Reorganizing the office

It’s amazing how inspired I can get from reorganizing my office. Starting the process always begins with me reaching a point of frustration, because whatever structure I have been using suddenly just doesn’t work. Brain fog tiptoes in and I end up feeling overwhelmed, blocked, and dull. Until I find a solution, I fumble around feeling like I’m trying to catch raindrops in a sieve and straining to make sure I’m not dropping a ball somewhere.

The chaos flows over into planner use. When my systems are working, the planner has nice neat outlines for what I need to do during the week. I make my deadlines without stressing. But when they aren’t…the planner devolves into blank pages, scribbled frantic notes, and half the time I can’t find either it or my phone so I don’t have a mental picture of my day, my week, my month and it all becomes a big AUUGGGH, especially when I need a piece of paper and I can’t find that one paper I really, really NEED.

Sometimes the fix is simply an issue of doing the damn filing.

Sometimes the fix requires more, like rearranging furniture because the current office layout isn’t working.

That’s what I was up against this time. I needed a quiet space to spread out and do editing and revision work on the trilogy. While I always keep saying I need to have space when I’m shuffling papers or working by hand, for some reason that setup rarely seems to happen in my writing office, for various reasons.

My chair doesn’t fit the surfaces in the office to use for handwriting so I don’t use them. Stuff then accumulates on the surfaces. Or I can’t access my filing setups if I do have the surface that works for handwriting and paper shuffling, so the paper piles grow taller and taller.

It’s always that. Always.

I’ve been slowly working on addressing this issue over the past year. During my teaching days, I had a solution of sorts. My computer desk formed the base of a U-shaped arrangement. On the right side, I had files and a space for quick writing notes. On the left side was a big old Steelcase desk where I did grading, planning, and longer-term work. My chair raised and lowered easily.

But replicating a setup like that in my writing office, has always been a challenge. Remembering that U-shaped setup helped. Finding the solution without spending money on new office equipment was the challenge. That, plus accommodating bookcases, the need to find a better mousing setup, and replacing my office chair were all pieces to fit together.

It’s been a slow process. I found a solution of sorts for the mouse. Then the chair. Horse trailer repairs required a visit to a (relatively) big city nearby that had a Staples. One of my office chair issues is that I needed to sit in the darn thing. I had read too many negative Amazon reviews of all sorts of office chairs to make me comfortable with buying one online. There were some I thought might work, but….

I found the chair that worked. Then it was coming up with that flat surface for shuffling papers. First, I tried an old typewriter desk that my much older brother had used during his college years. It’s pretty nice—‘60s era faux wood with two drop leafs. I had been using it for sewing, but it wasn’t ideal. Too shaky.

However…I had been using a card table when I wanted to work on big projects. It wasn’t an ideal fit in that room, but it was kinda okay. The spouse had one of those early model pressboard student computer desks. He was using the card table because it worked better for him. I did some measuring, and…it fit!

I just sat down and did the major scene matrix outline for the first book in The Cost of Power: Return on that setup. It was comfortable, I was able to get up and work on other things without worrying about my papers being disturbed, and best of all, I was able to put it all away on the typewriter table when I finished. Ah.

It’s a tight fit, but I can move the typewriter table to see the books behind it, the filing cabinet is clear, and…I can be productive. Yay.

And now it’s off to do the scene matrix outline for Book Two.

Just a reminder, if you like what you’re reading, please don’t forget to buy your writer a coffee! The link is here, and thanks to those of you who contribute.

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