Getting Organized

Writers are usually pictured in two different ways: very messy because they’re more interested in the creative process than keeping their work area clean; or, extremely neat and tidy where everything is organized and in its place.

I fall somewhere in the middle, leaning a little to the messy side. I prefer the neat and orderly, but with the little work space I have, and the increasing amounts of paperwork I go through and the research materials I accumulate, I find it difficult to keep myself as organized as I’d like. This summer, though, I need to make it a priority to GET ORGANIZED.

Here’s is the list of what I intend to do:

1) Go through, sort, and file paperwork at least twice a week. In fact, I need to mark it on my calendar so it gets locked into my schedule.

2) Make backup files of all my projects. I have followed the example of one of my writer friends to send a file copy of that particular project to another e-mail address. In case of a computer breakdown on my end, my data will be stored in another system. I need to be more consistent on doing this, particularly as I work on rewrites.

3) Buy a new desk. I have my eyes on a corner desk that I’ve been wanting to purchase that will keep my area (hopefully) a bit more organized. It comes with some storage space that will eliminate a few of my files. My old desk will go into the boys’ room to use for their computer.

4) Reorganize my bedroom. My “office”, which is really a very small corner of my living room, can’t handle a whole lot without making the rest of the room look messy; so my bedroom has become an overflow room for my research materials. I need to revamp that area, seriously go through books and get rid of the ones I don’t need (a sad affair as a book lover, but necessary), and figure out the best filing system for the items I will need to reuse for various projects.

5) Don’t procrastinate. Make time, even if its thirty minutes a day, to reorganize.

Will I become the super neat and organized writer with everything in its place? I doubt it, but most importantly I will feel better about how things look. Now where did I put that story idea I wanted to work on…?

3 Responses

  1. I think the regular cleanups are really essential but one other thing you can do is change your daily system slightly. I used to create clutter on my desk because of things that I would like to get to but didn’t have time to right at that moment. . Invariably they would pile on my desk without getting looked at. Then in my monthly cleanups, I would find them rather dusty at the bottom of a growing heap of paper.

    My new system has me deciding whether I would address it that day – and if not, file it in a separate folder (to do or to review). The To do I would get to eventually. The “to review” I might not ever get to. In this way, I could keep my desk organized on a daily basis. Just like getting rid of graffiti in NY helped reduce crime, if your desk looks organized, it encourages you to stay organized.

  2. Great advice. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great advice from both of you!

    Catherine, if you could see my desk, you would know I need to take your advice. I think this nudge is what I needed. I’m going to concentrate on my office for a couple of weeks (it will take at last that long!) instead of writing.



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