My first step was to buy a document shredder at Staples. True confession-it was my first because initially I was too afraid to throw anything away in case I might need it later. This might be a writer’s biggest downfall-the inability to get rid of anything. We are idea hoarders! I firmly told myself that it was fine to shred anything that I had already saved on Dropbox, my hard drive, and a USB memory stick. That didn’t include any interviews-just a bunch of rough drafts.
Here’s a secret-shredding is very cathartic! As I piled up the papers to be noisily turned into paper confetti I actually felt relief, that I was moving onto the next stage of the college transfer book (production) and a sense of pride over how much work I’d put into it to get to this point.
Now that you could actually see a patch of carpet where the book papers had been piled, I took out a stack of empty binders in different colors and went about the arduous task of coming up with names for each binder so I could file all my loose documents in a way that would make sense to me later. Here’s a hint-when don’t try to use another persons system (especially a left-brainer’s). It will be entirely too logical and will only lead to confusion and frustration on your part when you can’t put your hands on something you know you had a month ago.
I discovered that this was also a pleasing thing to do once I got into the swing of it. We always seem to have so much on our plates that we often feel overwhelmed-like we are on a hamster wheel-going nowhere fast. Finding (and shredding!) idea scraps that actually became published articles is a wonderful, gratifying feeling. And finding the ones that haven’t yet found a home is like getting reaquainted with an old friend. “Oh I forgot how much I liked you, how interesting you are,” I’d say out loud (talking to yourself is one of the perks of working at home!) And some things I found I had lost interest in so into the trash can they went.
After two days of pretty intense organizing, I breathed a sigh of relief. Today is the first day of November and I can start with a fresh page, I thought confidently. Then my eye fell on a large container stuffed with papers in it that I had somehow missed. I sighed. But I had bigger fish to fry. The box would have to keep until next year…
Have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet? It’s a fantastic way to boost your writing chops, connect with other writers, and work towards your 10,000 hours of practice! Here’s the link: http://nanowrimo.org