I Can't Find My Desk Under This Mess
by Kellie Fay
*There are several ways for even the most unorganized personality types, like myself, to prepare your workspace for your daily writing adventures. One important tool that is always handy is investing a few dollars into a voice recording program or cassette player; many great story ideas or brilliant vocabulary are often lost when a writer is away from their workspace. Record those ideas and then use a pen and paper to transfer ideas to your files. Many smart-phones already have some type of memo or notation applications built in. Additionally, an author can send a text message or email to themselves with ideas and topics as the inspiration strikes their fancy.
*Sometimes, ideas are spawn from dreams or something over-heard throughout the day and it is extremely important to document and organize, even the most random thoughts or phrases, into some type of filing system. When the common frustration from writers' block occurs you will have a unique database to draw ideas from. Initially, ideas written on scraps of paper, scribbled on napkins or Post-It notes are easily misplaced. A good portfolio of your writing projects and original ideas is an excellent way to always be prepared to be an effective and creative writer.
*Of course, writing your ideas down on paper is only the beginning, a system to organize and retrieve ideas easily must be unique and very functional. For example, having a filing cabinet or hanging file box is a good way to allow your various ideas and subject genres to grow. Even an expanding file or 3-ring binder are ways to begin.
*Making a color-coded labeling system seems to work effectively and can be used to identify different categories that you write about or assignments you are working on simultaneously. An example, can be that all your fiction pieces are blue, all non-fiction are yellow, and biography samples are red. A handy ways is to use the same colored stickers often used for garage sales but markers will also work just fine. You must put the color in the same place on each document to speed up searching later.
*Manila folders work perfectly for sub-categories within each general topic's hanging file. Under "fiction," some smaller topics could be: vampires use a star, a heart shape for animal stories, and a square for opinion or persuasive editorials all under the blue destination. Format a key and attach to the outside front of the main file for easy reference and a system that is easy to recognize and can be expanded easily. In most stores with scrap booking supplies you can purchase various hole-punch tools in multitudes of sizes, shapes, and patterns or you can draw symbols yourself. You should put personal filing codes in the upper-right hand corner so everything is found the most simple way.
*It is always a good idea to print and save all your work to back-up your computer files in case a virus or disaster strikes. Thankfully, this type of preparation has cleared up cluttered work spaces and even leaves room on your bulletin board for more important information needed on current projects. Even if you have been called a pack-rat or have a desk buried below clutter this simple system can work. No more digging through stacks of stuff just to find inspiration or a poem that you want to submit for publication. More free time from searching gives you more time to actually do what successful authors do best-write!