How I’m spicing up my writing and managing my inbox

Well, we’ve made it past Groundhog Day. Here in the cold Midwest we’re looking at each patch of yellowish grass that emerges from the melting snow as a harbinger of spring. The nursery catalogs clogging our mailboxes feed our longing for warmer weather, and I’m getting an itch for spring cleaning.

Mind you, I’m rather lazy about scratching it, but I’m kind of itching, nonetheless.

However, there’s one area where I’ve taken some action: weeding my email inbox. The impetus isn’t so much seasonal as work related. I’m preparing to launch my first ebook and I’m writing a sales page. So to improve focus, I’m unsubscribing from ezines I never read, placing most of my Yahoo groups on “no email” status and halting the email updates from my LinkedIn groups.

Spam was never the problem. It’s immediately clear which emails sell Vi*gr* or offer introductions to Russian ladies. I can instantly delete these by tapping away on the “delete” key.

Awhile back I read a memorable story somewhere on the Internet. (That narrows it down, doesn’t it?) Anyway, a restaurant that offered a special burger with 19 herbs and spices decided to increase profits by removing a single herb (or spice). No customer complaints so they deleted another flavoring, and then another. With each elimination, the product tasted the same . . . until it suddenly tasted decisively bland.

I’m having a burger experience. There’s no single ezine or online group I miss, but the overall impact of cutting back is significant.

I used to drown in new ideas. They were springing up everywhere. I’d get out of bed each morning and scribble down notes before breakfast. New ideas would strike throughout the day. And when I sat down to write a blog entry or an article for my ezine, I’d decide between my latest brainstorm and my backlog of notes.

But for the last week or so the ideas have stopped coming. And just this morning I connected the paucity of inspiration with my reading deprivation.

So I had another great idea: I’d read more of the emails I’ve been receiving and click through on more of the links.

Then, hurrah! I had the blog idea you are reading right now.

We need ideas if we are going to write. So I’m rethinking which of the 19 seasonings I’ll add back into my reading mix.

How do you manage your email? Are you cutting back on your reading? Your results? Comments, please.

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