Spring has sprung and traditionally this is the time of year when we get ourselves sorted – or at least try to. Yes, we get busy putting our houses, flats, vans etc, in order. A spring clean is about getting rid of old stuff, uncovering things we usually ignore, and starting afresh after hunkering down during the long dark winter. And the idea of a spring clean can be applied to your writing too – here are some ways to get started.
Dust off old ideas
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have all sorts of ideas, half-finished bits of writing, notes, character sketches, and all manner of things stashed on your computer or in notebooks – or both. Now is the time to dig in and dust off all that potential. If you’re searching for ideas or inspiration, you may find something to help. Even if you’ve got a WiP, it may also help you out there. Something you created for another story might actually go quite well in your current one.
Sorting out all the bits of paper and notebooks you’ve tucked away, also gives you a chance to transfer things online, so you can get rid (should you want to) of any stray bits of paper. Or at least know you’ve got them somewhere else in case you lose them!
Out with the old
Now, I don’t like getting rid of an idea or half-baked piece of writing just because it’s old. What I mean here is getting rid of old ways of thinking. Whatever hang-ups you may have about your writing, this time of year can be the perfect opportunity to shake them off (or at least try to). If you’ve been struggling with something, take that metaphorical bull by the horns and… talk to it rationally because we’re not in the habit of animal abuse here. You can still apply this to your writing if you need to though. If, and I mean if, something really isn’t working be it a plotline, a character arc, or even the whole damn WiP itself, it could be the time to ditch it and start again.
Try something new
It’s can be easy to slip into the habit of writing the same kind of thing, over and over. Let this be the time you shake things up and try something different. You could write in a different genre than the one you’re used to. Or you could write in a different format – if you’re usually a long-form person, give flash fiction a go. A born poet? Why not try a screenplay? Always writing fiction? Try some non-fiction (like a blog post. It may just convince you that you’re happy with what you usually write. But you could also find the start of a new beautiful writing friendship.
Freshen up your skills
All writing is learning. Every time you write you’re honing your skills. But there are ways and means to give a bit more thought to sharpen your writing skills. You could use your writing spring clean to get a few books on an area you want to work on. There are also a lot of online courses covering pretty much every aspect of writing. There are even some offline courses or workshops if you have the time to try these out. And there’s tons of free stuff around in blogs, vlogs, and the like. Just remember, of you do decide to shell out, do your research and go with reputable suppliers.
So there are four ideas of how writers can spring clean their writing. What do you think? Do you have any ideas yourself? Please share in the comments.
Ooo, that’s an interesting take, of doing a writerly spring cleaning. I’ve tried writing different genres, but for some reason, I get to chapter three and realise that I’m falling back to my old ways. Perhaps I just love the cyberpunk genre too much, lol. Anyway, nice tips here. Thanks for sharing!
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Thanks! Yes it may well be it just reminds you how much you love what you do (which is sometimes all you need)!
I love the idea of dusting off old ideas. I need to drag out my old ideas and give them a clean and get them into their own Scrivener file, I think
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