Monday, June 16, 2008

Writing Amid the Chaos — You Mean There's Another Way?

Currently: Working on a sequel to a book I'm shopping around.
Mood: Overwhelmed

I suppose there are writers who have tidy offices and are as neatly organized as any displayed in a Martha Stewart Living magazine layout. I don't trust 'em. A working author might have some kind of system—for example, all of my reference and research books are grouped together. Mostly. This isn't the Dewey Decimal System. Cowboys and the West are in one group, Great Britain and Ireland in another, dictionaries and thesauri on their own shelf, etc.—but to the outside observer, a writer's work space looks lie a scaled-down version of the Collyer brothers' apartment.

My office, the only place I can really work, consists of piles of papers; books; miles of wiring for computers, printers, and stereo speakers; notes' strings or attached sticky notes that a friend compared to a Christmas tree; photos of assorted actors; CDs; any number of pets who pass through or drop in for a nap; calendars created to reflect time lines of 100 years ago . . . Well, you get the idea.

I so admire the story of J.K. rowling, who was able to craft a plan for seven or eight books in a Starbuck's kind of atmosphere. I'd never be able to do it. The distractions would bring me to a dead stop. That's also why I write at night, but that's another story.

This photo is a fair example of how things usually look:


And that's only one side of the room.  But for the most part, I know exactly where everything is. Unless I'm looking for a pen.

(Posted for Alexis by Lisa Hendrix due to computer issues.)



3 comments:

Delle Jacobs said...

Two questions, Lexie:

1. Do you know how those sideways stacks of books get started? We all seem to have them. No complaints, you understand-- my upright books have sideways books laying on top of them.

2. Why is the glass empty?

Averil said...

Your space looks just like mine! So when I scrolled down the blog and saw your pictures I laughed out loud. My desk is larger than yours but that means more piles of stuff rather than more neat space to work. I have to pull out the leaves on both sides of the desk to put my resource books on when I'm working. I've been a writer of other things for years and all my desks at all my jobs have looked like this. No one cares as long as I don't lose things on it. And when that happens, I take a few hours to organize the piles. LOL

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Hey, if Jennie Crusie can write amid the chaos so can you. I think we should start a poll of best selling authors and see if there is a trend around tidiness or organized chaos for office space. :)