Wednesday, November 16

Things Live On My Desk...

This is the desk I wish I had. A few papers in sight, but mostly free of clutter. Because a totally empty desk is a horrible terrible thing. In reality, my desk is a clutter-fixer's nightmare. It's not something I'm proud of - especially since my office is a corner of the living room - but my desk is alive. There is an ever-growing pile of bebe stuff that needs to be scrapbooked (I'm not sure why it's still growing, I swore not to feed it), a stack of magazines (some writing-related, most other interests) waiting to be read, an open bag of cough-drops and two different kinds of mints because - as we all know - cough-drops make breath yukky, more pens and pencils than I can count and two calendars because - you know - I might forget to write something down in one or the other of those things.

So, yes, my desk is a mess. However, in my defense, I know where everything is and what everything is in each of the Piles of Death. I just haven't gotten around to actually filing everything.

And so it might surprise you that I'm actually very organized when it comes to my work. I have folders upon folders - on my computer, mind you - for my non-fiction writing. Folders with article ideas, folders with finished articles, folders with contact information, folders with contracts. Folders, folders, folders. Plus, since I've had a computer crash or 12 (apparently my computers don't like the dearth of files I have), I'm a backer-upper. Those non-fiction files plus an innumerable number of files for the fiction  - divided up according to publisher I'm targeting, finished MS's, in-progress WIPs, chapters needing edits, critiques I've gotten back, story ideas, lines/paragraphs/entire chapters that have been cut...you name it, I have a file. I even have files for submissions. Those files live on my hard-drive. On a flash-drive. On an external hard drive. And in cloud storage (DropBox is my friend, lemme tell you).

And yet I'm missing a few things. Two of the first novels I wrote are gone. They live on a floppy disk somewhere in my garage filing cabinets...I could pull them down if I tried hard enough (have an external floppy drive purchased several years ago with a USB cable). But I don't. I think about it from time to time, but the truth is I like to remember those books As I See Them. The imperfect pieces of perfection that only a newbie writer could produce. Filled with cliches, bad grammar (because, hey, I was getting the words down not paying attention to the order of things), huge leaps of logic, very little internal conflict and way too much external going on. I think one of them has an insane-monster-in-law *and* a bitchy-best-friend in the way of the happy couple. These aren't books I could save. Maybe the *idea* behind the book, but not the books themselves. And so I let them live on that floppy in the garage, hidden away in a filing cabinet. The more perfect versions of those MS's are still in my head and I pull them out every now and again...to remember.

What do you do with those old manuscripts?

8 comments:

  1. I have several old manuscripts on paper and a floppy disk. Until I decide to sit down and retype them that's where they'll stay.

    My desk and writing area is always a mountain range of piles. I have a pile of the research material for the current WIP, a pile that is promotion this month, a pile that is possible projects, and a pile of stuff. But I know which pile is which. ;)

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  2. I think I'm a rat pack so I tend to save every paper. I try to periodically get rid of stuff but in the back of my mind I keep thinking I need it;) sorry I'm not much help.

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  3. I am in awe! I have never once in my life been organized about ANYthing! I'm doing the bowing thing to you as we speak. LOL

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  4. Paty, if your desk and my desk got together, they would spawn even more piles!

    Martha, I could sooooo become a hoarder.

    Liz, no bowing down...I'm organized *only* because of past computer crashes when killed too much work-and-play stuff.

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  5. I know this may sound strange, but my desk is clean. Clutter distracts me. Maybe I'm a little OCD.

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  6. Nah, my DH is that way, Shawn. His desk is always spotless - and he has more going on than me! My desk makes him crazy...his makes me cranky.

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  7. Good post, K. I wish my desk was organized. Moving made me comb through the piles of papers on my desk, and I was stunned by the amount of junk there.

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  8. I have two desks and a corner of the kitchen table that sound like your one desk, Kristi. Not to mention the three bulletin boards.

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