A Writer's Perspective
Jennifer St. Clair Bush
Jennifer St. Clair Bush
always been organizationally challenged. When I lived at home, there was a path
through my room to my bed, the bathroom, and my desk. And sometimes even those
paths vanished. I always intended to organize; I knew my life would be easier if
I organized, but I never quite got around to doing it. Oh, I'd start one weekend
and get a pile or two done, but I'd always get distracted. You see, there was
always something else to occupy my time. In the early days, it was writing, or
walking in the woods. Later, after I got a computer, it was email, or chat.
I got married, moved, and started a new job. You'd think I would have decided to
get organized about the same time as well, wouldn't you? Again, I made promises
to myself, promises I didn't keep. I wanted to have everything organized and in
place before the wedding. I wanted to have all of my credit cards paid off
before the wedding. I wanted to be able to unload my car at the townhouse and
put everything away in its proper place.
it was all my fault.
made promises to myself and procrastinated until I had no time left to organize.
My possessions ended up in a pile in the basement, scattered and cluttered. My
husband started talking ominously about dumpsters. And I never quite got around
to cleaning out my room at home. In fact, it's still a mess, almost two years
after I moved out.
though, I've been thinking about my eventual goal to write full time from home.
I began to realize that if I didn't organize now, I'd never realize my goal. I
got into that trap a few years ago, thinking that just saying I wanted to be a
full-time writer was enough, and that the library job I took after high school
was just a transition until I could afford to write full time. If I had been
organized then, I might never have met my husband, for one. And I might have
already realized my goal. Instead, seven years passed, I got married, moved,
started a new job, and came to the realization that I was shooting myself in my
own foot by not taking my dream seriously.
of my New Year's Resolutions was to have a book contracted or published by the
end of the year. We all know what usually happens to New Year's Resolutions;
they get dropped by the wayside and forgotten. This year, though, I made the
conscious decision to try my best to turn my life around and fulfill at least
one of my resolutions. Well, to date, I have one e-book out, and three more
contracts outstanding. Even by my standards, that's a pretty good fulfillment.
with that in mind, and thinking more and more about the future (and the fact
that I'd love to be my own boss), I decided that if I could give writing my
undivided attention, I could also make a conscious effort to get organized. So
with that in mind, I posted the Organizational Dare in mid-June on the Forward
Motion site, and then conveniently
forgot all about it until I discovered 'Organizing from the Inside Out', a
course at BNU (Barnes and Noble University http://www.bn.com).
The course is based on the book 'Organizing from the Inside Out' by Julie
Morgensturm. I got my copy at the library.
the book, it says that before you begin an organizing project, instead of
jumping in and ending up with an even bigger pile, you should Analyze first,
Strategize second, and then Attack. After spending one weekend organizing and
rearranging the downstairs (which wasn't all that bad, really), I decided to
start with the office and use the book as my guide to organizing it as
effectively as I could.
began by making a list of what Chris and I do in the office:
do I do in the Office?"
does Chris do in the Office?"
dressed (clothes are kept in office)
else is the Office used for?"
bedroom (maybe 6 times/yr)
with that in mind, I looked at the current setup, made some notes, and decided I
needed to rearrange, starting with the guest bed, which was previously sticking
out into the room. To place the bed against the wall, I needed two inches of
extra space, which looked to be available if I moved Chris' desk over.
make a long story short, expect delays if you're working with rounded inserts to
L-shaped desks. I moved every piece of furniture in the office at least four
times (except for the bed; it stayed against the wall. I'm planning to get some
pillows and pretend it is a couch. Good thing: We can watch DVDs on Chris'
computer while sitting on the bed now. I can also sit on the bed with my
QuickPad and use the IR receiver to write in complete comfort.) But I eventually
got a configuration I rather liked. And, as a bonus, I get to sit next to a
window, the office looks more efficient, and my new monitor fit quite nicely
without taking up all my desk space. I also had room to set up my old computer
so I can transfer files from it to the new one with ease.
wrote down a list of things I wanted to change in the office (WIP file space,
room for a corkboard, room for desk shelf, empty desk space for projects, room
for a set of Rubbermaid drawers) and what I thought Chris would like to do in
the office (hang up RedWings banner, keep computer books and software boxes
together, have clothes put away in drawers or hung up, be comfortable.)
only was I able to end up with a pleasant arrangement for both of us, I also
realized that if I care enough about a particular task, I can accomplish it.
With that in mind, I'm going to continue implementing the suggestions from the
book, and I'm not going to make empty promises to myself anymore.
husband was right. A year ago, he told me that if I got organized, everything
else in my life would fall into place. I didn't believe him then, but I do