Ready for the secret to weight loss without dieting? Here it is.
Clean out your desk.
I spent 2.5 days going through every single file folder in both my desk and my credenza. Old research for articles long since published? Toss. Book marketing and promotion info I tore out of magazines and printed off-line then lovingly stuck in a three-ring binder for future reference and then neglected to ever look at? Gone. Papers on old classes I took, workshops I taught and random bits of intriguing info I stuck away in the hopes I'd return to them later? Gone, gone, gone!
The feeling of releasing all the old stuff is really quite freeing. Over the years, I've kept client files on everyone I've ever worked with, which isn't a bad idea if you think you'll work with them again in the future. But I sat down this holiday season and had a nice heart-to-heart with myself and what I decided is that all of the stuff I threw out represents not the writer I want to be, but the writer I guilt myself into thinking I should be. The one who takes on assignments because she's scared she won't be able to make money doing what she really loves, which is writing books.
So I ditched it all. I decided that every scrap of paper or file folder I hold on to that doesn't relate to authoring books serves the unhappy purpose of reminding me who I am NOT. Instead, I'm choosing to surround myself only with those things that remind me of who I want to be.
The top drawer of my file folder credenza is now filled with the novels and stories and book ideas I've pushed to the back over the years. The notes for the young adult novel I've had stewing in my mind for six months are out on the writing desk, alongside fresh sheets of notebook paper and an array of pens. Having lost all that was unnecessary, unimportant, or draining to the psyche, I literally feel ten pounds lighter.
How about you? What are you holding onto due to fear or guilt that maybe, just maybe, you could let go of?
Here's to a lighter New Year!