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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Honestly, I'm Not This Neat Or Organized

by Hanna Martine

When Julia Quinn spoke at my RWA chapter's (Chicago-North) conference, she said something I'll never forget: that she was essentially a slob. That her office is a disaster and she doesn't know what half the stuff is on the shelves. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. Yay! Another writer like me!

For my first Lady Scribes post I thought I'd give you a peek inside my office, inside my own madness, then I realized that I'd picked up and cleaned the place not too long ago. Apologies for the neatness. It's not usually like this. I swear.

The cheapo desk from Ikea whose drawers don't open all the way. The coffee, tea and wine spills wipe up easily, though.

  1. I keep a separate notebook for each novel I'm working on. This was a huge step for me, because I used to just have one notebook, and just randomly scribbled notes I could never find when I needed them. See how far I've come?!
  2. My ancient, by Apple computer standards (ie, 5 years old) iMac. (A hint about Elementals book 3, Griffin's book, is on screen.)
  3. Wine! I'm celebrating turning in a book on 1/21/13 (Long Shot, the first of my Highland Games contemporary novels).
  4. Research books. "Treehouses of the World" (for a super sekrit project!) and "The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys" (just because--does this need explanation?).


One of two wine corkboards surrounding my desk.
  1. Mmmm Sam Worthington. This photo is how I imagine Jase, the air elemental introduced in A Taste of Ice.
  2. I have no idea who this woman is, but she was my muse for Dr. Kelsey Evans, the heroine of my novella, No Surprise More Magical, coming out in March in the Unbound anthology. Only my good doctor doesn't wear shiny Jane Fonda Workout stretch pants.
  3. A gorgeous, delicate, folded paper bookmark my translator bought for me during a trip to Tokyo. I was a fool and actually used it for, yanno, books, and it got worn down and the girl lost the beautiful flowers she was holding.
  4. I bought this flag in the airport as I was leaving Australia, after having spent a college semester in Perth.
  5. Haha--a Valentine's card my husband got me last year that always makes me laugh.

The bookshelves. Good thing they are metal and won't sag.
  1. Top shelf: books I've read and want to keep for some reason (because I love them, because I learn from them, etc.)
  2. My paper TBR pile. Seriously. It's two columns deep.
  3. Craft books and research books.
  4. Author copies of my own books.
Are you a messy or neat person? What do you keep around your desk? How big is your TBR pile? Anything you see in these pix you want to know more about?

41 comments:

  1. Hi Hanna!! I'm sooo excited to welcome you to our ranks here at LadyScribes - and what a fab first post!!
    I am SUCH a slob, it's not even funny. Sticky notes all over my walls, books coming out of my ears, ten empty water cups and packages of freeze-dried bananas that never quite made it to the bin. I have outlines printed, pictures of things that inspire me, a square of fabric from my beloved and much missed grandfather, a picture of DH when we were dating - oh yeah, and a computer in there somewhere!
    I'd like to say its only when I'm on deadline but...yeah, not so much ;)

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    1. A computer in there somewhere ... exACTly! Usually you can't see mine.

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  2. After spending 20 minutes looking for something on my desk at work and thankfully finding it, I can honestly say....slobby. But I justify it as always having everything at hand. It comes from never throwing anything away. I have found that the moment I do, I need it. Sigh...

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    1. Of course! The second you need it, it's no longer there ...

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  4. My office isn't this tidy, but I like the way you have yours organized. I think that's the ticket. If you can just stay organized. Is that mission impossible? :-)

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    1. Welllllll, to be fair, I only showed you guys two walls of the office. I was backed up against two file cabinets and an old painted dresser PILED with crap.

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    2. LOL. Yeah, I only show the neat parts in photos too. ;)

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  5. Hey, your tar pile is as big as mine. Lol I'm pretty slobby, but it's all I can do to keep the house and my little ones clean, so my "office" (read: sofa table by the couch) is always a mess. Glad to hear i'm not the only one.

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    1. Yay for big TBR piles? At least it means there are that many books out there that I *want* to read.

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  6. S.L.O.B. That's me. :) My office is woefully haphazard at the moment. I'm about to force myself into cleaning it up, because I'm getting a new piece of furniture to help with the organization, and getting rid of an eyesore. Oh, and my cats have a massive cat tree by the window in the office, so they can hang out while I work. Of course, half the time I've got one on the back of my chair and the other knocking things off of my desk and shelves to get my attention, because I'm ignoring her and not playing.

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    1. My cat tries to wedge herself on my lap but there isn't *quite* enough room between my knees and the keyboard. Still, she keeps trying. Persistent, that one.

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  7. Hooray for the newest Lady Scribe! Welcome Hanna!

    At the end of a book, when I'm on that last, obsessed push, my office is a mess. So is my house and everything else. But most other times, I like things neat. I might have piles of research books about, separated by project, but they are MY piles and I know how they are organized. So, I guess I'm a hybrid!

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    1. Well, the only person's organization that matters is your own ...

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  8. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Hanna! I can't tell you how nice it is to know I'm not the only disorganized hot mess. I try so hard to keep things neat and tidy, but it usually last a day, maybe two, then it's back to hoarder style chaos on my desk. And I love the corkboard with inspiring items! I keep telling myself I'm going to do that, but along with being a slob I'm also a master procrastinator. Eep!

