Organize

As writers, most of us spend many hours a day in our home office. It pays to keep it as attractive as possible. For it to be attractive, we have to rid ourselves of those piles and piles of books, files, magazines, etc. It’s often necessary to have another set of eyes to help in that organization.
Today my office is as organized as it will ever be, thanks to a helpful daughter who happens to be a neat freak. With so many different types of writing to work on each day, I knew that not only did my office need a major make over, so did my work schedule.
Where we began was to add cube storage to one complete wall. There I filed magazines, historical journals, old newspapers, photographs and the like, well marked for searching. The newspapers are in date order and the subject matter of topics I entered into a very simple data program on my computer. You can find simple programs like MyDataBase at most office stores. If I need information on a specific historical person, place or occurrence, it is much easier to find if I don’t have to rifle through every newspaper in every box.
Next, I set up a four-drawer file cabinet to contain writer information in the top two drawers, such as handouts and lectures for workshops and conferences divided into topics as well. The next drawer contains copies of interviews I’ve done over the years, divided into different locales which I cover in my columns. This makes it easy to locate a specific piece of information quickly. Letters from readers with further information on columns written are also included in that drawer. The bottom drawer contains articles of interest I’ve ripped from magazines before tossing them. This saves space when the majority of the magazine doesn’t have anything of interest to me. Others I keep in magazine storage boxes.
We combed through all my books, taking out those that had gathered too much dust. Must not need them or I’d be using them. Donated them to members of our writers group, and that left room for more recent purchases that had been stacked on the floor.
Near my desk I put an open cube storage box that contains all the information I need consistently for my weekly and monthly historical columns, such as maps of the area, post office and school listings from the past, etc. It’s best to keep things close at hand, but my daughter has taught me piles are out, files are in.
When you’re crowded for space, as most of us are, it’s wise to look around and try to find ways to conserve. For instance, the CD tower took up a lot of room. She bought a large notebook for CDs and we got rid of all the jewel cases, filing all my music in the notebook. I will soon do this for CDs pertaining to writing: programs, backups, etc.
Sometimes it take another set of eyes to see where we can economize and organize and neaten up our work world.
As soon as this was all accomplished, I made myself a weekly schedule. Mondays for promotion, blog writing, checking out sites online; Tuesdays for working on short stories, articles and workshop presentations, Wednesdays are deadlines for my weekly column. If any time is left, I work some more on blogs and updating my sites; Thursday, Friday and Saturday I spend working on my wip, whatever it might be. I hung a pad near my computer and make notes there if something specific comes up that needs to be done on “its” day.
My mornings have always been for “other stuff.” There’s always plenty of that around a house. My husband is good to do a lot of the housework since he retired, but I have specific chores that fill my mornings. Sometimes I work on bringing my scrapbooks up to date, pasting in clippings, photographs etc., but mostly I do jobs around the house.
Any busy person could develop a schedule that suits their work habits. Since I’ve put this in place three weeks ago, I find myself getting a lot more accomplished each day.
Maybe this will help some of you as you search for just an hour in your busy day in which you can finish up a chore or tackle another.

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in data base, filing, journals, newspapers, office, organize, photographs, research, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Organize

  1. Velda, how blessed you are to have such a generous, organized daughter!I believe that creativity flouishes in an organized environment and an orderly life. Thanks for passing on these tips to us!Janet Riehlwww.riehlife.com

  2. Ann Parker says:

    Wow! This is great! I love your tips!Now I’m yearning after organization cubes and things like that (gazing around at my piles of papers). How lucky you are to have a daughter to be your “extra set of eyes.”I’m going to link to this post in my Monday blog on Lady Killers…

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