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Monday, November 18, 2013

Oz Pulls Back the Curtains--Where I Work

I think as my life becomes more chaotic--overlapping deadlines on my book series, a day job that has turned into Insanity Central, the holidays coming up--I've been overcompensating by trying to reorganize my work spaces, both in my home office where I write and my office-office where I try to survive the day job. Both had descended into a cluttered mess.

(Of course, I could also be procrastinating, but at least I'll have a neat work space!)

I'm starting to make a little progress, so I thought I'd share a little of my space here. It will forever be cluttered--clean desk, empty mind, I always say--but that's the way I roll. As long as the clutter has a purpose, I'm okay with that.

Here we go....

Join me on Chickasaw Avenue (which lies between Choctaw and Cheyenne and next to Iroquois...see a pattern here?), where the leaves are finally starting to turn and the college students across the street see no reason to actually use their driveway when they can park on the street.


Brain trust central. My computer is actually a Macbook Pro. I run it closed, so it's that silver thing off to the left. I have my big monitor, a microphone for whenever I try to do a podcast (that thing that looks like it came from George Jetson's house), a superdrive, and two external hard drives hooked up to it, and use a wireless keyboard and mouse. When I need to travel, I just unplug the peripherals, grab the Macbook and go. Oh, and the ever-present bottle of Powerade Zero and a hunky model photo for inspiration.



Next to my chair are one of six sets of floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves (48 shelves total and, yes, they were THE reason I bought this house). In this set of shelves are reference books for my New Orleans urban fantasy series, so you see lots of stuff on Jean Lafitte and Louis Armstrong and Katrina. There are also general writing references on one shelf, writing-related magazines on another, and, of course, the six or seven shelves that include TBR pile spillover.



Speaking of which, here is one of the 30 shelves currently holding (barely) the TBR Mountain--note that each shelf is stacked three books deep. It's insane. And it's why I'm trying to move some along. How many have I actually read? Maybe...5 percent? It's a sickness. I have good intentions.


On the back side of my desk (which is actually a large square wooden table) is my "studio." So half of the desk has my computer and writing stuff, and the other half, with its own chair, is where I piddle around with artwork. I do digital and physical scrapbooking, and am starting to do more simple illustrations and art journaling. (Obviously, I'm about ten ranks below amateur but it is therapeutic.)




My most recent scrapbooking page; in her younger days, my dog Shane's favorite "toy" was an empty plastic bottle. It's a long story.


A girl can't draw without her case full of Sakura pens. Right?


And, of course, one needs artwork and doodads for inspiration, such as a "piggy bank" in the shape of an old typewriter, or....


A piece of painted clapboard from a New Orleans artist, or....


A painting of Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, or....

A nice assortment of Mardi Gras goodies, like this "Boeuf Gras," a prized throw from the Boeuf Gras float in the Krewe of Rex parade.

And there you have it. I still have piles of stuff to organize, but I'm getting there. It's sort of spring cleaning come early.

Do you get on a cleaning and organizing tear when the seasons change....or just as a means of procrastination? Tell me a favorite organization tip (or just leave a comment) to win a set of three mystery books from that horrendous TBR Mountain of mine! (They're all different genres, although most have a paranormal element to them.)



43 comments:

  1. LOL. Suzanne! I'm exactly the same way. I never seem to see the clutter until I see it and am forced to do something. BUT I know where everything is. Don't mess with my piles. ;)

    Just this weekend The Scientist said to me (we're planning on building in a few years) "We'll need double the size of the house. 1/2 that I can live in and then... your half." (He's a neat freak.)

    So I wish I could offer tips, but that's not my area of expertise. ;)

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    1. Hahaha... That's funny & sweet that he would want to build you your own half of the house. :)

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    2. Ha--not my area of expertise either, Ava! And I'd totally take hubby up on giving you your own half of the house. You can be creative in yours, and he can be neat in his...I think they are mutually exclusive ;-)

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  2. Suzanne,
    Maybe it is a seasonal thing, because I've been on a kick lately too. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it. I spent most of the weekend cleaning our basement because my daughter is having a sleepover this Friday for her birthday, and because we are going to remodel the basement early next year. Well, now the rest of the house is a mess. Not sure how that happened. lol

    I really need to organize the pantry and my closet because they are both driving me nuts. I can't stand clutter, but it sneaks up on me. :)

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    1. Maybe it is the time of year, but I know what you mean...seems like before I turn a corner in the organizing, I make a bigger mess! Unfortunately, when I really get on a tear, my cleaning is the organizational version of a scorched-earth policy. If it isn't nailed down or already claiming a spot, it goes in the trash!

