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Rejuvenating Your Writing Hard Drive
by Kathryn Lay

No, I don't mean your computer.

Sometimes the writer inside us becomes frustrated with rejections, everyday business that keeps us from our writing, and confusion over a current project. We may feel near overload, sure there's a virus somewhere in our writer's soul, or ready to just shut down.

Try these 4 ways to rejuvenate and restore your writing hard drive.


Take yourself for a long walk. If you are having trouble with a project, get away from it and refresh your body and soul. Find a park, nature center, or trail you've never been down before. Look at it with a writer's eye and a curious soul. Walk fast and get your heart racing. Walk slow and study the surroundings.

Read for fun, not research. Do you find that lately most of your reading is to stay up with the area you are writing? Is it research reading? Give yourself a break. Buy the most exciting looking novel you can. Maybe it's in the same genre you write and love, but read it for pure enjoyment. Or try something totally new.

Pull out old writing projects when new ideas seem slow in coming. You may suddenly see a fresh approach to rewriting a project you'd given up on ever selling.

Clean Out Unnecessary Files:

Is your writing area a mess? Maybe it's time to organize. File those cover letters and rejections. Make a notebook or 3X5 file box of information on markets you've stuck on your desk.

Do you have 3 years of old writing magazines stacked in a corner? Pull out articles you know you'll read again and put them in a binder or file.

Are you so busy with the demands of others that you have no time, energy or creativity left for your writing? Last year I was heavily involved in my writer's group planning programs and writing newsletter articles. I homeschooled my daughter. I was involved in activities at my church. In November I made a commitment to cut back on any area I could and say no to new ones that weren't necessary. In 6 months I tripled the amount of writing sales I made all last year and broke into some large magazines and many anthologies.

Update Your Hard Drive:

Do you keep journals? Read through them and discover your hopes, dreams, joys and sorrows. Make a plan for your writing future and find new ways to see those plans fulfilled.

Has your writing grown stale? Do you need more memory? Maybe your writing hard drive is ready to grow in new ways. Have you only written fiction in the past? Try writing magazine articles? Do you only write nonfiction? Try a short story.

Add New Software:

Sometimes our writing soul needs something new. A new challenge or new information. Take a writer's course. Read books to encourage the writer soul, such as Anne Lammott's BIRD BY BIRD or DEEP WRITING by Eric Maisel. Give yourself a writing boost with THE ARTIST'S WAY.

Join or begin a critique group.

Attend a writer's conference. Come away with pads of notes, new writer friends, and the name of an editor or agent you met.

Don't let your writer's hard drive crash. With care and creativity, it'll give you many years of productive work and bylines in new and exciting places.

© Copyright 2000, Kathryn Lay

Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through rlay15@aol.com

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