Help Needed For Organizing a Writer's Desk

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I feel like I’ve tried it all, but I’m sure that’s not the case. I’ve used hanging files – you know, the fold-out kind that look like an accordion file when folded up but drops down into a vertical hanging file? I do have drawer pull-out files, but which ones to use for the drawer and which ones for the desktop? I’ve tried the “piling system” in lieu of the filing system, and it only works for a very short time before the well-categorized piles – complete with labeled clip – become unruly, ungodly, uncategorized piles. There is very little shelf room but I have a small one over my desk with a few stackable files and books on it. And of course a picture of one of my children. Several people have mentioned using whiteboards especially for brainstorming. My white board is about 8 x 10” and just has a list of pitch ideas and magazines or publications to which they could be sent.

Unfortunately, I’m the type of person/writer who needs to see the work or it’s easily forgotten – out of sight, out of mind. But I can’t stand a cluttered desk. Where’s the balance? On top of this dilemma for writing work is the added need to organize and manage paperwork for a busy household of three boys (oh, and a husband and a rabbit – the rabbit has only one, easily-managed file).

I tend to be a magazine junkie who especially loves the storage, organizational and home decorating ones – both for the aesthetic qualities of design but also to find ideas of how people organize and live their lives in their space.

And where do you put all those clippings and other gathered items for ideas for future articles? You can’t put them all in one file nor can you put them in separate files with the name of the idea on them — you’d have 500 files…ay-yay-yay! 

I’d love to hear from other writers out there who are either naturally organized, for whom this kind of thing is just obvious, or those of you like me who’ve learned the hard way of trial and error but who have found success! We can all be so much more creative if we have systems.

 I’ve probably used the word “organize” way more than any print publication would ever allow – that is why I love Bukisa and similar publishing websites.


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