Friday, May 28, 2010

Cassy's Corner: Getting Organized!

Cassy’s Corner

First, I want to let folks know that beginning in June I’ll be moving my “day” to Wednesday. We’ll have guests on various days during the week plus on Fridays. We are hoping this will even out the postings plus offer all you dear readers more diversity. Mary has taken command (thank you, girl) and posted the guest list. More guests will be added within the week. Keep coming back to check. You’re not going to want to miss anything!

Second, I thought I’d share my latest fussings. I have been trying to organize my office. I work from my home so my office is really the battle station for the house. Bills come in, junk mail, notes to myself such as “don’t forget to call the plumber,” or “why hasn’t the rug been delivered yet?” The list goes on.

Of course, then there is my writing. (Yes, Christine, dear agent, I am writing!) So that means I have piles of notes, cards, pages, books and stickies. You might remember that I’m the queen of stickies. When I’m dead and gone my office could become a satellite store for Staples.

Then, there are my computers. I have a desk top, an old lap top and a new lap top. Well, they are supposed to communicate via the Airport in the Mac system. Wireless. Some days they are fantastic. Some days they refuse to sync with each other like some children on the playground. I move among them (don’t ask why, I just do) and on a Monday all the files are right there, no problem. Two days later—poof—they have decided not to play together. I am sure it’s my fault, that’s what all mothers say. But, really, how many old files, old emails, old bookmarks do you have living on your computer?

So, where I’m really going with this is: organization. We all have beyond nutty lifestyles. We all are managing more than we probably even realize. How do we create systems that help us rather than control us? I started a filing system that I was pretty darn proud of. Well, it was so good it took over. I was working for my system.

My husband and I like things pretty neat and tidy. I dread the day he opens one of the closets in my office and discovers the stacks and piles that “keep” my office neat and tidy. I’ll be found out soon, I’m sure.

What do you do? How do you keep office and writing separate from home and details? How do you work when the phone keeps ringing, and that means new notes to yourself about what you now need to remember to do? Shall I keep listing the challenges? Chime in here, people. I know we can collectively pool a wonderful list of solutions.


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Great post Cassy!

I have lots of notes that I write while I'm writing ;-) Then when the book is done, I type them up into a file for that book which then goes in a big file with all my files for that book...LOL!

I actually keep my personal notes upstairs by the phone so they don't get mixed up with my office notes. Then again, the main family computer is in "my office" so everyone seems to use that room.

I tend to mostly work off my laptop and netbook upstairs (with lots of the hand written notes as I go along.)

Guess I'm not much help, when you figure out the answer, let me know :-)

PS I also let the phone ring when I'm working (the answering machine is on so if it's important enough, they will leave a message. I only answer my cell if the school calls.)

Cassy Pickard said...

Kari: You make me laugh. Notes that talk to notes that talk to notes. In trying to make things more simple, I think we might have gone the other way.

We have a new car that doesn't need the key plugged in- would you believe!- my daughter came home from medical school and I had a panic issue that she'd leave town with my car key in her pocket. We established rules that no one would use the non-key function. Now how crazy is that? One man told us he dropped off his wife at a mall. She had the key in her bag. He had to call her to bring it back for he couldn't turn off the car and was driving around with no way to leave the darn thing.

It's all about the systems that are supposed to help us, but????

Liz Lipperman said...

My daughter calls me a closet organizer. I am impulsive, like spur of the moment stuff and hate lists. Oh, I write them. I just don't use them. Something about once it's on paper.

Here is the one thing I do that I think is my saving grace. Most of you know I write long hand. I am a horrible typist and spend too much time trying to decipher my stuff on the computer. I have a notebook for every single book or wip I have. I bought it at an office supply and it has pockets and folders and even a ring binder. Everything I need to know about my story goes here - the synopsis, the character profiles, all the research material, even critique notes. I keep that handy every time I write or edit.

I also have discovered a flash drive - I know - welcome to the 21st century. I keep it plugged into my hard drive and save every time I finish writing for the day. (I save to the computer every few pages.) I tell you this because I had a computer crash in February - lost everything. Thankfully, my agent saves everything and was able to send all my stuff. I had most of it on CD, but some of the newer stuff, like a chapter for the second book in a series - I didn't. How she keeps up with all her clients is beyond me.

Anyway,my earth-shattering tip of the day no matter how you organize - Back up!!!

Great blog, Cassy and Mary, you did a great job on the line up.

Lindsay said...

And I thought you were so organized. Oh well.
First off-move to Italy and don't tell anyone.

Two-if that doesn't work then start weening yourself off three computers. I know it's going to be hard and you'll probably have some withdrawal. Keep one and only one for the house and related things. The other two should be dedicated to writing. One for the actual writing with the second as a backup. And while we're on the subject of backup, don't rely on computers talking to each other, as you've learned. Use a thumbdrive or some such devise to transfer the work. A little time consuming but guess what-if all your computers die you've still got a backup on the portable drive.

Third-if you write at home the make the office your WRITING office. Not the all purpose office. Find some pther place to do the household stuff and related notes. To much clutter around you can clutter the already cluttered mind. That's why I don't write at home, yet at least. Plus with a dedicated writing office-think of the new tax break you can get.

That's it for now but you know me. I'll be back.

Cassy Pickard said...

Liz and Lindsay: Great tips. You both are right. But, old habits are hard to break. I do use a thumb drive and travel with it in my jewelry case. Thank God for when my computer was stolen in Pisa, Italy, I hugged that little thumb drive and held it closer to me than my pearls.

I think you are right about using a dedicated computer and not trying to mix jobs all on one. Sheesh, who would have thought it would come to this?

Lindsay said...

And when you travel, if the thumbdrive has a cord put the darn thing around your neck. Luggage can be lost, stolen or misplaced. Flying, driving it doesn't matter. It's safer next to your skin then in a case.

Terri said...

I realize this is off topic...but...

Received my awesome tote bag from Kari today. It's roomy and gorgeous! Thanks so much, ladies!