Desk Set

I started excavating my office today. Yes, you read right: excavate — my son just asked if that was wish fulfillment; like, if I write it, it will become?

Because my office has gotten to the point there isn’t an inch of space to put anything, including my computer, and I swear, if there’s even just a mild earthquake, I’ll be buried under papers and books for years.

But look, I needed all those research books. And my girls’ series books? I love rereading them. And I had to store my author copies somewhere — what better place than a sorely needed closet? But then that kind of cluttered up is my wealth corner (oh, that’s why …) However, I thought those milk crates made a great file for my paper manuscripts, even if it did block one of the bookcases. And I did make a path to the printer around the first of my to-be-read piles.

The desk is impossible. I pile everything on it, including my jewelry, and various files and papers I need. Hey, no problem, I’ll just sort through it tomorrow and neatly file it all away. Well, except, I have to clear off my chair which is piled high with family papers, a basket of jewelry, books, CDs — and there’s the second of the to-be-read piles on the floor under my desk.

Okay, I’ll get the stuff off of the files by the window. No, can’t get to the window till I clear away the stuff on the floor. Or sit till I clear off the chair. Oh rats — the wooden coat hanger on which I store my tote bags (twenty at last count) just cracked under the weight and is leaning on the topmost milk crate where I store my purses. Which just slid to the floor.

Where there is the third of my to-be-reads piled in a department store shopping bag. But never mind that. I have to pick up the tote bags — and put them where? Maybe John will fix the coat rack, because there’s no room on the back of the door where I hang all my pocketbooks.

Okay, leave that for tomorrow. Let’s see — what can I accomplish today? I can’t even look at the pictures of my friends I have hanging around the desk — I’ll feel too guilty — they’re all so well-organized and get their work done without all this mess and fuss …

I think that’s all I can do today. I turn out the light and walk into the hallway where the fourth of my to-be-read piles rises nearly halfway to the ceiling. This is the one thing over which John might divorce me. He doesn’t believe for a minute I’m going to read them all.

But you know I will, don’t you? Even at the expense of clearing out the office. Someone has to do it. Wouldn’t you?

Is your office even as remotely cluttered as mine is? How do you keep it all together? Any tips?

Thea Devine’s books defined erotic historical romance. She’s currently working on a contemporary erotic romance. Her sequel to The Darkest Heart, Beyond the Night, will be published by Pocket Star in 2014. She is speaking at the NJRWA Put Your Heart In A Book Conference in October.

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5 thoughts on “Desk Set”

  1. I’ve heard it said that a cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind!

    Still laughing…not at you but with you, my dear. I haven’t had nearly the time that you have had to make such a clutter. I’ve only just begun my writer’s journey. But if it means that I will someday be as successful as you with so many well-loved stories, I’ll gladly take on the clutter over the years.

    As of now, however, I’m a bit of an organizational freak. I’ve relegated my TBR piles of books to be given away as prizes for my readers and these days get all my “to read” books on my Kindle (storage tip #1). You could probably use some of those tote bags in those same giveaways or donate them to the Good Will–along with most of the purses. You really only need five or fewer.

    I have a small “dish” on my desk for hair clips and jewelry that come off as I’m writing, and make myself empty it once it’s full or I run out of hair bobbles in the bathroom upstairs. Coat trees are a magnet for clutter and it’s probably best to use its brokenness as an excuse to rid yourself of it and clear out that corner of the room. Get some “real” file boxes from Staples, put all your old manuscripts in them and label them. They can go in the attic for posterity, but you’ll likely never look at them again. Don’t be afraid to throw some things out. You really will feel better when you have a clean work space. Just like eating an elephant…one bite at a time. Although I’d never eat an elephant no matter how it was served. Let’s say a huge ice cream Sunday. maybe the job won’t be so unpleasant then, right?

    Best of luck! Sounds like you might need it.

    1. Oh, but Paula — you don’t understand — I need all those tote bags. I have to have options. Give things away? What does that mean?

      The storage boxes from Staples, however — that’s a really good idea, and I will act on it as soon as I can.

      thea

  2. Oh Thea, my dear friend, you had me laughing until tears rolled down my cheeks! This sounds a lot like my writing space, although that happens to be my dining room table! Piles of research, boxes of pens, pads, books to be read. I have to clear up a spot in order to put down a plate of food. So funny. I wish I could close a door sometimes so I wouldn’t have to look at it. The thought of clearing it off is daunting, and like you, I need all that material. Thank you for sharing and making me feel a little less guilty about my “writer” mess.

  3. Well, at least you have an office, which I don’t! I work on my laptop at the dining room or kitchen table, or sometimes I go to the library within walking distance of my house or to a coffee shop (I like to live dangerously and mix it up. Such a rebel). My books are stuffed into…yes, tote bags here and there because there’s no room on any shelves. I’m a paper clutter girl too. Sigh. If I had an office I SWEAR I would keep it clean. Pinky promise. (Is Mr. Suze reading this?)

  4. Thea, I completely understand. Being a neat freak, I must put things away, at least once a week. Sometimes I purposely invite friends over so I am forced to put things away, just out of embarrassment, should they see my mess. I have bookshelves in practically every room. Sorted by subject. But I do throw things, books, magazines away. Many of the books Tom and I brought back from national have gone bye bye. So many of the books can be given to Good Will. Paula is really on target. It feels really good to have space. I can’t give away those tote either, and I keep collecting. But they do make great Christmas presents, or great gift bags, like putting wrapped cookies and give them to your neighbors (with your card), your doctor, dentist, carpenter, landscaper… whoever. Can’t have that many piles, can you? Fun post!

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