Organize To Thrive
Finally I had enough. I had to take a bit of time to organize my writing and editing space. It happens periodically and I’ve learned to listen to those feelings. The piles around me grow huge and I can’t seem to get anything done because I spend half of my time looking for a particular piece of paperwork—and finally finding it.
For several hours, I tore into my desk paperwork, sorting it into files, creating new files, and shuffling my file drawers. I came to a place where I couldn’t stuff another document into several of my drawers. I knew that much of the information in those particular drawers was dated and not in current use. It was fairly simple to sort and put things back into their place. For my writing life, I have to be organized in order to get things done. As an editor, it was the same way. I’d walk into some editors cubicles and paperwork was piled everywhere. The editor could barely get through the papers to find their computer and work on it. For these editors, they worked in chaos but I couldn’t. I try to find balance in this area and not be overly organized. One of my editor friends had each of the books on her shelf alphabetized by the author’s last name. And her CD’s? I understand they are also in alphabetical order. I’m definitely not that organized!
For a fascinating book on this topic for writers, I recommend The Writer’s Desk by Jill Krementz (Random House, 1996). (If you follow the link, I don’t know why a used copy is $75 when it originally retailed for $35. Maybe track it down through your local library.). With a single photograph and a small bit of information, you visit some of the best-known writers of our time like Kurt Vonnegut, E.B. White, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Roy Blount, Jr., George Plimpton and many others. The book provides a fascinating glimpse into their work space and habits.
After a few hours, I completed my office transformation. Everything isn’t perfect but enough of it is under control that I can easily continue on different projects and move ahead. It felt good to shuffle around the files and rein in a bit of the chaos in my working space. I’ve learned that I need to organize to thrive.