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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

O is for Organization

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the part of the blog where I come begging for YOUR tips.

A lot of people compliment me on how organized I am. Can I just say, once and for all, that I have them all FOOLED??

I would love to be more organized, and most of the time, I feel like I am grasping at straws trying to make things fall into place. My newest organization project is that I need to take everything from my desk (pictured) and find a new home for it so I can bring in my treadmill and have a treadmill desk. UGH!! I am so procrastinating on this.

Another organization project is that I am finally accepting the fact that my old desktop (over 9 years old, I should say), is on its deathbed. To be honest, I only use it for taxes and family finance stuff, so it is time to bid it adieu. However, this means that I need to get the old files off it and put them... somewhere. Let me explain what my laptop looks like. I have files in it. Within the files, I have a file called "old laptop." This is the mostly dead laptop I have in my office that I'm terrified of getting rid of in case I need something off of it, even though I've transferred all of its documents to the "old laptop" file and I haven't needed that computer in a long time. Even then, I only used it for a Microsoft program that I have on that computer that isn't on this computer because I won't pay $500 for it. Which I used once.

So... I have a lot of computer files. Now that I am going to be taking the ones off my desktop, I have to figure out where to put them. On one hand, since I haven't touched most of them in YEARS, the thought might be, I don't need them, forget about it. On the other hand, most of them are stories I've written that someday, maybe I could theoretically publish. Sure, they were rejected once, but I could resurrect them, right?

Which leads to my next story organization dilemma. How do other writers organize their stories on their computers? I've tried so many different ways, but nothing is consistent, and I only remember my most recent ones. I need to find a way to reference or at least know where older stories are. I have about 15-20 complete manuscripts, and at least that many more partials, and at least that many more ideas. PLUS, I have articles and article ideas.

These are times when I wish I had some kind of assistant or secretary who could figure out a system for me. Since I'm not a rich and famous author, I'll just have to rely on you guys. What are your tips to help me get organized???




Angel Moore said...

I'll go. First, I'll confess to being a little OCD. :) I looked up pics of the treadmill desk. You're a brave lady. Fatigue struck me while looking at the pics.

Perhaps a shelf or two above the new desk would give a place for awards, pics, a lamp, etc.

Can you keep the drawers from the desk? Maybe even the shelves (just on that section) & push it into the corner? Then put the desk to the right? We cut an entertainment center like that down once. It worked better in our space after we moved.

Michael's had picture boxes 6/$10. They put them on sale often. They're perfect for your check boxes, office supplies (tape, staples, mailing supplies, post-its), CDs, thank you notes & cards. Put them in the closet or on the shelf over the desk. They make pretty ones.

File anything you can vertically. I use hanging files for warranty papers, mailing labels, computer disks, notepads, or sm. binders. Most of the things on your shelf above the monitor.

Flash drives are smaller than CDs or DVDs for backup. If the small black box is full of floppy discs, let go. They're not coming back. ;)

When I reorganized, I realized I seldom used many of the things that were close by. I tossed them or moved them to a file cabinet in the closet. Put everything as close as possible to where you use it. It's easier to put away if it's close. My bills & receipts file in a desk drawer to my left. From one spot, I open mail, handle it, and file at one time to prevent a backlog. Put a recycle bin or can at arms length. I toss most of mine in the garage. Junk mail never comes inside unless it has to be shredded.

Be honest. Purge what you don't use. My husband would flip if he had to do this. I throw things away. I eliminated all old pens & markers. They were dry anyway. All I NEED fit in one cute coffee mug (gift from a friend) on my desk. This is a little morbid, but I looked at everything and thought about whether it was worth my kids having to sift through when I die. I didn't realize how much stuff I was keeping that I didn't need or use.

On the computer I have a folder for Books. Inside is a folder for each series or book title. In the series folder, I keep all research files, and a folder for each book. In each book folder is the manuscript, character description, synopsis, first draft, deleted scenes, etc. I email a copy of my WIP to myself every night. And I back it all up to a flash drive.

Investigate converting your old manuscripts as soon as possible. I waited too late on some of mine and will have to type them in again from a hard copy if I use them.

Each manuscript is given a hard gift box (50 cents ea at Michael's after Christmas). I keep all notes, revisions, copies of editor correspondence, and a printed copy. These are labeled and on a shelf in the closet.

I honestly don't think you can fit anything else on your bookcase wall. I don't know where you're going to fit new releases. :)

Happy organizing!

DanicaFavorite said...

Thanks Angel! These are all great tips!

Barbara White Daille said...

I'm not going to be any help at all. I still have an ancient computer in the corner that I'm afraid to get rid of. And yes, boxes of 3.5 disks. But I still do have a floppy drive on my newer computer for them.

Guess I'm going to have to update, too--and borrow some of Angel's advice.

I CAN second the idea of naming a folder Books (or in my case, Fiction) and then putting folders inside it for each project. There's still a lot of "stuff" - different versions, research, etc. - in each of my folders, but at least everything for one project is in one place.

Good luck getting organized, Danica!

Q: Quitting is not an option
The Daille-y News

DanicaFavorite said...


I have folders for each book, but I think so many are buried that I need to figure out how to make them more accessible. And to remind me which book is which.

As for the 3.5 disks, a lot of mine have old stories on them, so I need to get the stories off and then get rid of them. I found a converter thing to do it, but I still need to buy it.