Spring Cleaning…Or, How to Get Your Writing Space Organized


It’s spring! Well, close enough. Around here it’s eighty degrees, and time for some organizing.

When I looked at my desk the other day, I felt my spirit deflate. Not because I wasn’t thrilled to have time to write, but because there was so much clutter. Why? Because when ideas come to me, I jot them down. When I’m out, I simply whip out my phone and open my notes. Easy. Neat. Organized.

So what the heck happened to my desk?

Well, first off, I’m happy to report I have many projects going at once. To my artistic brain, this is wonderful news. To my Type-A personality, this can drive me batty. So…I began jotting. I jotted down so many character traits, ideas, must-dos, and marketing reminders, I was elbow deep in little pieces of paper with scribble all over them. And that’s how I came to see them—not as great ideas for my next book—but rather, scribble.

So, what did I do? And what can you do to help organize your writing space?

I went old-school. I love my computer and phone, but at my desk, I still jot notes longhand. So, I purchased four notebooks that, for once, I didn’t let my girls have. Next, I got large pieces of poster board, and a large calendar ONLY (and that’s the key here) for work. Family info has to stay on another calendar in another room.


So let’s get started:

1) I labeled the notebooks with titles that worked for me and added sub-sections.

Spiral Notebooks

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

First is “General Info and Promotion.” This is where my “jotting” goes now, and each entry is dated. But not my book ideas—those we’ll address in a moment.

Next is a “Must-Do” notebook. You know the “must-dos”—things you have to get done, such as social media, etc. This notebook has a subheading of “Places Must Be” – websites. If you’re like me and writing in different genres, (THE LETTING series is YA/NA but my new series—The New York Artists Series—is for adults only), you will have new sites you have to join etc.

Next, is “Chat/Meetings/Connections.” This is where I jot the notes from on-line chats, local RWA meetings, and list the people (and their contact info) I meet when out and about.

Finally, I have “Books/Blog Ideas.” Yup. Instead of all of those white pieces of computer paper piled high, now my thoughts go into this notebook. I use it in conjunction with my phone.

I have one other plain notebook—with no cover—for quick thoughts that later get transcribed.

sticky notes

2) Sticky Notes.

Sticky Notes. Can we say enough about them? Sticky notes are on my wall next to me with my weekly schedule and immediate reminders—MUST DO TODAY sticky notes go on my computer.

3) Large Calendar.

Okay, pretty self-explanatory. But I use color-coded markers for different books and different promos that are running. I clearly label my blog appearances and when someone else appears on my blog.

4) Large Sheets of Poster Board.

Large sheets of poster board. These work like whiteboards for me, only better. I create master lists for each book, and check-off as I go. When the board is full, promo is over, etc. I store them behind an armoire in my office to refer to later.

Finally, strange but (maybe) interesting tips. emoticon

*If your computer is near a wall, keep anything that needs immediate attention away from that wall. I don’t know why, but papers that start to accumulate near a wall are easily forgotten. But hey, you’re not going to accumulate any more paper, right?

*Color-coding is so helpful. Buy those multi-colored highlighters for your calendar and notebooks. Your eye doesn’t get bored, and can focus on separate tasks easily.

*If you can, cover your walls with positive thoughts and achievements. I have my book covers hanging, and emails I have received that really mean a lot. I don’t frame reviews, but if it works for you, go for it! I hit Ikea for cheap frames and buy several at a time. Frame and hang anything helpful to you.

Finally, do what works best for you! I hope this helps. I’ll be exploring more about organizing when I tackle the topics of social media and such. For more info on my books, come visit www.CathrineGoldstein.com .

Thanks! Happy Spring, and Happy Reading!


About cathrinegoldstein

Author of romance and YA fiction... View all posts by cathrinegoldstein

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