Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Tip of the Day: I love having the kids play in the backyard all day. I get so much done--until they track in a metric truckload of dirt. Bring snacks and drinks outside so you can ban the neighborhood kids from inside. And a vacuum cleaner you actually like is a good investment.

I did something very exciting this weekend. No, I didn't get to see a movie premiere or hike a waterfall, but what I did instead was just as rare. I organized my writing files. That's right, spring cleaning!

Cleaning can be a form of procrastination, but I was at the point where I was spending up to half an hour a week looking for "that important piece of paper, you know, the one with the black ink that I folded into quarters." So the time investment should pay for itself.

The problem is that I'm an index card abuser. I carry index cards in my purse so I can jot down writing notes in the car wash, at the doctor's office, etc. I also have a stack of index cards on my desk at work. I suppose I could email myself notes from the office and I'm sure that works for some people. But the thought of keeping track of index cards and hardcopy critiques and Word documents and then adding emails to the mix is making my hair stand on end. Add in scribbled-out conference notes, ideas that came to me after I shut down the computer, chapters I printed out to revise ... well, my writing desk looked like this.

So I took myself to Staples and found index card boxes for both the big and small index cards (I use both). Then I spent an hour reading and weeding every card I had thrown in my desk.

The different colors are to manage multiple projects. Pink/purple is for my tween novel with the female MC, blue/green for the novel with the male MC, and white/yellow are miscellaneous notes and story ideas.

I also purchased colored one-and-a-half inch pocket folders. I went through every hardcopy critique and printed chapter revision and pruned ruthlessly. One full recycling tote later and look at my desk drawer now.

I have red folders for the tween novel, blue folders for the novel with the male MC, green folders for my graphic novel planning, yellow folders for new story ideas, and white folders for short stories and conference handouts (I ran out of colors). I also have color coded stick drives for file backups.

So now my multiple projects are managed colorfully. Best of all, I have a new, refreshed outlook. Clutter is cleared away and that full recycling tote reminds me of how far I've come. I'm so past those old revisions. I'm a cleaner, more streamlined writer now. Watch out, Spring!

So what do you think? Is cleaning up your files another form of procrastination? If not, what makes it worth the time (and the office supply splurge)?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


DeenaML said...

Oooh! I love your colorful office organization supplies!

Anonymous said...

Writing is what I use to procrastinate from cleaning. :-D

Kate Fall said...

LOL Jenn. Usually when I find myself cleaning, I know my story is in trouble.

Emily Marshall said...

OMG--you are so organized now!!!!! I totally need to do this.