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    1. Slob + procrastinator = genius (in my book)

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  9. You don't have enough research books. I need two bookshelves for all mine. Hubby came up to visit the other day and remarked we needed another bookshelf - he finally saw the two stacks of books sitting on the floor that I've been telling him about for a year. Problem is I've run out of wall space (my office shares the room with the guest bedroom furniture....if I got rid of the bed and dressers I'd have more bookshelf space).

    I have to kinda keep the office clean for guests so it's never a total mess. Although there is a lot of dust on some of the dresser tops. Who has time to dust anyway - it's my least favorite chore and can be skipped unlike cleaning the bathrooms.

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    1. The problem with buying the research books is that I likely won't need them anymore. "Becoming a Chef"? Doubt I'll make another character a chef, because I've already gone there. But it will remain on my shelf for a while, most likely. I've turned to libraries and the Internet recently.

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  10. I'm extremely neat when in comes to my home, except my office where I write! What does that say about me? Welcome aboard, Hanna!

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    1. That does say something! That maybe your creativity does better in chaos.

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  11. Love this post. I can't find the top of my desk at the moment. The only open space is the small area in front of the laptop and an even smaller area to the side for my beverage (coffee in the a.m. and wine in the p.m.) and a bottle of water. I purchased stacking trays to be better organized. They are hidden behind stacks of books and papers. I'll get around to cleaning it up again. I do this about every three months and it can last for up to a week (if I happen to leave town right after).

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    1. Right. Usually mine lasts about a week, too. I don't know why this clean phase has lasted as long as it has.

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  12. Welcome to Lady Scribes Hanna! I'm so happy you are here! :)

    My office is quasi-neat. It's filled with my desk, computer, bookshelves and other odds and ends. Plus a tv/dvd combo for the kids and some of their toys.

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    1. Wait. Whut? You can work with your kids in the room??

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  13. Oh my! I am a messy person and always fighting it. The biggest mess for me is my makeup drawer. It seems like every couple of years I will take a deep breath, weed through the dried up mascaras, empty lipstick tubes and grungy other stuff and throw it out. Don't know why I'm not more motivated. Oh wait. Yes I do! It's because there are too many good books that need to be read to waste time on silly stuff like cleaning! :-)

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    1. I am so happy to hear someone else has an entire makeup drawer too! I shudder to think about what's at the bottom of mine ...

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  14. Okay, Hanna, I was scared there until I saw the bookshelf. My desk never looks that clean or organized, even after I clean! :-) Congrats on managing to use separate notebooks for different novels. I try but always end up with notes in each for whatever brainstorm I might have at the moment, even if it's not in the same series/world! Oh well... they say disorganization is a quality of a creative mind, right? :-)

    PS. Loved Liquid Lies! I'm going to have to grab up A Taste of Ice soon :-)

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    1. Disorganization is definitely the sign of a creative mind. Disorganization, scatter-brainedness, walking into a room forgetting why you went in there, not finishing sentences because your mind has wandered somewhere else ...

      I hope you like A Taste of Ice. It's ... different than LL. :)

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  15. Yes, trust me. She's not this neat or organized.

    Signed,
    Her very particular little sister

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  16. Yes, trust me. She's not this neat or organized.

    Signed,
    Her very particular little sister

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  17. You guys are cracking me up! I think it's so funny- I'm the exact opposite. In my day to day life, I forget all sorts of things (like dr's appts!) and my house can quickly get messy and cluttered. But in my office? There is hardly anything out of place. It's all very meticulously arranged and kept neat. I can't work in a messy area! ;D
    Welcome to Lady Scribes, Hanna! It's great to have you here.

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  18. This is probably one of those moments when my mom will be glad that I use a pseudonym and not my 'real' name. ; ) I tend to clutter things up. Oh, I do so with great intentions. I make lots of piles. I pile up the bills. The non-essential mail. Receipts. Oh and coupons, I'll DEFINITELY use those coupons (which then expire in the coupon pile 4 weeks later). We lost some great, great coupons thanks to my clutter propensity. "sigh" thank you for this great blog. It's been VERY therapeutic.

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    1. Glad I could help. I'm available nights and weekends, too.

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  19. Hi, Hanna! Welcome to Lady Scribes! We are so happy to have you join us. :)

    My biggest issue is paper. I HATE to deal with mail and other pieces of paper. To me, they are a pain in the rump, so I pile everything up with the intention of going through it. Only it rarely happens. My friend has a saying that you should touch a paper only once, meaning to file it or toss it. I wish she'd do my filing and tossing. :)

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    1. I tend to stack all of my class notes on top of the printer when I'm writing,and just lets them sit there until the semester is over.It becomes quite topsy turvy through out the term

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    2. oh, the paper piles! THE PILES! yes, I am guilty of that too.

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  20. Hi Hanna, Welcome to Lady Scribes! The organization of my desk depends on what is going on at the moment. Most of the time it is neatly organized with everything having it's own spot. When I'm in the midst of a project it tends to look like a bomb hit it. I am a student as well as doing graphic designs on the side. If I am working on a design project I have to keep it straight in order to hold a drawing tablet and drawing paper. If I'm working on a paper for school then it's organized chaos and everything is everywhere. I don't have a TBR pile, I have TBR shelves! I have three full sized book cases that hold books which need to get read. I also have two smaller cases that hold my keepers. I just started your Liquid Lies and so far I'm loving it.

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    1. TBR shelves ... the thought makes me sigh with happiness. Hope you enjoy LL!

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  21. thanks for posting..

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