Friday, February 15, 2013

Decluttering for Writers (and Other Writerly Chores)

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

file0001429590119It’s usually around this time of year that I decide that I’ve got to do some decluttering. I think that’s because it’s tax time and I’m rounding up documents and receipts.

The desk is a must-tackle because not only does it have most of the stuff I need for the tax return, it’s also full of a hodgepodge of writing-related papers that need to be sorted.

After that’s done, I usually start in with the computer.  It’s got to be done.  Usually my computer to-do list looks like this:

Back up.  Especially if I haven’t lately.  (I do back up my writing every day, but am not as great about backing up photos, etc.)

The blog.  What’s in my sidebar that doesn’t need to be there?  Are all the pages on my blog updated?  (No, they’re not, and I haven’t gotten to this item on my list yet, as is obvious!)  Back up the blog…it’s important.  I’ve known several people who have lost their blogs.

Google Reader.  I subscribe to 2,290 blogs, but sometimes I’ll need to unsubscribe to feeds.  The blogger might have moved to another blog or another provider.  The best way to clean up your Google Reader is to click on “trends” on the left hand column, and then click the tab that says “inactive.”  I click “top 40,” since I subscribe to so many.  Then I click the trashcan icon to clear out the blogs that haven’t been updated in ages.

My bio.  Yes, I’ve had two releases since the thing was last updated.  I updated it.

My website.  I do try to update my website monthly, but it also needed more updating (the new releases strike again.)

Email deleting and setting up filters and folders to organize incoming mail.  We all  get gobs and gobs of emails.  I set up folders for specific types of emails (“family,” “store ads/coupons,” “publisher,”) and set up filters for the emails to go directly into the folders. I unsubscribe to newsletters that no longer interest me.  I block and delete junk mail.

Change passwords.  Another important chore.  Getting hacked is no fun…no one wants to send spam or viruses to all their contacts.  I always stay pretty current with this chore.

Word files.  Delete old drafts of WIPs, create folders and add documents pertaining to a particular WIP to one folder.

Do you stay up-t0-date with this kind of stuff?  Or do you need to set up a special time to tackle it (like I usually do.)  What other kinds of writerly things do you organize?

Image: Morgue Fileearl53