)
3. Prioritize. Which projects call to you the loudest? What subjects tug at your heart? Put those at the top of your To-Do list. Buck up, kiddo. The hardest thing to do with some of these projects is to let them keep hanging over your head. Make 2014 the year to tackle what’s most important to you.
4. Protect your assets. You are your own best resource, and you cannot produce when your gas tank runs dry. Get outside and fill the well! I tend to put off making appointments till the end of a semester, slap my forehead, and schedule everything at once—which is why I’ll get my hair cut and visit the dentist this afternoon. I’ve scheduled a physical for next week. Then there’s that exercise plan. . . .
5. Believe in the power of positive thinking. It’s hard to create when grudges weigh you down. I’ll be forever grateful for the family and friends who buoyed up our family during one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced. Let that kind of memory influence your outlook.
JoAnn Early Macken