It’s time to initiate one good writing habit. Initiate is an action verb. Meaning we have to actually do something.
Let’s take a hard look at your writing lair. Is everything organized and ready to find when you stumble into your writing space at Oh-dark-thirty in the morning? (Thank you, Jeff Goins!) Or are you forced to shift piles of research material from your chair, catch a stack of magazines as they slide over the edge of the desk, and move three coffee cups and a stale sandwich crust before you can dig your laptop out of the mess?
Well, today’s your day to initiate a success habit that’s going to hurt you more than it will me. No, really. You’re the one who’s going to be doing the heavy lifting.
It’s time to clean up and organize your space so you can never again whine about how it takes forty-five minutes just to get started writing in the morning, and by then the kids are up, and the toaster won’t work so you have to stand over the stove burner with slices of bread on a fork…
No more, I say. I’m going to sit back and watch as you sweep through your workspace like those little cleaning bubbles. Clean, clean, clean.
Take all those notes for the novel about the galaxy jumpers and put them in a clean manila folder. Label it appropriately. Place it in a desk drawer. You haven’t really jumped into that story yet, so close at hand is better than underfoot.
Now, do you see the fifty or sixty sticky notes with names of publishers currently seeking manuscripts? Yeah, get all the stickies with the details on writing contests. Stick all of them to a few sheets of paper and place those papers in another folder. At your first opportunity – outside writing time, that is – you’re going to enter them into a database so you can track them by publishing house, genres represented, and deadlines.
All the magazines you’re saving because you just know that one day you’ll want to re-read that article on writing stories about clowns who are afraid of rubber noses, but you can’t remember which magazine it was in – they go in a neat stack on the bottom of the bookshelf. Give yourself two weeks to read them, and either save the important articles or donate the magazines to the library.
All the papers left on the desk and floor are the editing printouts for the novel you are working on. Place them in a special binder. One that makes you feel excited about sitting down and working on edits each afternoon. Maybe the one with the Special Edition Harley on the cover. The one that’s leveling one leg of the printer table. Your son hasn’t missed the folder yet. It’s not likely he will anytime soon. Place it on the upper corner of your desk. Right side or left side. Your choice. (See how easy I am to get along with?)
Dust your newly discovered desk surface; place your laptop in the middle of it.
Waltz out to the kitchen with all the dirty dishes and moldy food you’ve dug out of the carpet. Hum a peppy tune, do a little of that old soft-shoe while the coffeemaker sputters out the last drop of a fresh new pot. Pour a cup, take a sip, and sigh with pleasure.
Now get yourself back into your fresh new workspace and create something exciting. While you’re at it, you might want to create a maid to keep your space this clean. I’d hate to have to go through this with you every morning when you show up for work.
Oh yeah… Initiate sequence… Write!