Wednesday, March 24, 2010

 

Spring Resolutions for Writers

Spring officially began last Saturday - somewhere around 2:10 p.m. - but it's possible that winter or the dreary doldrums still interfere with your productivity levels.

In my "neck of the woods" in the Nebraska Sandhills, the sun didn't shine for three months, and snow filled ditches and roadways since December 5. Finally, it's beginning to disappear and we've had two days of sun and warm temperatures.

During that time, though, the gloom and doom of grey skies cut my productivity. Did I meet all the New Year's resolutions I established? Most of them, but it's time to evaluate the goals.

It's not too late to set new goals, especially since spring just sprung a few days ago. Use these ideas to get your writing back on track:
  1. Begin a new project. Use the season as a springboard and kick off a new project. You'll feel an extra dose of satisfaction once you reach your goal. I plan to finish making PDF files of all my clips and have pertinent clips on my new website by June 1. This correlates with my second point.
  2. Devise a list of wants and priorities. Include items from your lists in your daily writing routine. Want to investigate a new subject? Schedule the time and use it wisely. Need to complete the revisions in your memoir? Add revision time to your calendar. I've written my lists and am scheduling my priorities and wishes around the days I'm scheduled to substitute teach. Writing has to be a priority or it will remain an idle notion.
  3. Increase "light" time. Since the weather is warming up, why not spend some of your writing time outside. The change of scenery, coupled with increased light (read that as a boost of Vitamin D), definitely will change your mood and attitude. One rainy days, turn on the lights instead of working in the semi-darkness. Watch productivity soar! I create rough drafts while I work in the yard. Scenes or articles play out in my mind and once inside, I head for the computer. I plan to spend one hour a day outside and outline new material while I'm drinking in the sunshine.
  4. Leave the office. A change in routine not only provides a break from the daily grind, but getting out of the office or your usual writing zone can stir emotions and generate new ideas. I'm schedule to substitute teach two to three days a week until the end of the school year, so the chance of developing new ideas is high. I plan to carry my notebook, camera, and digital voice recorder to capture important snippets. At school, something fascinating is bound to capture my attention!
  5. Rearrange your writing space. Spring cleaning starts with your writing space. Rearrange furniture, if possible. Don't forget to organize your computer files, too. A fresh start will rejuvenate your mind and your commitment to writing. I've already started my spring office cleaning. Once I've organized the clutter and ditched the unnecessaries, I plan to rearrange my writing zone.
  6. Seek inspiration. Read from other writers and remember what attracted you to writing. Hearing about how others struggle with the same frustrations makes the writing process that much easier. I use a writer's calendar and read the quote of the day first thing in the morning. It's my daily affirmation of why I write and why I can't imagine a life without sharing the written word.

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. It's not too late to recommit to the dusty resolutions you set nearly four months ago. Your writing - and your attitude - will thank you.

by LuAnn Schindler

Follow LuAnn on Twitter - @luannschindler or visit her website http://luannschindler.com.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

 

Writer's Spring-Greening


I know it's not quite Spring yet, but it's never too early for "Spring-Greening." That's what I like to call cleaning out my office and finding a home for all those things that shouldn't go into a land fill, or even a recycling bin. Here's how to get rid of some of that stuff you have hanging around...the green way.


ELECTRONICS:

Batteries: Some stores (like Ikea, for instance) will take your alkaline batteries for proper disposal. Also, you can recycle rechargeable batteries when they finally kick the bucket. Check out RBRC (http://www.rbrc.org) to find a drop off site near you. They also take old cell phones.

Cell Phones: Other than RBRC (mentioned above), you can take the cell phone back to the place you bought it from. Some companies, such as T-Mobile and Verizon will recycle all brands of used cell phones. If you don't have access to a nearby store, check out Collective Good (http://www.collectivegood.com), and turn your cell donation into cash for your charity of choice!

Computers: So many out-of-date, obsolete monster PCs are unnecessarily sent to land fills, but The Christina Foundation (http://www.cristina.org) will pick up any old-but-working machine for redistribution to someone who can use it. Or, if you go through computers frequently, trade in your semi-oldish computer to recycling programs such as Toshiba (http://www.toshiba.eztradein.com) or HP (http://www.hp.com/united-states/tradein). For dead computers, visit E-cycling Central (http://www.eiae.org).

Fax Machines: Sending faxes online is so much easier! If you've switched to eFax or MyFax, then list your monster space waster at Throwplace (http://www.throwplace.org) and send it in as a donation.

Ink: Did you know that the average printer cartridge can take more than 450 years to decompose? The Funding Factory (http://www.fundingfactory.com) and RecycleFund (http://www.recyclefund.com) will give you cash for empty cartridges, then recycle them! Also, many ink manufacturers and office-supply stores will take them off your hands as well.

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Tip: Another good place for getting rid of anything that may not be of use to you, but could help someone else is FreeCycle (http://www.freecycle.org). You can list the things (anything) you want to get rid of and someone will pick it up! And conversely, if you are looking for something, you can browse through their listings and request to take whatever it is off of someone else's hands.

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MEDIA:

Books: If you're a book junkie like I am, you probably have a lot of books sitting around that are taking up space--especially those ones that you thought would be good, but actually weren't your cup of tea. You can always trade them in at your local used bookstore (or thrift store), or drop them off at the library. There are also a lot of sites to exchange books. Book Mooch (http://www.bookmooch.com) is a good one, and there's also Swap Tree (http://www.swaptree.com), and many others. Do a google search for "Book exchange" and see what you come up with. You can also list unwanted volumes on Book Crossing (http://www.bookcrossing.com), a free service that alerts users to books left in public places. Pretty cool, huh?

Computer CDs, DVDs, jewel cases, VHS tapes: Recycle these through Act Recycling (http://www.actrecycling.org), a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities find work. Also, Green Disk (http://www.greendisk.com) will take any hardware lying around the office (up to 20 pounds of monitors, cords, mice, keyboards etc.) for $6.95

Paperwork: If you're anything like me, I know you have a lot of paper lying around. Clear out your filing cabinet and go digital instead! By going digital and recycling paper, take a look at the resources saved per ton of paper: 17 trees, 275 pounds of sulphur, 350 lbs of limestone, 9,000 lbs of steam, 60,000 gal of water, 225 kilowatt hours, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. Check with your city or local waste management service to find a place for parting with your paper. You can also call 1 (800) CLEANUP for state recycling information.

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It's never too late or early to start spring-greening. By de-cluttering your home office, you can simplify your life and get into the writing zone. And it feels good!

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