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Organizing for Writers by Rochelle Melander

This is what my office looks like when I am finishing a project: messy.

I spent the whole weekend moving furniture, tossing old stuff, cleaning, and organizing. I still have more to do, but I am beginning to feel like I can breathe again. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to think when my house is a mess. I cannot write with files strewn all over my office. Well, I can write and I often do, but I think better when everything is organized.

Here are some tools that have helped me stay organized:

*Project shelves! I like to keep all of my books and papers for a particular project on their own shelf in my office. That way, when I am on deadline, I don’t waste time running around the house looking for resources—they are all right here.

*A Place for EVERYTHING. Writers need a lot of stuff—pens, paper, file folders, envelopes, dictionaries, and more. I added a little filing cabinet in my office so that I could keep all of these supplies in reach and out of sight.

*A clean desk. I have two desks in my office—one for computer work and one for everything else. I like to keep both desks clear (No STACKS!) so that each day I can spread out my writing work.

*Action files. On a shelf behind my desk, I have a small holder filled with action files on current writing and speaking projects. This way, my work is always within reach. I do not miss deadlines, because the files remind me exactly what is on my to-do list!

*Clean up time! No matter how organized I try to be, my office gets messy. At the end of each day, if possible, and always at the end of each week, I clean up my space (just like kindergarten!). I try to do the same for my online space, clearing out my email’s inbox so that I don’t wake up on Monday to a long list of emails to answer.

How about you? This week, I am asking for your best organizing tips for writers. What keeps you organized? Leave your tips for organizing here, at the blog. Everyone who leaves a comment on the blog this week will get entered into a contest to win Eileen Roth’s wonderful resource: Organizing for Dummies. I’ll hold the drawing over Easter weekend and announce the winners next week!


7 Responses

  1. Hi Rochelle,

    Both my wife and I have decided to hire an organizing consultant. I hope I can get this book. In organizing my writing, I usually have two notebooks, 1 a journal and another for ideas, mindmaps ets. I usually use a certain type of pen. I try and keep everything in one place. I do most of my writing in the morning.


  2. Beth Hoffmann

    Our son told me I should make his bedroom into my proofreading office, because he wouldn’t be living at home anymore, since he was in his final semester of college and expecting to get a job away from Wisconsin. I took the sliding doors off the closet and stowed them behind the hinged door into the room, so now the closet shelf holds a number of books. My favorite book storage device is a column with adjustable shelves that I requested for my Bible reference books. I asked that every space be able to hold the thickest concordance. I can arrange the books in whatever order I prefer. Now I don’t need to move the whole stack from my desk to take out the book that at the moment is both on the bottom of the stack and needed for my work in progress.

  3. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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