Sep 3, 2008

Let’s Get Organized!

If I want to be a more productive writer, then I have to be able to find my files and notes to work with. But the problem with getting things organized is that you have to keep it up on a regular basis, otherwise you end up with just as big a mess as you started with. Well, maybe not quite as big, but a mess nonetheless.

I’m sure it would help if I didn’t wait until stuff (books, papers, etc) was stacked up so high there should be an avalanche warning posted. It would probably also help if I didn’t feel the need to redefine my organizational system when it gets to that point. One of these days maybe I’ll get it right!

I used to have two four-drawer metal filing cabinets in my office to hold all my files. My writing took up one drawer. The rest were filled with information, articles and junk. A couple of years ago I "re-did" my office and got rid of those metal monsters (they were replaced with two wooden two-drawer cabinets an several hard plastic file boxes that can be stored in a closet).

I’m a reformed pack rat. I used to save everything. I’d like an article in a writing magazine? Not only would I buy the magazine, I’d photocopy the article for my files. I’d cut up National Geographics for my files. I’d cut up newspapers and magazines for my files. I’d print stuff off the internet for my files. I save every draft and every change to every story I’ve ever written.

Of course that was the old me. The new me is more reasonable, but she’s still just a little disorganized. I have probably two dozen files marked "miscellaneous" that I would like to see gathered together in one place instead of scattered through various boxes and drawers. You never know what gems might be in there. And instead of having my notes, notebooks, and drafts for my current projects spread out all over the place I would like to have them close at hand.

Perhaps having "get organized" at the top of my priority list seems like a cop-out, but for me it’s a necessary step on the road to becoming a more productive writer.

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