OK, time to get brave and launch mission impossible—organize my office. With 360 degrees of clutter, where do I start? Making a plan seems logical. First, toss the obsolete. So into the trash can goes 30 (no exaggeration, I counted) sample copies of magazines I have no desire to write for, some dating back to 1995. I guess I don’t need the 2003 edition of Writers and Illustrators Market Guide. Any guidelines received by mail last century need to be checked online for possible changes. They go into a “check me” pile. Some markets no longer exist, and those guidelines obviously get tossed. Now, to organize the rest. Second item on my plan is to buy space-saving helpers from the office store. Let’s go inexpensive obviously, so I pick up a package of 50 manila folders. Third, file. The folders get names of markets for children or adults, fiction or non-fiction, books or magazines, same for Christian markets. Other folders hold copies of queries I have sent out lately, editors I have been in contact with, online opportunities, and possible agents.
Now everything is filed neatly in folders, but the folders are stacked on my table and I have to shuffle through the pile each time I need to find what I want. It’s always on the bottom, of course. So, back to the office store for a rack that holds all my folders in graduating steps so I can see at a glance what I want. Whew! What a difference that makes. A hanging file goes into one of my drawers to hold my ongoing work for children’s magazines and book compilations.
Now I’m down to my research. I cast a glance at one cupboard that stands suspiciously silent, hoarding who knows what. I yank it open and find—junk! All the junk gets tossed and I have a whole cupboard for files of different types of research. It all gets labeled so I can immediately put my hand on what I need. Ah, bliss!
There seems to be no hope for the dozens of post-it notes with Scripture verses, random thoughts, ideas for stories and articles. If I file them away out of sight they’ll truly be out of mind, so across my computer monitor’s feet is a carpet of “someday” notes. I might need them all tomorrow—who knows?
-Happy and mostly organized Shirley