Spring cleaning…a chore or a pleasure? A time to restore or a time to clear out the old nest and weave a new one? The birds frequenting my backyard have no trouble doing the work, but we humans often need a nudge.
Over the past two months, I’ve evaluated the incredible accumulation of ‘stuff’ in our drawers and closets, weighing what I have to have and what I can live without. Only makes sense to do the same with the clutter of my writing life.
My first step was to revisit all my thumb drives, tidy up my poetry folder, add and clarify ideas, and, on occasion, jettison what no longer works. Make no mistake, it’s not easy killing those darling phrases or bidding adieu to that storyline I was certain would find a home in a new piece of writing. It’s never easy letting go. Sometimes, the hardest part is hitting the delete button. A careful push from a practiced hand can make the difference in moving ahead or remaining stuck in the mud.
So, it was a pleasure to find a piece by Jessica Stawser, acclaimed author of FORGET YOU KNOW ME and A MILLION REASONS WHY, on this very topic. In an article titled 7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Writing, Strawser lays out a concise plan for doing what the title suggests…giving your writing a good cleanse. The first of the seven is a step I have been exploring during my own cleaning spree. I scroll through the files and folders, examining those old lists of possible essays, poems, and storylines, trying to decide which are still viable and which have passed their expiration date. Here is step 1 of Strawser’s suggestions:
“Dust Off An Old Idea
If you’re like me, you have at least a few random “ideas” files, and you’re always adding to them. But how often do you open them up and spend some time in there, just for the sake of looking around?
Sometimes the best “new” ideas come from looking more closely at something that caught your eye or came to mind a long time ago, when you weren’t quite ready for it. When you didn’t know what to do with it yet—and now, magically, you do.”
Thank you, Jess! It’s always good to find vindication for what I’m doing. 🙂
In addition to finding a starting point, one of the best things about growing your writing network is the opportunity to share those gems of advice and craft to assist you as you write. So, here’s the link to Jess’s piece, a thoughtful list of actions that is certain to jumpstart at least one cleaning frenzy:
Well, I’ve spent enough time talking about the annual ritual…now it’s time to get to work. Happy cleaning!