I never know what to call this part of the calendar. What’s happening next? Where do we go from here? The religious ones amongst us will probably be tutting, and shouting ‘Pentecost’ at their screens but although I’m no slouch when it comes to Godly things, somehow, a writer needs something more descriptive to sum up the next few months, when everything starts to seem possible after the long, dark winter and even the rejection slips don’t seem so bad. The Romaniacs are asking for your help here, so put on your thinking caps and give us your words of wisdom…
It’s a strange time of year. I’m writing this on Sunday night, so writers who are also parents will be sending the little treasures back to the chalk face tomorrow for a reality check and might be dancing a happy jig at this moment. The thought of a peaceful house and the chance to be at the computer/notebook for more than ten minutes without the need to whip up endless snacks and drive around the countryside as chief entertainments officer is bliss. The rest of us will probably also have at least a touch of spring fever. It might only show itself in a vague tendency to feel new term-ish and sharpen pencils, or the urge to clean out the odd cupboard or even in the need to run around the garden throwing things into the brown bin and muttering ‘Delphiniuns? Geraniums?’ under your breath. It could be more serious and involve B&Q, turps and swearing.
Whatever you call this slice of the year, it’s usually a time of new beginnings. So why am I still sitting here at my writing table, surrounded by heaps of paper, having just poured a beer when I vowed to make my body a temple for the next, erm…week or so? With this problem in mind, here are some of our top tips for seizing the moment and kick-starting your spring writing programme:
Clear your desk. Yes, the whole lot. That means everything off, a can of Pledge at the ready and a brutal glint in your eye. Only put back what you need – the other essentials can go somewhere handy, maybe in a drawer or in a basket under the desk. The sight of that bare surface smelling of polish…oooh, I’ve gone all peculiar.
But some new stationery. It might be a set of gorgeous felt tips to help you make notes and to plan your WIP, or a crisp notebook to jot down your latest brainwaves and inspirational lines. Put the pens in a fabulous chunky pot on your (newly cleared) desk. Take a photo. You’re well on your way now.
Sort out the files on your computer so that your WIP is the handiest to find, and any unfinished pieces are easily get-at-able. Then you can sit down and begin immediately at the next window of opportunity. Oh, get me – more cheesy by the minute. But a well-organised documents section will make you feel very smug. In a good way.
Make a list of all the writing tasks you’d like to complete in the next few weeks/months. Check out competitions for short stories, poetry, novels online and in magazines. Someone has to win. Maybe it’s you this time? No, not maybe – of course it is.
Get yourself some writing support. It could be a writers’ group near you, an online forum, or a group of like-minded friends. If you can’t find one, think about starting your own. If we can do it, anyone can! Whichever way you do it, the right sort of writerly friends can keep you on track, give you a kick up the backside when necessary and love you even when you think everything you’ve ever written is a complete waste of space.
What are your own tried and tested tips to start the spring writing programme?
And please – does anyone have a better name for ‘That Bit After Easter?’