Writers – Is It Time For A Tune-Up?

Catherine L. Tullyby Catherine L. Tully

Welcome to autumn! Whether this seasonal change is one you embrace or one you detest–it does offer one key opportunity–the chance to tune up your writing game.

I take the time each quarter to clean, file, update and generally organize my desk area, my computer and my contacts. It’s a great way to transition from one mode to another–which can be very helpful if you are a freelance writer.

For example, if you are pitching magazines, you’ll need to keep a running tally of queries out, queries in and query status. Or–if you have some clients you haven’t worked with in a while, it can  be a good idea to send a quick note here and there. There are always plenty of things you need to stay on top of in this career field–and setting aside the time each quarter to do some of these tasks is a smart move.

What you will do to stay organized will depend on what tasks are a part of your writing life, but some things are common to most writers. Here are a few you may want to add to your list:

  • Organize e-mail. Dump your deleted files, clean up your inbox, answer e-mails you’ve been putting off, etc.
  • Desktop detail. Delete random photos/folders, empty your recycle bin and drag icons around to organize.
  • Blog upkeep. If you write a blog, backup your site, update your plug-ins and do any other maintenance tasks your template calls for.
  • Situate your social media. Trim your Twitter account and get rid of anyone you don’t want on there. Update your LinkedIn profile and Facebook info. Schedule a few tweets and clear out your Facebook inbox.
  • Stock up on supplies. Winter is right around the corner so why not get extra printer paper, stamps, paper clips and anything else you are low on? If you live in a cold climate like I do–you’ll really thank yourself.

A quick seasonal tune-up can be a very effective way to freshen up your workspace, organize your writing world and stay on top of the game. Do you have any quarterly “duties” you attend to throughout the year? If so–please share!