Starting in on the office - again (Long, but desperate)
I write. Not for a living, but as part of a writer's group and because I enjoy it. Problem is, it's poetry. I swear, nothing generates drafts & ideas the way poetry does. I've got stacks of papers filed in cabinets, stuck away in folders, stuck in trunks. I've got years of diaries I keep meaning to burn on December 31st some year. At least, though, there's a plan for that paperwork. I'm about ready to dig in to the office - again (I might add), but I need some effective means of handling my books & papers. The drafts especially.
Unfortunately, one of the most effective pieces advice about revising a poem is "drawer time." Yep, 6 months, 9 months, 12 is better, before you look at a piece again to begin the revision. Since I write all my drafts by hand, that means most folders are too small. I've even filled up 1" folders with revisions. A poem is never done.
Okay. Fine. A poem is never done, but how do I manage the paper without drowning?! I'm up to three or four file drawers, plus a hard hanging-folder on my desk along with my inks my pens, the phone, some basic books of writing poetry, my laptop, the stapler, the camera...
Usually I'm ruthless about tossing stuff. I can see tossing those pages of revision where I'm just writing the same words, the same phrases, the same line breaks time after time, but otherwise, I find it helpful to go back to "first thoughts", the inspirational moments & see what was going on. When it comes to the drafts, I stick 'em in folders and move onto the next one, but I swear, I have inches thick piles in there. The good thing, when I'm ready to rework a piece, I go back to that folder & I do review the work.
My office is only 10' wide by 16' long. I've got a dining room table as my desk. There's FOUR (count 'em - FOUR) computers in here. My husband's In The Business. I'd like to get down to three because he won't give up the X-Box Developer's carcass / station. So, that's my laptop, two monitors, a printer, scanner, cable modem, uninterruptable power supply, wireless router, speakers, wires, wires, wires!
I've got one wall & a half of Ikea's Ivar system (painted a gloss white). On my shelves I have my books of poetry, reference books and tall art books. On the other, we keep our financial paperwork. Last time I went through trying to clean up the financial paperwork I shredded stuff regarding our first remodel. My husband came in, shrieked, & told me we need to keep it for taxes, or resale, or proof that we spent the money. Ida Know.
Thank heavens so many bills are on line b/c that has reduced the volume of paperwork. The shelving is also a catch-all for my collection of printer papers. I also photograph my paintings, so need photographic paper as well as printer paper (cheaper by the box, uh, until you have to store it forever!), DVDs, CDs, receipts (the change in the Federal tax code allowing you to deduct state sales' taxes & over a standard deduction if you keep the receipts - uh, Not Necessarily A Good Thing for DH who keeps every receipt anyways), phone books, high school annuals, photograph albums. You get the picture. My head hurts.
I've tried reorganizing this office three times before. My writing drafts, the books, the creepy-crawlie receipts just keep coming back. Do you guys have any advice or should I really pay a professional organizer to come in here & help me with this project? We've been able to get control over every other room in the house but this one.