Tuesday 1 September 2015

Spring into Action

It's official. Spring is here.

If, like me, you've experienced a long, hard winter, shake off both Shakespeare ('Now is the winter of our discontent') and all thoughts of G R R Martin ('Winter is coming') and prepare your Writerly Things to Do in Spring checklist. Mine looks like this:

Organise your files - really it's about version control. You might have some pearls in the early versions of stories or the soon-to-be-best-seller, but you don't need to look at them all the time. Whether electronic or paper, put the older versions into a separate folder. It will clear your workspace and your mind. It also prevents you accidentally editing the 'wrong' version, or 'losing' the changes.

Set yourself a writing challenge - if writing matters to you, no more excuses! Get on with it. Can you create 500 words every day for a week? Or write for 24 hours straight? Or write 200 words in every coffee shop in town? Or create a short story in 100 words while you're on the bus to work?

Find a writing buddy - someone who is interested in writing too, who will hold you to account, who will encourage and nourish you and tell it like it is when you share early drafts. Avoid partners/spouses/parents/children/close friends. These people are lovely, but they don't have enough emotional distance for the task.

Enter a competition - yes, everyone else is doing this, but you have to be in it to win it. At the very least you will have a new piece of creditable writing that you may be able to publish elsewhere. If are the winner, fantastic!

Dust off old ideas - take something you have set aside for a while (yes, even for years) and give it a good going over. Change the perspective, introduce a new character, find a different location, try new dialogue, create a new opening sentence or revamp the title.

See, this is why you need to have a good filing system, be prepared to set yourself a writing challenge, have a writing buddy and a competition to send the finished product to.

So spring into action - there's no time to waste.

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