Spring Cleaning the Writer’s Life!

20th April 2019 |

The adverts have been screaming at me for weeks; it’s time for Spring Cleaning. Except for advertisers, that means spending- on DIY, new sofas, carpets, outdoor seating, lights and anything for that first BarBQ of the year.

The idea of Spring Cleaning is nothing new. For many of our ancestors, the desire to get rid of the winter kicked off in March. Why? Those brisk March winds would blow the washing dry- essential before tumble dryers, dry cleaning and even mangles had been invented. And if you didn’t have a washing line, the hedges, still bare of leaves were perfect for spreading out the linen.

 March was often the best time for dusting and polishing too because it was getting warm enough to open windows and doors and the high winds would carry the dust out of the house. In the warming weather, a fire wouldn’t be needed all day and every day and you could wash the soot from the walls and furniture.

Well it’s April so I’m a bit late but I’ve got an idea about Spring Cleaning my writing life. How many of us have stories scattered in files in various draft form, not to mention novels that are half finished or again in draft form and need some focussed and attentive editing?

Perhaps you are more organised than me but I have stories that go back to 2012 and a novel that dates back to 2002. I need to go through and seriously declutter my writing life.

Task number one is to read through the novels. Are any worth saving or are they so awful they need a major rewrite, or three? Once I’ve made that decision, they can be assigned a place on a soon to be created spreadsheet with their progress, or not.

I’ll do the same thing with the short stories.

At least that will give me a chance to assess what I’ve got and when I find competitions to enter or requests for novel submissions, I’ll be in a better position to make a considered entry rather than scrabble around, tell myself I must find something to enter and end up missing the deadline because the selected story required far more polishing than I’d realised.

It will mean creating a synopsis for each of the novels. But that’s another challenge and onw I’ll return to later in the year.

So for the moment, I’ll ignore the spider’s webs in the attic and the weeds sprouting in the garden. I’ll be Spring Cleaning my files. Wish me luck. �

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