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Spring cleaning for writers: Editor's Notes #38
March 08, 2023

Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition,
I resolved to write a book.

—Edward Gibbon

In this issue:

1. Spring cleaning for writers
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1.Spring cleaning for writers
I live a whisker north of the 49 parallel, the boundary between Canada and the United States, on the Canadian side. That means that at this time of year, the days are measurably longer and our thoughts turn to spring even as it is not quite here yet. Today I took three (small) bags to a charity in response to a Facebook challenge to take one bag per day throughout March. I admit that I do feel better, and I have a little extra space where the things I donated had been.

That got me thinking about spring cleaning for writers. Here are a few ideas to put you on a good path for the rest of the year.

For many of us, tax time looms. If you haven’t already, gather all your applicable receipts. If you find that you don’t have an adequate system for keeping track of your writing income and expenses, take some time to set one up. Where I live, a writer can claim expenses before there is income. Check your jurisdiction to see if this applies to you, too.

Look back at things you’ve written in the past, both published and unpublished. Can you think of a new market for some pieces? What about an update on a piece you wrote some time ago? Would that sell?

Can you find what you need? Are there places things go to die without being buried? Set aside time to create a system that works well. Include triggers that will alert you to review old material regularly.

If you have a writing space, take a close look at it. How could you improve it? Choose one task to do to make your space better, set a date to complete the task, and enter the task on a calendar.

If you do not have a writing space, could you carve one out? If you can’t do that, can you treat yourself to a mobile space? That could be a briefcase, bag, or file box dedicated to your writing.

Are you a better writer today than you were a year ago? Five years ago? How do you know?

Where you see trouble spots, investigate resources to help you to improve. Many libraries have sections on writing. Some local colleges and universities offer writing courses. Some writing groups focus on writer improvement. Consider an educative edit designed to identify unhelpful writing habits and put you on a track to improvement. (See Interesting Web site below)

My apologies to those of you on the other side of the globe where you are springing into fall. You can ride our coattails to get a jump on your own spring cleaning or save this somewhere you will find it at the appropriate time. Most of all, I wish us all the satisfaction that comes from a good tidying up.

2.Tickled my funny bone
Finally, my winter fat is gone. Now I have spring rolls.

3. Interesting Web site
The educative edit is your tutorial in writing. Using what you have written, we work together to help you break any unhelpful habits. These habits may be technical or artistic, depending on what you submit. Even the sample edit gives you a professional opinion of your writing strengths and weaknesses.

4. Writing prompt
I’ll give you the beginning. You take it from there.

Robin stared at the unexpected box that sat at the bottom of the staircase. Go down and investigate? Ignore the thing entirely and go back to bed? Call someone? But who? This was not how Robin had intended to begin this trip….

I would love to read what you do with Robin and the box.

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