Is the Messy Writer Better Organized?

messy-deskSeveral years ago, I paid an organizational consultant to come to my home to give me advice.

My husband and I had just purchased a home and it became apparent our organizational styles clashed.  He was of the “I might use it someday” and “Isn’t this cool?  It’s from first grade” while I was, “I know what’s in those piles on the table.” (And counters and…)

While the woman had some good advice, some was – ahem – outdated.

She suggested I try to tidy up before hubby came home.  I looked at her like she was nuts and pointed out that I, too, had a full-time job outside the home?  Not to mention, I’m not June Cleaver and this wasn’t the 50s..

Of all the tidbits she shared, one has helped me truly understand my organizational style.  I’m what she referred to as visually organized.

I guess a lot of creatives are.

She explained that for someone who was visually organized, their ideal closet was a room full of nails upon which they could hang every article of clothing.

So they could see it.

Out of Sight Out of – Writing Range?  Would that it was that simple with computer files.  As I sit down to write Promotion, Book 11 in the Metatron’s Army Series, I find myself facing the challenge of Now where did I put that file?

images-6Just Put it There.  I have this mind that multi-threads.  As a result, I can be working on one project but mentally writing or working on another. While most of the time I have no difficulty keeping track of it all, there are times when I decide it would be best to write down any thoughts in a file.  Problem is, once that’s completed,where do I file that file?

Last summer while completing the first drafts of the series, I found myself writing out scenes that I planned to incorporate later.

I gave the files relevant names so I’d know how to retrieve them later.

Well, after the start of the New Year, I decided to do a little organizing.  Thinking I’d be clever, I created folders for each book and within those folders, I stuffed manuscripts and other relevant works.  It had an interesting effect.  Now I can’t find anything!

As comical as it sounds, I’m finding it rather inconvenient at the moment.  You see, I know that I wrote a scene that I need for this particular book – last summer.  I just can’t find where I put it.

The reason it isn’t in the Book 11 folder is that at that point in time I thought 10 was going to be the last book in the series.  At this point, I’m looking at 12.  Trouble is, I didn’t come to that realization and further break out the files for those books until this past week, in an attempt to get better organized.  Sigh.

My analytical mind sought to make my life easier and I ended up getting myself into a bit of a jam. No worries, though.  I can always go back to the Time Machine backup from last summer and see if I can’t find where I stashed the scene in question.

Your Style or Mine?  My husband and I are both analytical with lots of experience in tech. In spite of this, I chafe at his suggestions for how to organize my files.

It’s one of those where it sounds good – til I implement it and realize I can’t follow it because it isn’t my style.

I learned that lesson the hard way during a previous attempt at becoming a better organized writer.

I do appreciate how he tried to help, and it was good advice.  It just blew up in my face.

Backup?  What Backup? Another area where organizational differences have impacted my writing is in the backup strategy we have. Though it’s in sync now, an early on miscommunication led to a near disaster when the drive I was backing up to failed.

I had a bit of an – ahem – meltdown because my file on the Effects of Time on Man was lost.  That information came from a Spirit School session.  It would have been ungodly difficult to retrieve.  I would have to hypnotize myself and even then I’m not sure I could have restored it all – because I was busy freaking out about the loss.

Aaron repaired the drive and we both learned a valuable lesson.  His definition of backup and mine – and where the locations are – were not in sync at that point.

Just Start Over?  When I sat down to work on Promotion, unable to locate the scene, I decided maybe I’d just start over.

After all, I know what needs to happen in the scene.

I spent a few hours redoing it and concluded that I need that file!

At least I know it’s somewhere.

Get Organized – Lose Productivity.  The thought of spending a lot of time searching through numerous directories and potentially having to turn to old backups in order to find this file chafes – because I’d rather be writing.

Next time I’ll pass on organizing.  It’s better to leave my creative – if messy – mind in charge.  It knows what it’s doing.

Inside Outside.  As for Aaron and I and our home?  We managed to come together – out of necessity and thanks to an unlikely helper.

My in-laws.

vector-clipart-santa-flying-a-plane-and-dropping-presents-on-parachutes-by-dennis-holmes-designs-65255.jpgWhat Jet Lag?  
Fairly early the morning after Aaron and I returned from our honeymoon, my mother, father, and brother in-law showed up with a load of Aaron’s things that had been at their house since he’d gone off to college.  With a smile they unloaded everything into our foyer, wished me luck, and left.

I turned to Aaron and said, “Whatever you don’t want, get rid of. What you want?  Organize.”

Within two days he had everything he wanted completely organized.

And the Good Will got an early Christmas gift.

Outside Inside.  As our lives have evolved and our family has grown we have worked hard to keep organized.

Mostly out of necessity.

If only I could manage that with writing.

Then again, when it comes to writing, maybe it’s better to stay messy…


It was buried in a file I wrote last July.  WHEW!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s