I admit it, I haven't cracked open that 2008 Procrastinator's Calendar yet, but the new year is here anyway. There have been some wonderful articles on the web about getting organized and prepared for the new year, and I recommend every one of them. Get those receipts in order, breathe deep and cough for the tax man, and re-discover what color your desk is under all those magazines and sticky notes: all excellent suggestions. I do, however, have a few tips of my own to kick off the new year:
1. Indulge yourself. It's a new year, why not enjoy something new to spur that winter-weary muse? Go all out for a new computer if you can, but even if you can't afford something that big just yet, drop by Dollar Tree for a bright, colorful journal you can use as an idea book, a little bulletin board to keep those assignments straight (or at least to post a 'Hang in there, kitty' picture until the assignment start rolling in) or some fresh pens and pencils. Really want to kick it up a notch and boost that self-esteem? Vistaprint now offers pens with your business name printed right on the barrel, and if you get their free offers in your email, a single pen will cost just a few bucks for shipping. A cheap thrill, perhaps, but nothing beats looking down at your lovely writing instrument and seeing your own name above the word 'writer.'
2. Start a Woo-hoo folder. This is one folder you should never clean out, no matter how many years have rolled past. The recipe for a perfect Woo-hoo folder: take one colorful folder, or draw your own design on a plain manila folder. Stuff with things that make you go Woo-hoo! A nice note from an editor (one page in mine is from an editor who told me, 'I barely had to touch your article, it made my day!'), positive forum comments, even encouraging rejections. When that bad day comes along, the day when everything goes wrong and you wonder about being a writer at all, pull out the Woo-hoo folder and realize that there are more good moments than bad.
3. Print out the USPS holiday calendar. Yes, this tip is more practical than the first two, but it's one I swear by each year. In fact, I delayed this post until they had the new calendar up at USPS.com. Paypal may be a wonder in the modern writer's life, but the good old U.S. Mail still plays a part occasionally in getting paid and sending out queries; don't drive yourself crazy wondering if the mail will run on Washington's birthday, Feb. 22 (yes) or President's Day, Feb. 18 (no). I also print out postage rates and keep them next to my little old-school postal scale, but I used to work in a mailroom, so I'm a bit geeky like that.
With both the creative and logical sides set, I'm ready for the new year. Heck, I might even write something down in my new calendar. Before March.