September 28, 2012

Your Writing Desk Is Where Magic Happens

My desk is where magic happens. Every time I sit down, I escape into an unknown world and write the whisperings of my heart. 

I spend most of my days at my desk where I live, breathe, and thrive, as do many writers, as do many of you. Our desks are sources of power. We work at our desks. We create at our desks. Therefore, our desks should reflect that.

However, writing often leads to neglect, like postponing your lunch break to finish writing (which reminds me, I need to eat my lunch!), forgetting to wash the dishes, or feed a pet. Very often, a desk can become dusty, cluttered, and unorganized due to a writing frenzy. Well, no more!

Here are five easy steps that you can do right now to organize your desk for success:

1. Gather all of your runaway pens, pencils, and highlighters and slip them into a pencil caddy. If you don’t have a pencil caddy, you can make one, like I did, with an aluminum can. Go to your kitchen and make yourself a nice bowl of soup. After you enjoy the warm comfort, clean out the can, and decorate the outside with paper, fabric, or whatever craft materials you have lying around. Then slip all of your pens and pencils inside. Tada! Now you have a neat pencil compartment and you helped the environment by reusing an aluminum can! I’ve also used cups and glasses for this same purpose.

2. Make a junk drawer in your desk. Instead of junk, though, you will fill it with writing essentials like erasers, whiteout, and small memo notepads. Include other tools you use at your desk, too, such as a stapler and calculator, but just because this is a junk drawer doesn’t mean it has to be messy! Keep it neat by putting loose paperclips and rubber bands in a Ziploc bag and clipping small notes together. Create a special drawer for computer paper, envelopes, and printer ink as well.

If you don’t have drawers, get a box with a lid and make it your writing junk box.

3. Put all of your printed articles, short stories, poems, songs, etc. in folders. This keeps your documents organized and safe. Then put all the folders in a three-ring binder and use dividers for easy access. This strategy is also a great way to keep your publishing records orderly. Create a divider for agents and editors that you’ve submitted work to, want to send work to next, or the agencies you have to research. This will help you to stay stress-free in your pursuit of publication.

4. If you have limited drawers and not much desktop space, leave the notebooks, binders, and books that you use multiple times a week at your desk. All the rest you can store inside a plastic container or a backpack as I do. Place the container or backpack by your desk so whenever you need something inside it, it is within reach.

5. Lastly, clean your desktop. No, not your desk (although, you should perhaps dust it). I am talking about your computer. Delete those files that have been taking up space on your computer for years that you’ve probably forgotten were there. If you are afraid you may need it in the future, print it out and put it in a folder for safekeeping or email it to yourself and save it in an email folder. Use programs like Disk Clean Up and Disk Defragment to clear up any system clutter that may be slowing down your computer.

Now that your desk is organized for success, you can add a few decorative pieces for inspiration.

My writing career begins at my desk, where I am sitting right now, because this is where I can bring my dreams to life. The entire world is at my fingertips here, which is why I always keep it organized.

Your desk is just as magical. Every time you sit down to write, you give it power and it gives power back to you. Clean and organize your desk regularly to keep that power flowing.

 There is a saying, “Knowledge is Power.” I believe organization is power, too.

QUESTIONS: Do you have a messy or clean desk? If you have a clean desk, how do you keep it organized?

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