Another New Year

stained notebook with chocolate illustrating an article for writers on New YearNew year is the time we are supposed to think about resolutions.

Some of you will be groaning because the resolution you made last year didn’t happen.

Don’t worry because most New Year’s resolutions don’t. Including mine.

I’ll be the first to admit my resolution to declutter and streamline my home office didn’t get very far.

I intended to trim down the contents of my filing cabinet and tidy it up.

It’s a big old cabinet and is quite ugly but it’s fireproof and lockable, and filled with stories, articles, unpublished books, screenplays – practically everything I’ve ever written.

The problem was that I found it very difficult to decide which materials to keep and which to throw away.

I have been writing for thirty years and still keep most of my old work.

Rooting through the dusty files I found lots of old stories that I just knew I could rework or improve. There were:

Screenplays that could be adapted as books…
Books that could be screenplays…

Radio stories that could become short stories…
Short stories that could form part of a series…

If only I had another me.

So back into the filing cupboard they went and now it’s just as full as ever.

It was the same with the books. Just because I hardly ever refer to a book doesn’t mean I won’t in future – does it?

books stacked around a door illustrating an article about writing and the New YearAlthough there is one book I didn’t have trouble getting rid of.

Like millions of others I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Her book famously advises us to throw away everything that doesn’t bring us joy.

But, to be honest the only thing that brought me joy about that book was realizing how ridiculous the premise was.

If I used joy as a criteria for decluttering I’d have very little left.

My files don’t exactly bring me joy, but what the hell else am I going to keep my papers in.

What about my laptop bag? It’s not beautiful, or magical but I need it.

What about those old DVDs and VHS tapes?

They don’t currently bring me any joy.

But, they are a record of the years I spent making short films and documentaries. If I throw them away…

Actually, it doesn’t bear thinking about. I worked so hard on them.

The same with my notebooks and stationery. Joyful?  No. Functional and necessary?  Yes.

So, in the absence of joy I have decided the best resolutions for me are the simplest.

And, the simple answer for me is to buy another filing cabinet!

Okay, it’s not exactly decluttering, but it’s practical, tidy and it works a lot better for me that consigning all that work to the bin.

So, as far as I’m concerned simple is the way to go.

One of the earliest and easiest resolutions I made worked best and if you would like to see what that was click right here.

Best wishes and good luck in your new writing year.


P.S. If you want to try some creative exercises in this new writing year click here.





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2 Responses to Another New Year

  1. Mary Rose January 13, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    Hmm you sound like me on decluttering! I have just read your making time to write advice and it is so true! Funnily enough, last week I write an ‘I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions’ entry for my January blog and in many ways the ideas are similar. I used to make numerous resolutions that were like to do lists and always ended up getting me depressed. Now I ask myself what I want to do – whether it is writing or in the garden or whatever and then outline how I might achieve them, seems much better and so like what you are suggesting!

    • Grace January 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

      Hi Mary, so nice to hear from you. I have tried so many versions of to do lists and various apps and notebooks but always end up finding my diary the easiest. I get overwhelmed by long lists and my failure to complete them just makes me feel bad and who needs that?
      The decluttering thing is one of my biggest bugbears. I want to be tidy and organized but can’t quite make it. I was complaining about my tendency to clutter to a friend and she said ‘But, Grace if you were tidy you wouldn’t be you!’
      I think it was a compliment but am not totally sure 🙂

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