Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Konmari method for writers

Happy New Year, everyone! Holy hell, it's 2020. A decade ago, I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first kid. Now I'm planning his tenth birthday party. Time seriously flies and it makes me hella stressed. No one wants to blink and they're seventy, y'know?

Anyway, I saw a ton of tweets from writers bulleting their decade-long accomplishments and rather than rehash that or discuss writer resolutions or goal-setting, I thought I would talk to you today about what I am affectionately calling, decluttering for authors. Very new decade. Very Marie Kondo. And like Marie Kondo, we're going to ask ourselves if something brings us joy. And if it doesn't, we're chucking it. Because a cluttered space is a cluttered mind. And we writers need clear heads. So let's begin with my stuff.

Hey there, Alphasmart Neo. You little internet-less keyboard that I purchased on Ebay to write without distractions. I discovered you via a KBoards thread and I thought you would be the answer to my procrastination problems. Alas, you've been sitting on this shelf for years. You're much better off in the hands of someone else who might actually use you. Thank you and goodbye. 

Hello giant binders with my old manuscripts. The books have been edited and published and I'm no Hemingway. I don't need to hold onto three hundred sheets of paper and red pen notes because it belongs in a museum. Thanks for being there, but it's time to hit the recycling pail.

Oh hey, computer file folder with old drafts of short stories that bear no resemblance to the final product. And how are you FinalDraft1, FinalDraftVersion 2, and FinalFinalDraft3 files that are definitely not the final versions of anything? I think it's time you all go to the Trash. Thanks. It's been real.

And to you fancy pens, highlighters, post-it notes and notecards. I'm not sure why I thought overspending at Staples was going to help me write better or faster. I'm going to pass you along to my kids for their school projects.

And lastly, to you cheap ShopRite notebooks that I bought for ten cents a piece in late August. You, with the scribblings of a mad woman with so many ideas, you get to stay. You are chock full of notes and plot threads and characters that I intend to flesh out one day. You bring me joy. Also you are the most consistent part of my process. I can't let you go.

I've always believed that writers work best when their space is clear. Be it headspace or working space, just get rid of the stuff you don't need anymore. Condense your computer files. Delete duplicates. Chuck old manuscripts into the recycling bin unless you absolutely need to revisit your process.

Get rid of the old. And welcome new ideas and enthusiasm. And write. Butt in chair.

1 comment:

Brenda St John Brown said...

OMG - The Final Draft 1. Final draft 2. Final draft 2.5. Are you spying on my Dropbox??

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