News room: How to Spring Clean Your Writing

How to Spring Clean Your Writing by Jessica Barrah

It’s Spring! Time to throw open the windows and clean out the cobwebs – not just from your house but from your writing. We give you some tips for tidying up, or even turning over a new leaf for the new season.

1. Get Your Files In Order

Have you got a thousand and one drafts of your writing? Have a good look at the files on your laptop or PC – and make sure you know which version is which.

a) Rename them with the date they were written in the file name, and put them all in one folder, or remove out-of-date versions altogether.

b) Do keep back-ups on a hard drive, flash drive, cloud service or email them to yourself. Keeping multiple back-ups means that if something disastrous happens to your computer, you’ll still have access to all your work. Also save copies of older files before you remove them from your computer. You may have chopped out sections of your work – and then decide later that actually, those chapters need to go back in or could be reworked.

2. Print Out Your Work

Printing out the pieces you’ve been working on is a good idea in general. It’s more tangible than just files on a computer. Seeing your words on a page somehow detaches you from the writing, making it easier to evaluate your work with fresh eyes.

a) Remember to add page numbers, and add a header or footer with the date, so that you can identify which draft it is in the future.
If you have more than one book project, separate them into files or ring binders.

b) Get yourself a big red pen, as you can edit it more easily, and ruthlessly when it’s printed out.

c) Evaluate where you are with the project – you may have more pages or less than expected. Seeing it ‘in the flesh’ you can better imagine how it will actually look as a book, which sections look complete and which sections need fleshing out. You can print a low cost proof copy with CompletelyNovel to see just what it will look like as an end product – and what changes you may need to make. Click here to check on our print calculator how much a proof copy would cost.

3. Make A Plan Of Action

What do you need to do to complete your book?

a)If you’re at the beginning of the process, make a chapter plan and synopsis, to map out what’s going to happen in your book, and get it clear in your own mind.

b) Maybe you’ve been writing your book for a while, but still have a lot of the first draft to complete? Print out and evaluate your manuscript, (as above) and then make a plan of action for finishing it. Annotate your chapter plan to see which parts need work, and which are done.

c) If you’re at the editing stage, work out what you need to do to publish your book. Who might you need to help? Do you need to contact editors, proof readers, book cover designers? You can get your book typeset with us, and we can also design you a cover. See the services we offer here. You can find editors and proof readers on our People We Trust page or if you’re on a low budget, you could ask friends and family to help.

d) If your book is basically ready to go, then congratulations! Now it’s time to print proof copies with us, and map out your marketing plan. Decide exactly how you’re going to launch your book to make it a great success. Find tips on our advice pages.

Timetable Your Writing Sessions

Don’t spend too much time at the planning stage. Unless your manuscript is ready to go, you do still have to finish actually writing your book!

a) Get into a regular writing schedule – preferably writing every day. Now that the mornings are lighter, it’s easier to get up an hour early, and write before the rest of the world wakes up. Then you can feel smug that you’ve already done your writing for the rest of the day.

b) If you aren’t a morning person, then map out when you’re able to write during the week – and stick to it.

We hope these tips are helpful – and look forward to helping you get your books published this Spring!

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
Published on
Writing, Authors, Self-publishing, Publishing, and Spring