If you’re a writer, you’ve probably got lots of projects. Stories, poems, essays, novel ideas, etc. I once had the nasty habit of starting a thousand projects, but finishing very few of them. Recently, I came up with a quick, easy way to hold myself accountable for my work. It’s a good way to motivate yourself to write, rewrite, and submit for publication.
The secret: a pack of index cards.
Label each card with the title (or working title) of one of your projects in big, bold letters. Also include a short synopsis below, so as not to confuse yourself. It helps to buy a bulletin board of some sort to tack these cards onto, but you can also just keep them in a stack on your desk. At the bottom (or the back) of each card, you might list the places you’ve targeted to submit that project to (a literary magazine, agency, or publisher).
This may sound like a chore. But it literally takes seconds per project. And so far, for me, it’s a great motivational tool. As humans, we crave organization and completion. Why do you think sudoku and crossword puzzles are so popular and addictive? If you can visually see your projects next to each other, you will be more likely to spend time with them.
Plus, it feels good to know exactly how many projects you’ve got brewing.
After a wonderfully on-the-house cup of coffee this morning, I walked through the snow to my neighborhood grocery store, where I found…wait for it…a Pepsi Superbowl display stacked with free 3D glasses. I stole a whole sheet.