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  3. Wow, you are braver than I to show your workspace! My method of organization is to keep everything in two piles. It's ALL there right at my fingertips. I organize by just throwing away!
    Of course whatever I throw away becomes something I need the next day. Doesn't matter if I've had it for 10 minutes or 10 years!!

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    1. LOL. I thought if I took pictures of it, it would shame me into working harder to get it organized. (Remember, these are the "after" pictures from round one--you really wouldn't want to see the "before" shots!)

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  4. I will stay a mess until the current project is over... and then clean everything up. Currently my workspace is covered with post-it notes reminding of things I need to make sure I fix in my revisions. When I turn in the revisions, all those post-its will go away.

    I wish I had organization tips for you! I'm about to hire a friend to come over and organize my pantry, so I'm not the best person for any organization tips, except maybe... hire a professional :-)

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    1. Oh....hiring someone! I like that. Of course I'd have to clean up before I had them come to clean up. It's a vicious cycle :-)

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  5. I admit that I tend to find urgency in cleaning and organizing when I am procrastinating. But the therapy of seeing immediate results can inspire me to tackle the actual project I was trying to avoid in the first place. Don't know if this qualifies as an organizing tip, but I have always loved to read and have separated most of my books by category throughout the house. Work space has reference books on shelves nearest my desk, bedroom has top 10 books I am most interested in reading at the time near the bed and romances on bookshelves farther away but in the room, main livingroom has general fiction and mysteries, tv room has children books, open space kitchen/diningroom has cookbooks and food books in general, guest bedroom has travel quides and travel stories.

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    1. I like that idea, Lil! My TBR shelves are totally out of control, and as I've gotten busier with book deadlines I've found myself throwing books on the nearest shelves as they come in (I get a lot of ARCs and review copies because of my book blog). I found a book on deepwater diving, a cowboy romance, and an erotic romance piled together this weekend. *shakes head*

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  6. I go on a cleaning spree at the end of each book.. Not there yet…

    :-)

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    1. Ah...that might be it, Deb. I just turned one in in late October and that might be part of it...plus procrastinating on the one due first of December. And then first of February. The deadlines are insane, so I think organizing is one thing I have control over :-)

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  7. Great post! I go on a cleaning spree after I finish a manuscript because deadlines have me putting everything else on hold. So when a book is finished, I then need at least two days to play catch up with everything else. It's a vicious cycle that I doubt I'll ever break.

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    1. I think that's a part of mine too, Sara--I hadn't really thought about it but the cleaning kick started when I turned in the last manuscript. Although now, on week three, I do think I'm using it as a procrastination tool. At least it's healthier than stress eating and cheaper than retail therapy!

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  8. I go on a cleaning spree at the end of each book too, though I am guilty of using cleaning as procrastination too. But I try to keep an organized clutter going on, I know what each pile is for lol. My tip for cleaning is to clean one room a day (other than the daily dishes of course.) It works for the most part. But I do sometimes get behind.

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    1. See, you sound organized! If I'd do a little every day I wouldn't end up two or three times a year with the equivalent of a paper tsunami scattered through every room of the house.

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  9. I'm not organised at all. My problem is that I put stuff in (for me) logical places, so even when it's cluttered I can find anything I'm looking for. Anyone else who has to find anything I stored somewhere 'logical' can't though...

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    1. That sounds pretty familiar. I always know what's in my stacks and cubbies. If I ever try to "put it somewhere I won't lose it," I lose it :-)

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  10. i've been attempting to clean and organsie a little last month with teh first step being... creating my book listing by authors and series but doing so take so long that i'm behind my schedule and i had decided to do it then to rearrange books ( per series, authors etc together)but then i can't resit trying to do it after putting the title in the right page in my notebook and then while my pile seemed in disrray were logical to me know it's not anymore at all

    i planned to take them all from my room ( on my mother bed;) then pick each one, write it down and put it at its right place hoping it would be quicker that way ( even if it means 2days of works at least) now life happened and i ust take care of my mother since she can't move at all ( and teh scanner is only next week so stresful time time) and thus organizing my room is put aside^^ i do hope to finish it this year though to start in a bright clean place (but i regret starting to put ortder in it to have a worse result before the final one ( good i hope)

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    1. When things are stressful, though, don't pressure yourself to get things done like that. I know that I add to my own stress with my "projects." Family's more important!

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    2. family comes first yes and i have no trouble with that as long as i have a place to sleep the cleaning can wait ^^ but there are thing that aren't stressful for me like your " projects" so rememeber what i told it still stands ( even better my mother is getting cranky not doing anything so we are looking at old dictionnaries to see teh differences between then and now etc ^^ it's fun and will get useful ;) )

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  11. I'm lusting after your built in floor to ceiling bookshelves :) Ummm... I don't really keep a lot of clutter so I don't have to do a lot of organization. However, since I moved, my books are still in boxes so I need to get those all unpacked. I'm saving it for a cold/rainy day :) Thanks for a fun post!

