Monday, February 01, 2010

Need Inspiration--Clean out your file folder.

I lost nearly all of last week to Mail Server problems. Still not resolved, btw. My PC has been acting a little wonky lately. While annoying, these situations remind me technology is not infallible. Qlitches or wormholes or warps, or whatever proper term you use, can suddenly wipe out everything you worked years to establish.

Today is Roll up Your Sleeves Day here at Joy in the Journey. My goal first thing this morning was to backup my files and do a little housekeeping in the process. You know, delete old files, combine virtual duplicates, and reorganize into a more efficient system. What I didn't expect was all the nearly abandoned and forgotten files languishing in my hard drive, screaming for my attention.

If you've been pursuing this writing gig for more than a year or two, your Documents File probably looks the same way. Like me, you might've experienced an epiphany at the grocery store or overheard a conversation or woke up from a dream and thought, "Wow, that's the best idea for a book I ever had!" As a good writer, you opened a new file while the episode was fresh in your mind and recorded every word and nuance. Weeks passed and more ideas came and the family needed fed and laundry piled up, and you forgot about that fabulous book just waiting to be written.

My Documents folder is filled with such files named "NOTES", "BEGINNINGS" or "IDEAS". Just someplace to record these ideas that will assuredly become the next Great American Novel if I can just get around to writing the thing. I don't need to buy books or read articles on writing prompts. My hard drive is full of them. All I need to do is open up one of those Documents and get to work.

So that's my goal for today. Open a few of those files. Rediscover why I thought they were worth recording in the first place. Organize, prioritize, add notes and delete what will only serve to slow the story down.

The last few months I have focused my energy on blogging, networking, articles, and short stories. While I enjoy this necessary aspect of the writing life, my focus should remain on my novels. That's where my heart is.

I read a quote not long ago: If you chase two rabbits, both will get away.

I highly recommend you backup your files right now before you get distracted with all the busyness of a new workweek and a new month. Don't put it off. Most importantaly, don't rely solely on automatic backups. The best part about doing it manually is you will see firsthand all the marvelous ideas you've written and forgot about. Who knows? One of them might just be your next bestseller...or your first.

Happy hunting.

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