New Year Resolutions for Writers: Clear the Clutter

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19 Dec

New Year Resolutions for Writers: Clear the Clutter

Once again, I find myself at the close of one year and the opening of another. I am in the middle of a time for self-evaluation. I reflect over the last year’s successes, as well as its disappointments. Certain events, I find, took me by surprise, while others happened after careful planning or lack thereof.  I look at what didn’t go well and ask myself if or how I could have done things differently in order to achieve a better outcome. Then I think about goals to set for myself for 2017.

A certain phrase keeps repeating in my head after my current evaluation: Clear the clutter. This applies as much to my writing as to the rest of my life.

Here are some practical goals I believe we all could strive to reach in order to write with clarity, purpose, and passion in the coming year:

1. Clear out a sacred space. Who likes to sit down in a cluttered workspace to try and write something significant? With all the stacks of books, piles of papers, unopened junk mail, and dirty coffee mugs spread all over the place, no wonder I struggle to focus. Imagine how inviting a clean, organized space could be, just beckoning me to settle in and write for hours on end.

2. Declutter my social calendar. Most everyone loves to live an active, vibrant life. But sometimes our seasons change, and if we don’t let go of activities that no longer fit, we won’t find time to add new opportunities or chase after things that stir our passions. Too much activity leaves us feeling run down and can zap our energy to write.

3. Claim the white space. While talking about the calendar, once necessary commitments fill up their spaces, claim the white space that remains. Schedule time to write. Schedule it until it becomes an automatic part of your life. If you don’t claim that white space, life will happen and claim it for you.

4. Empty your inbox. Though clearing your e-mail inbox will feel liberating, I’m referring to the inbox of your mind–all the thoughts and ideas that occur to you at random times throughout the day (and night). If you’re like me, I get so many ideas I become overwhelmed, knowing I won’t have time to get to them immediately. I’ve found the easiest way to combat this is to have a notepad. Later, when I have time to write, I’ve got a slew of ideas to choose from.

I believe our ability to write with more focus, clarity, and passion in this coming year could be as simple as decluttering and clearing a few obstacles out of our way.  I hope this helps you as you look at the year ahead!

Rachelle D. Alspaugh

Rachelle D. Alspaugh writes both poetry and prose. Her heart beats for missions, travel, and leading women's Bible studies. To discover more of her work, please visit her website at

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