Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Cleaning

If you live in the northern hemisphere, signs of spring are beginning to bud. I've got tulips popping up in my garden and weeds (curse them) are starting their usual attacks. Inside I've noticed it's time (probably past time) to clear out some of the clutter and rearrange what's on the shelves.

Writing projects can get dusty too.

Take some time and bring out all those unfinished projects and take a cold hard look at them. Figure out why they're unfinished; there's always a reason. It could be you got bored; was it with the plot or with the characters? It's absolutely possible to write a boring plot; trust me, I know. Try to remember why you started writing the project in the first place, that knowledge could be enough to relight that writing flame.

A project can sit neglected in a drawer because it simply got lost in the mix. If you have had more than one manuscript going at a time, it's very easy for one to get put into last place. Get out the poor thing and take a look; it might take very little work to get it done. On the other hand, there's no shame in admitting the manuscript deserves its last place in the queue. Perhaps it should give up its place to something else.

The secret to any cleaning project is ruthlessness with your discards. When I look over my projects I try to look at them with an objective eye. I often discover that I've held onto projects which I'll never finish because I'm attached to the memories of the time I was working on it, not the project itself.

Doing a clean-out can reinvigorate you. That feeling of accomplishment will get you back to your pen or keyboard and you'll know you're actually moving ahead, not going around in circles.


  1. Cleaning? Discards? Gasp! But you're right. Sometimes you have to be ruthless.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  2. Elspeth - You are so right about going through one's collections, literally and figuratively, and deciding what to keep and what to give up. I think sometime we get so enamoured of our ideas (and our possessions) that we don't see them as objectively as we could (and should). I had that happen to me with my WIP, actually. I started it and then it got pushed aside. I dusted it off and realised why. It wasn't good. It needed some real re-working. So I ruthlessly cut out the stuff that wasn't good, fixed it, started over and now I am much happier with it.

  3. Terry; It was a dark day when I realized not *everything* I wrote was penned in gold.

    Margot; Good for you! That shows real strength of character. Why am I not surprised you were able to do it?

  4. Hey,

    yup, so true. I did a little spring cleaning of my own some few weeks back. Found this one story that was unfinished for ages and I decided to give it another whirl. I changed the ending dramatically, revised and now it's going to be published in May!

    Never thought it would go anywhere, but whaddayaknow!

    Keep it up!


  5. Marcel; Congratulations! It just goes to show, never give up - just change the ending.

  6. My, for a second I thought you wanted me to clean MY HOUSE! I´d rather pick up ANY daft plot than that.


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