This week we've been talking about writing spaces, and I can practically see your eyes glazing over at yet another post. Next week we'll discuss something else--don't worry! But I'd be cheating you if I didn't mention the wee, miniscule problem most of us have in our office.
The Paper Deluge. The Information Avalanche. The Book Mountain. The Dust Tower. (Okay, I really don't care about the dust tower.)
You don't have this? You don't jot down facts on little slips of paper? You don't print off countless "informational" articles? You don't have seventeen books teetering like a deranged Jenga?
Well, thanks. You just made me cry.
I have all this and more. How do we organize all this writing related bounty without losing our minds? And how do we put it all away quickly, almost effortlessly?
Without any form of filing system, my office filled me with terror. Stacks of papers, none related, greeted me each day. I learned something vital: I simply cannot live without the file divider next to my desk. I've tried. It wasn't pretty.
Why are file dividers so important? Because you'll lose precious writing time if you can't easily find the information you need.
I constantly write down notes or things that pop into my brain. I print off informative blog posts. Writer's guidelines, important addresses, cool research facts--all need a place to go. If I didn't have my file divider, all of those papers would be in a big pile on my desk. My mind would be shifting to the clutter, instead of focusing on writing, and I'd lose time.
Photo by alphageek
The system I use is not elaborate. It doesn't take long to set up and takes even less time to use. Materials needed? Two file dividers, a box of hanging file folders, a box of manila folders, and a pen. Why two dividers? One is for important files I need within arm's reach. The other is on the far side of the room and houses important, but not often looked at, documents.
The one next to my desk has a few basic files I throw everything into: Writing Guidelines (editor and agent stuff), Writing Articles, Punctuation/Grammar Notes, Story Ideas, and Web Stuff. I also have a thick folder for my current work in progress. The majority of papers I accumulate each day are filed here. And I file them every day. I refuse to have a stack of papers giving me the evil eye when I wake up.
This divider has other sections, too. It has ample room for both my files and a blog binder containing ideas and old posts. Next to them are my various journals--an idea journal, a blank journal, and two small notebooks in which I review every book I read. There's also a dictionary, thesaurus, and an ancient Strunk & White's Elements of Style.
The other file divider is where I keep writing receipts, editor responses, and other business documents.
What about the mountain of books? There's a small cubby where I lined up the other writing craft books. All of my favorite novels are in little cloth bins. My to-be-read pile...ahem, piles...are housed in baskets throughout the house.
Binders hold the magazine articles and pictures I rip out. I let the treasures accumulate for a month or two before filing them.
What do you need within reaching distance? How do you control the scraps of paper and notes? Do you have files and papers nearby that you don't use often?
Thanks for sharing your writing space with me this week! I've enjoyed learning how and where you write!
Enjoy your weekend!