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    1. Ah, a clutter-free life. I can't even imagine it! I'm such a packrat. And I totally bought this house because of the bookshelves!

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  12. That looks like my TBR pile. Plus what I have on my Kindle that I haven't read yet. I try to go through my books and donate ones I'm not going to read again twice a year but my pile never seems to get any smaller.

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    1. Oh holy cow, I wasn't even considering my unread Kindle hoard. The good thing there is I can stash them on the "cloud" and pretend there aren't hundreds sitting there waiting for me. I like the donation idea. (That's where my blog comes in, I guess!)

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  13. If I want things cleaned & tidied I make a list & post it up on the fridge. It glares at me until the list is complete.

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    1. Ooh, that's playing hardball. I have put cleaning tasks on my electronic to-do list, but I have gotten really good at clicking "reset deadline to tomorrow." Which sort of defeats the purpose :-)

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  14. I decide to clean for one of two reasons, either someone is coming to visit and I don't want them to know how messy I am, or I notice something needs cleaning and then it snowballs from there. I don't really have any organizational tips, I always have good intentions, but the organizing usually falls by the way side as more things come into the house, mainly books. :D

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    1. Yep, that sounds familiar--I've warned family members and friends that if they want me to answer the door, call first. I'm currently cleaning up more than usual....so that I can let a cleaning crew come in and clean for the holidays. That's kind of pathetic when you have to clean up before you'll let a house-cleaner inside :-(

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  15. I go on a cleaning spree when the mess just takes over or someone is coming over. Although, it seems to mostly just to be moved around to another place or the door is closed. Also, I do become more inspired to tidy up by reading postings such as this one. Your antique typewriter/bank is adorable. Most young people have never experienced a typewriter.

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    1. I know--things have changed so fast on the typewriter-computer. I remember back in the olden days when there were actual word-processing computers and they were fancy-schmancy! And yep, pending houseguests are my normal reason to clean.

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  16. I am not an organized person. Luckily I married a man who is. Whenever something of mine starts getting to messy he comes up with creative ways to de clutter. He's built bookshelves for my enormous to read pile, shelving system for my pens, paper, ect., hanging rack for all my pots and pans and a desk for my work stuff. Without him my house would look like a disaster area.

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    1. Ooh, I need to borrow him :-) I think another room of built-in shelving would give me plenty of room to grow my stashes of stuff.

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  17. Those look like my shelves! I have soo many books! and I just keep buying more! I get into spurts of cleaning, or I'll look around at all my overflowing book shelves and piles and think I need to get rid of some. Otherwise I'm not too messy. Its just my books. :)

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    1. Mine is mostly books as well. I have some clothing chaos because I've been dieting and changing sizes. The books, though, are out of control. Somehow, I manage to keep my craft/art area tidy.

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  18. I adore your bookshelves and would love a set of my own (books included). :-D I have several smaller bookshelves plus a wardrobe that has been re-purposed. My book habit is probably similar to your own.

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    1. It's a crazy book habit, then! It's become even worse since I discovered the one-click Kindle button. Dangerous stuff!

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  19. I'm very good at ignoring clutter (or dirt!) especially when there a good book calling my name. My cleaning & organizing usually takes either of the 2 paths of least resistance: 1. throw everything away - if it's not been touched for so long it means I don't need it
    2. it's been that way for so long - it's must be fine!

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  20. LOL--I like that philosophy, Linda! I do have that "scorched earth" thing going when I finally decide to declutter. I throw a LOT of stuff away, or donate it.

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  21. I tried to clean out my 14 bookcase by getting the Kindle versions of stuff I hadn't read yet. Now I have Kindle and print versions of them, 'cause I still go for the print copy when I want to shut out the world and immerse in a good book. I just can't seem to do that as effectively with an e-reader.

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  22. DH just bought me a bookshelf. so i'd moved some of my tbr to this bookshelf..and i still have some on my son's wardrobe . lol..
    and i do have some of my TBR piles on epub format on my son smartphone and my tablet..so i can read any time i like :)

    but still i LOVE the smell of new books !

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  23. Lol, thanks for this post Suzanne. I would love to browse your TBR someday. My own is just as bad though. I think there are over 2000 paper books in it.
    I have started cleaning bits and pieces of my house since my new windows arrived. Almost done, and now I am determined to do at least one little thing a day, no matter how small. It just feels good to accomplish something.

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