Spring Cleaning for Writers


by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

It’s spring (or very close to it) …and time for my yearly spring cleaning. I’ve never been an enthusiastic cook, but I have been a fairly enthusiastic cleaner. Somehow it helps clear my head. And, with all the emphasis on hand-washing and sterilizing stuff lately, this couldn’t come at a better time.

But it’s not only closets and cabinets and surfaces that get the spring cleaning treatment at my house: it’s also my computer and writing-related items.

Website Updates: This doesn’t have to take long. I like to make sure that my social media links aren’t broken, that my bio doesn’t need updating, and that my sidebars, header, and footer are in good shape. Is your news/events page updated (this is one that’s frequently neglected).  It’s also a good time to make sure your site includes all the recommended basics for writers.  See this article by Gill Andrews for Anne R. Allen to make sure you’re not making these 5 common mistakes. 

Social Media and Amazon Author Page Profiles:  This is another area where I make sure my bio is updated. I like to run a quick check on my privacy settings (especially on Facebook, which always seems bent on invading them).  It’s also good to review which apps are accessing my accounts. Are all my books linked to on my Amazon Author Central page?  Am I still happy with the book descriptions on my book pages?  How do the editorial reviews look now–should I add any positive reviews?

Email Inbox : This is one of those areas where I could spend an entire morning cleaning up, so I make sure I have a plan and a timer before I start.  I take a look at my newsletter subscriptions and unsubscribe to any I’ve not been opening . I look up specific senders and delete everything from those particular groups or people. I also check to see if I should set up more filters to help make my email more efficient.

Back Up Documents, Covers, and Other Important Files: We’ve all heard disaster stories. If you don’t back up regularly, do it now while you’re thinking about it. Even better, set up a system for the future.  It could be as simple as emailing files to yourself. Or you could invest in an automatic backup if you’d like to set it up and forget about it.

Organize Files:  For more info on how I take care of this task, see this post I wrote last year.  If I don’t stay on top of this process, I end up with a confusing mess on my computer of early-stage cover drafts, older and un-updated mobis and epubs, and drafts of everything from translations to outlines.

Newsletters:  Take a look at your subscribers and consider weeding out readers who have never opened your emails.  This is also a good time to check for duplicate subscribers.

Are your business cards updated?

Are you a spring cleaning nut like me? What kinds of things do you do to keep organized and decluttered?

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