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 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 remember.

What do you do with those old manuscripts?


  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. ;)

  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.

  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

  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.

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

  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.

  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.

  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.