Monday, August 25, 2008


A couple of weeks ago or so, JoAnne posted a picture on the Edit Cafe blog of her neat and tidy work space and desk. Show off!

I believe both Becky and JoAnne would attest to my ability to keep a neat office. But don't you dare come knocking on my office door today!

When was it, back in early June, that I began working from my home office all but every other Tuesday? Well, for the first full month, thanks to our Korea trip and other busyness, the back of my minivan bulged with all the boxes and chairs and rugs and pictures and files and piles of books'n'stuff I'd carted out of my Barbour office to bring home.

I unloaded it all into the garage in early July so that my husband could use the van to move his sister from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma.

Then, in early August, I managed to lug it all upstairs and pack it into our youngest daughter's bedroom (after she moved out to her new apartment in Cleveland.)

This weekend, I set my sights on unpacking the whole kit-and-kaboodle and organizing my home office into a model of efficiency and neatness. But before I could do that, I needed to move my treadmill out to fit the file cabinet in. And before I could load all my writing books onto the shelves, I needed to relegate my personal library to the family room bookcases. And before I did that, I needed to. . .well, you get the drift.

Here we are closing in on September--the end of summer, and my office looks more than ever before like a tsunami hit. Now, both Courtney's old bedroom AND my workspace are disaster areas. I did, however, manage to cram a few boxes into the bedroom closet, so at least I can close the door on some of the mess. All day long, as I've put in my hours of editorial work, there is only way I've found to avoid overwhelming depression brought on by all the cleaning and sorting that yet needs to be done. I can't take my eyes off the computer screen. No looking left or right. Just straight ahead.

If you read as much as I do, you've surely come across a book or two that leaves a lot of plot mess and clutter around at the story's conclusion. Maybe a mystery plot thread is never solved or a red herring is left hanging.

If you're a writer, you know full well the domino-effect dangers of making the slightest move in your story outline. You tug one little tile out of place and the whole structure turns to chaos. Maybe I should have reorganized my office the way I used to handle plot shifts--by charting a "map" of the changes down on paper and tracking what else needs to move and where.

I'll let you know when the domino-effect of my office move has finally stopped tumbling and my life and workspace are back in order again. (Check back next June for an update!) Until then, I'm staring straight ahead at my computer screen. . .and reading some great mysteries that clean up all their messes before I reach the end.


Mary Connealy said...

Maybe in your relentless quest to clean up the books I'm sending you, all your inner drive for order has been spent.

Sorry about that. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Just remember I am always available to be used as a 'bad example.'

Karen said...

Never apologize for the outward signs of an organized mind. I never do. . .as I stare straight ahead.

Susan Downs said...

Mary and Karen,
You're both making me laugh.
The office mess got to me so bad, I came down to my spotless living room and am working on my laptop.

Outward sign of an organized mind, huh? I'll have to remember that one. skd

Candice said...

I challenge you to compare pictures with me. Office disaster. Moving books from one set of shelves to other shelves. Dualing messy pictures. I'm pretty sure I'd win.

Mary Connealy said...

I think you're okay, Susan. If you start sitting on your roof with your laptop, then I'll worry.

Jessica said...

I'm horrible at cleaning.
That is, I'm a clean-a-holic. While you read my manuscript and tell me how perfect it is, I'll organize your office.

errr, bad idea?

Okay, then I have to leave because that picture is driving me NUTSO!!!


Susan Downs said...

So, Jessica, WHERE IS THIS MANUSCRIPT? Sounds like a great trade to me! :-) skd