Does anyone else have a closet full of impulsive good intentions? I used to rush out to buy the materials for a new craft I wanted to learn, or fabric for another quilt. I signed up for a class or bought a novel I’d always wanted to read, but because I didn’t make time for the projects, I never sewed a stitch or read a line. And that is the end of it. Or is it? May I mention the guilty feelings that attacked me whenever I spotted the undone things of my life? The more clutter in my house, the less productive I am.
Now, instead of rushing willy-nilly into one more new thing, I decided to finish up some of my old projects or at least pass them on to someone who would. What a relief! Now when I open the back closet, I sense order and peace.
Surprisingly, this clean-up spilled over into the rest of my life. No more starting the vacuum only to leave it in the middle of the floor and grab the duster. No more throwing in a load of wash and discovering the wrinkled, soggy mess two days later. No more feeling guilty over a phone call unmade, or a friend needing a visit.
Let’s talk about our writing leftovers in the same context. How many of your good intention ideas are scribbled on bits and pieces of newspapers or tucked into a never-to-get-done file? Out of sight equates out of mind.
Are you a writing procrastinator? Do you waste time scrambling through those bits and pieces whenever a deadline looms? Do you cry out for inspiration, knowing it’s right at your finger tips…if you could just put your hands on it? Isn’t it time you cleaned your writing closet too?
Take an afternoon and organize all those bits and jot them down (or glue them in!) to a journal or cut and paste them into appropriate on-line files. Finish the short story you began five years ago then submit it somewhere. Add a page to that long-forgotten novel from your early writing days.
And horror of horrors…discard the rest. What? Yes, throw them out. Toss them in the garbage or better still, offer your unfinished ideas to a writing pal who likes to write about the stuff that you don’t.
Your crazy science fiction monster may be from your dreams and never one you’d write about, but Henry down the street needs a new hero for his fantasy novel. Your Sherlock Holmes look-a-like might fare better in the hands of Janie in Saskatchewan.
Do you love short stories or devotionals, even children’s stories? In short, find your writing strength and follow through on it. Don’t waste time bemoaning what you haven’t written or can’t write to save your neck. Write what you can, and do it well.
Will you still procrastinate (like me)? Yes, of course. However, as you diligently practice finishing what you start, in the genre you love, you’ll find both your mind and your home to be more orderly. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.