Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning for Writers: 6 Tips to Help You Get Organized

This may seem like a no-brainer, but writers have to be organized. It's spring and everyone is thinking about their annual housecleaning and planning their gardens for the summer, etc. Now is the perfect time to get your writing life organized before you get too busy soaking up the sun outdoors.

1) Do you have any outstanding submissions?

If you have pieces beyond the normal response time, think about sending a letter to check on the status of your submission.

2) What are your writing plans for the next few months?

Consider gathering all the notes you jotted down and putting them to good use, instead of letting them serve as coasters for your coffee mug. It's easy to word process them and store them in files on your computer.

Here's a great blog article on another organization technique that may come in handy for you:


You can also purchase a digital recorder that's compact and with easy to access to files whenever you them. They're also lightweight and can be taken on vacation.

A few reviews on different recorders can be found here:


Software is also an option, like Scrivener 2.0, a word processing program. You can find a review of it here on Kathryn Pope's blog. The article is from January 31, 2011, entitled: Writing Through Life: Scrivener (like Bartleby, only different):


Scrivener looks to run around $45 on this site:


3) Have you updated your writing information on any forums/groups you have joined and your own site, if you have one?

Make sure your bio and writing credits are current. It's also a good idea to have your bio and writing credits saved electronically to pull as needed for submissions, interviews, and anything else.

4) Have you checked your links on your site/blog to make sure they work?

This can be tedious, but it's necessary. There's nothing worse than trying to share information that doesn't exist anymore with a reader.

This is an older article on why checking links is important, but it's still relevant:


This tool will check all your links for free and save your sanity:


5) Manage your computer files. If you haven't invested in a portable hard drive to backup your writing, I suggest you get one. I back up all my work to a portable drive so that if anything happens, I still have a copy. Portable hard drives have really come down in price and there are always great deals, if you shop around.

Here's a list of reviewed drives from CNET to help you make an informed purchase:


You can also backup your computer with online services for a fee. PC Magazine has an article reviewing some of the services out there:


In addition, if you don't have dedicated folders on your computer for your writing, you might want to consider it. I usually have one folder for the current year I am writing in; all my writing goes in that folder. Then I don't have to hunt for a file when I want to work on it; it's also easier to transfer just one folder from my computer to my portable hard drive.

6) Now is also a great time to organize your bookshelf and make room for new books.

Keep your favorites, but consider donating ones you aren't keeping to a local library or charity or book swapping with friends on sites like Goodreads.com. You can also sell magazines and books at used bookstores like Half Price Books in your area, but the magazines have to be current. Recycle your old ones that you can't sell in an art project or two. My blog article about recycled book art might come in handy here!

Happy organizing!

As always, happy writing and happy reading as well!

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