Sunday, April 07, 2024

Is It Time for Spring Cleaning?

By Terry Whalin

I love the freshness of spring. Baseball season starts. We freshen up our place from the trials of winter and plant flowers for spring along with other activities. The darkness of winter fades and we celebrate the newness of life with new growth and flowers.

As I ask in this article, is it time for spring cleaning? Ive found that the more Im organized and block different parts of my schedule, then it increases my productivity and output. As Ive mentioned in past entries, almost daily books pour into my mailbox. In general, I unpack them and put them on my bookshelf but over the last few weeks the area for this book has filled. As a part of my spring cleaning, I sorted through some books and took a hard look at each one. Do I have the time to read it? I will look at a few pages and see if the writing is going to hold my interest. If “no” is the answer to these questions, then I remove the book from my shelf and get the books ready to go to a good home elsewhere. This book sorting process is a necessity to organize my office several times a year including spring. 

Creating a Pile Doesnt Work

Like my bookshelves, I do the same evaluation process with the papers on my desk. From my experience, it doesnt work to take a piece of paper or a stapled article and put it into a pile. Instead I have developed a system to know exactly where Im keeping that article and why Im keeping it. 

I admit every author is different in this area. One of the most prolific writers was Ray Bradbury. Recently an article about Bradbury came across my screen with a photo of his office with piles of paperwork. This novelist created a different system for organization which worked for his writing life. My encouragement is for you to create a working system for how you organize your desk, paperwork, books and other tasks so you continue moving forward each day. 

If You Are Stuck in a Rut...

I have a couple of projects which have been stuck on my desk and have not moved--which is a problem if I want them to get published. Ive been stuck in a rut and proscratating on this work. I suspect you have a pitch or two which is also stuck. Spring cleaning is a great time to plot and take a new course of action. 

First determine what you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase your speaking? Do you want to sell more books? Do you want to publish more magazine articles? To achieve these goals, you have to take action and increase the amount of your pitches. Maybe you want to be on more podcasts or radio shows? These programs can be an effective way to sell more books and dont require travel or other elements. The key to booking a radio broadcast or a podcast is pitching to the decision maker?  Craft your pitch and even use a pitch template from someone else if you need some ideas. Then get these pitches into the world. 

When you pitch, you will get turned down (rejected). This process happens to all of us including me. As Ive written in these articles in the past, you are looking for the right fit and this process involves getting a number of rejections before you get acceptance. Learn what you need to do from others, then continually pitch. It sounds simple but takes consistent effort for it to actually happen. 

When You Havent Received a Response

Spring is a great time of year to do follow-up work where your pitches went into a black hole without a response. Did the other person receive the pitch? As editors and agents, we lose things and they get stuck in our email and never processed. I encourage you to use the gentle follow-up approach to prod that other person. Many writers are afraid to follow-up then they wonder why nothing is happening. One of the critical steps for every writer is to follow-up. 

Heres some other ideas and approaches for your spring cleaning:
Each of these actions will take effort on your part as a writer but could yield great results. As Ive written in the past, it will not fly if you dont try and try on a consistent basis. 

Each of us have the same amount of time or 24 hours. How you use that time will affect your results. Is it time for you to take some spring cleaning actions? Let me know in the comments.

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