If you have not voted yet do not start reading this column. You are to immediately get yourself to a polling location.
Tension, excitement and curiosity is high around the country today as Americans vote and wait to hear the news of who will be the next president of the United States. Some of you are trying in vain to stay on task, but your finger keeps taking you to news sites to get updates and you’re having a hard time not following the updates on Twitter. There’s two ways to get past this time until the results begin to roll in and stay productive – volunteer with a campaign or organize your writing space.
It’s never too late to drop by a local campaign office and offer up your services. You may find yourself given the task of calling people to remind them of their polling location, helping at polling precincts to make the wait in line easier by handing out water and chatting people up. So how does all of this increase your writing productivity?
Sources and ideas. Writers have always sought the masses when it’s time to come up with new ideas and angles on articles and getting in there with the election crowd is no different. Where else can you find people of vastly different biographical backgrounds standing together in one place with nothing else to do, but talk to you? Fellow volunteers can also be a source of article inspiration or a resource that could be utilized at a later date.
Can you see your desk? Maybe I should be specific, can you see something besides the legs of your desk? If not it’s time to get with it. Take a day away from the laptop and organize your paperwork. Go through your ideas folder and if you don’t have one, make some up and separate them according to category. Update and fill out your editorial calendar. Compile your invoices and stubs – tax time will be here before you realize it. Sort through the tons of reading materials – magazines, trade pubs, etc. and keep only what you know you’ll need for references. Locate and catalogue your clips and test all of your pens getting rid of those that don’t work. Gather, organize and label your notes from interviews and research.
Sure this sounds like busy work, but studies show that people lose valuable working time due to being unorganized. Have you ever felt silly when an editor calls you up and asks you to check your notes on something only to have to wait for a call back while you locate them?
Getting organized will not only help eliminate time wasting piles of rubbish, it will also give you an opportunity to do another writer favorite – revisit old material. Either way, look for a productivity and inspiration boost today or at least until 7p.m.!