Thursday, August 23, 2007

SPRING CLEANING (Originally posted to the Five Star Author Blog)

Every year at this time, like so many others, I start thinking of doing my spring cleaning. For me though, spring cleaning always involves more than my house, the biggest job for me is cleaning - or cleaning out - my computer harddrive.

I'm a messy writer. Now I'm not talking about leaving scraps of paper and pens and pencils around my home office. I write almost exclusively on computer so the mess I'm referring to literally occurs on the harddrive. That's probably why it gets so out of hand, the mess isn't readily visible - no piles of papers littering the floor of my office for me to trip over.

When I'm writing, or thinking about what to write, I journal and brainstorm ideas on characters, plot, setting etc. If a line of dialogue or a scene comes to me, I make a note of it. Recording my thoughts this way is a process that helps me develop my fiction and non-fiction and lets me see what an idea looks like on screen, rather than just inside my head. It's a process that works well for me. What results from this process, however, are hundreds of notes that are not in any order. To organize them, I read each one and either discard it for not being the gem I thought it was when I wrote it, or decide it still has potential and file it for easy reference at a later date.

Spring cleaning my harddrive takes a l-o-n-g time and I usually end up discarding more notes than I keep, but doing it takes me back to ideas I'd had and then forgotten about, bringing them once again to the forefront of my mind. When I find a note that sparks an adrenaline rush, and gets my heart pounding, I know I've just found the next book or short story that I'm going to write. And of course, I now have a clear harddrive that I can spend the next year filling with ideas again!

How is your spring cleaning going this year?


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