Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor

Organize Your Writing Desk in Four Easy Steps

By April Aragam
Copyright 2007 by April Aragam All Rights Reserved

With all of the papers, books, mail and writing supplies a writer has to deal with, it would be nice to have an area that is manageable and attractive at the same time. Can it be done? It surely can. Use the following tips to help you in your quest to achieve a more organized writing desk:

1. Make a clean start

The first step to organizing any area well is to clean it out completely before you start. Take everything off of the desk top (the computer can stay), out of any drawers and cupboards you may have. Yes, this may make more of a mess for a bit, but it is well worth it. If you have a shelf over your desk, attached or not, clean that off too. You'll need all the space you can get.

2. Designate a space for needed items

Trinkets are cute, but you don't especially need them on your desk. A photo or two of the family is probably enough. Before you start putting things back, think about where things would be best suited. If you use your pens a lot, you want them right within reach. If you don't use your dictionary or thesaurus much (or prefer the online version) you might want to put those books farther away from you. Don't forget about under your desk; if there is enough room, that could be the perfect place to store your accordion filer. Before you start putting things back, ask yourself if you actually use them for your writing career -- and how much. That will determine if and where you replace them. If something isn't going to go back into your work area, don't forget to put it in its proper place.

3. Organizational Tools

The accordion filer was mentioned earlier; these come in very handy for storing clipped articles, mail, your personal clips, etc. Use a mug (maybe one your child made for you at school: a functional trinket) to store your pens, highlighters, pencils, letter opener, etc. Use small, clear jars to store things such as paper clips. Instead of using scraps of paper to jot down things you find online or think of while you're working, have a mini-notebook that you can scribble in. This saves you the hassle of having to clean up and organize more loose papers later on. To keep projects separated use colored folders. This comes in especially handy if you're doing research for projects.

4. Keep it tidy

To help yourself stay organized at your desk, make it a habit to tidy up at the end of each work day. Put things back where they belong, and if you know what you'll need for the next day, lay it out. If you find that you're not using something anymore, don't hesitate to put it someplace else.

When people think of writers they often think of a messy workspace, but it doesn't have to be that way. Most of us work better in an organized space. We don't have to spend as much time looking for things and can spend more time working on our craft.