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New Year’s and writing plans

I’ve written elsewhere about why “productivity tricks” often don’t work for me with my writing (or with anything else I do, for that matter). So, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions and I don’t set specific writing goals either.

But I am thinking, right now, about what I’d like to be doing with my writing this next year. It’s partly the New Year, but probably more that I’ve had my first downtime in a long while over these past few weeks. I’ve finally had the time and energy to think about writing: what needs finishing as well as what comes next.

For this reason my idea file has been growing like crazy this past week. I thought I’d written about the idea file before, but I can’t find the link so perhaps I never have. Basically, it’s just a file into which I stick anything that strikes me as being the root of a story. And by anything I really do mean anything – there are fleshed-out story plans in there, and links to news articles, and random phrases I like the sound of, among other things. I used to do this on paper (and I still sometimes do) but my habit of simultaneously using many notebooks meant I lost a lot of ideas. So it’s a word doc on my computer these days.

This isn’t an original idea. I’ve heard of numerous other people who do this in some way or another. But it’s genuinely one of the most useful habits I’ve ever acquired. When I’m trying to get started on a project, I go to the idea file. When I’m attacked by a shiny new idea, it goes in the idea file. When I’m stuck and need a little inspiration, I go to the idea file. And when I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish in the New Year, I – you got it – go to the idea file.

After such a slow year, in which my time was gobbled by many non-writing tasks, it feels very good to have a growing idea file 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone – best wishes for 2017.

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