Monday, January 2, 2012

Spring Cleaning in January

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Le Stiratrici--Carlo Cressini-1864-1938[3]Sometimes I think I just like to be contrary.

I’m not at all fond of resolutions.

When other people are making resolutions, I tend to spring clean. And it’s January…not spring. But when it’s spring here, it’s so gorgeous that the very last thing I want to do is clean. So I start out the year cleaning, instead.

I like making goals, but I don’t really need too many resolutions. I’ll write two books by June. I have to write two books by June. No resolution needed.

When I clean up, the aftermath tends to be very refreshing and I feel pleased with myself. When I make resolutions, I tend to feel overwhelmed. Cleaning up is way better.

Since my closet organization methods are probably less than gripping to read about, here are some of my cleaning projects that are slightly more interesting:

Website update: I rarely visit author websites. Because of that, I haven’t placed my own website in very high regard. But when I noticed that Penguin had stopped using my website on promotional materials they sent out about my book launches (!), I realized I needed to do something. Clearly, since they thought my website was too awful to mention on promo!

I transferred my hosting to a free Wordpress account and, not having any design skills nor the time to develop any, I quickly set up the website to resemble a blog…which I’m more familiar with. My big thing is that I want to be able to update my website myself…that way I (allegedly) would keep it more up-to-date. :) So I set up these pages: Home, About, Books, Contact, News. I made this website as basic as I possibly could. It’s just a tool, not a work of art.

I was absolutely shocked to find that over 1,000 people had visited my website in a month. Shocked! So…clearly people do check out websites. Think about updating yours. :) The most important thing about a website is that people can learn how to reach you and how to buy your books.

Blog cleaning: After the remarkable success of my website update, I took on the blog. I only, again, wanted to do a little updating. I found that my About Me page was truly awful. So I just copy-pasted the copy I’d just written for the website over to the blog. Much better. I’d also written a couple of books since the last time I’d updated my Books page, so I updated that, too. And cleaned up some of my blogroll, which had blogs that had long since closed on it. I also cleaned up my sidebar a little (although it’s still cluttered…but hey, I’m a writer. :) Clutter goes with the territory.)

Gmail inbox: Although gmail holds a ton of emails, it really bothered me to see over 6,000 emails in my inbox. Yes. 6,000. Cleaning up was long overdue! I unsubscribed from lists that I rarely read, unsubscribed from several newsletters, and deleted a slew of emails. Some I archived into specific folders. Now it’s much more organized and I feel a lot more on top of it all.

I do plan on assessing what I want to do with the rest of my year…in June. :) That’s when I’ll probably have a little more time to look at where I am. Do you like resolutions? Or do you find other ways to challenge yourself, instead?