Thursday, November 29, 2012

Becoming an Organized Writer

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

One of the biggest joys in my writer’s life is contributing to this blog each week.  When Kate and I first launched The Writer’s Crate in September, I truly had no idea how much I would look forward to writing my posts and reading hers every Monday and Thursday.  Not only do I learn something new about a writer’s life from Kate’s perspective, I continually learn something new about my own life as a writer because of the time I spend in my Writer’s Crate every day working on my various projects such as this blog, my novel, my weekly and monthly columns, and my freelance work in addition to my personal journals.
As I described in my very first post, my Writer’s Crate is self-contained in a soft turquoise washed computer armoire.  It contains my laptop, favorite writing resources, pens and pencils, journals, inspiring quotes, a copy of my first published book, and family photos that make me smile.  It wasn’t long ago, however, that I had a small work space dedicated to my writing in my bedroom.  Though it was a cozy nook with all the essentials I needed, I must admit that I didn’t always keep it very neat and organized.

Luckily, I was usually able to locate whatever item I needed without too much disruption to my schedule, but when I took a closer look at how much time I was wasting by not being organized, I realized I was only hurting myself and my valuable time.

Here are some tips that I find very helpful in keeping my Writer’s Crate fresh and orderly:

Keep Your Desk Clean    Besides your computer, you should have only the key materials you need for your current writing project and just a few items you use multiple times throughout the day, such as pens, pencils, and reference books.
When I finish a piece I’m working on and switch to a new project, I always take the unnecessary items off my desk and store them in their proper places.  This helps keep me focused and on task.
Take the time to keep your writing desk neat and organized.  This step will help you to increase your creativity and production!

Keep Your Writing Supplies Stocked   Keep all things you need on a regular basis close at hand on shelves and tables. This includes paper, paper clips, favorite writing tools, contact information, scissors, envelopes, telephone, books, and even healthy snacks.  This way you don’t end up wandering to find things and losing your concentration.

I also have a timer on my desk so that I can measure my productivity, stay on task, and take breaks when needed.  Having a well-stocked writing area really does help to keep your writer’s momentum flowing nicely.

Keep a Travel Bag Supplied with Items You’ll Need on the go   When I’m not writing in my home, I love to take my laptop to the library, a beautiful park, or sometimes to a coffee shop.  I have a travel bag that I keep in my car with all of the items I keep at my desk so that I am always prepared.

Post a “Do Not Disturb” Sign Near Your Writing Space     I always post a reminder sign near my Writer’s Crate that says “Please respect my Writing Time—Thank You!”   Not only does it signal my family not to interrupt me unless the house is on fire, it’s a reminder to myself to respect the time I set aside for writing.

What are the things you rely on to stay organized with your writing life?

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