A Busy Beaver’s Unorganised Wood Piles

Diane Lynn Tibert
The clutter can wait. My kids' favourite cookies can't.

It’s time. I’ve put it off long enough. My butt has to get in gear, my fingers have to start walking and my procrastination has to be slain. Regardless of how busy my life is, I must seize my disorganised mess and lynch it before it takes me down.

Being unorganised is about to drive me batty. I’m one more lost manuscript away from throwing myself on the floor and wailing like a three-year-old whose sibling ate the last mud cookie.

Yesterday while looking for a password – a very important password – I was left going through one stack of papers then another. After searching my day-planner – knowing I must have recorded it somewhere – and several other ideal locations, I flopped down in the chair defeated. The password was gone, never to be remembered because my brain is filled with the many things that I must do before I die. Of course, that might not be for fifty years, but I can’t live like I have all the time in the world.

Certainly, I don’t want to spend fifty years looking for things that should be at my fingertips.

It would be easier if I had a room, a wee one even, to hoard all my writing-related things, but I don’t. One is planned, but I don’t see it materialising before I lose something very important that hurls me over the edge of insanity. Instead, my material – computer, printer, paper, books, pens, manuscripts, dictionaries, documents and files – are spread throughout four rooms and three closets.

Time is at a premium between writing, working, house chores, my children, homework, horseback riding, art class and swimming. I attempt to place papers in the proper pile, but usually, the piles all come together. When it gets tall enough, I move it off my printer and onto a shelf. Then a new pile starts to grow on the printer. I have no idea how many piles I have; they eventually land in a tote where I promise to sort them but never do.
It wasn’t always this way. I used to be quite organised, perhaps a little over the top like Julia Robert’s husband in Sleeping with the Enemy. Everything was labelled and had its place. But my kids have worn me down, taken up valuable space that would have otherwise gone to neatly arranged shelves and cabinets and used up time I’d have spent putting everything just right.

Since I plan on keeping the kids – they’re too cute to give away – I must learn to organise around them. If I throw out everything no longer needed – such as those toys they haven’t played with for five years J — I might be able to create space for a tall bookshelf. Maybe I could empty out a closet and find that manuscript of the western novel I’d written fifteen years ago but haven’t been able to locate for five years.

I admit I’m a clutterbug. I have good intentions of sorting and organising but something always comes up – sketching kittens with my kids . . . taking in a movie with my sisters . . . building snowwomen . . . camping . . . fishing . . . beachcombing . . .

Has disorganisation slowed your progress? How do you keep all the writing-related papers – queries, rejection/acceptance letters, guidelines, manuscripts, notes, research – in order?

4 thoughts on “A Busy Beaver’s Unorganised Wood Piles

  1. Diane, I can relate to not being organized. Or maybe what I have is organized chaos. Either way, it takes me too much time to find things that are not right in plain sight or in their actual folders or assigned places. I have too many interests and projects on the go and they all seem to overflow into one mixed up clutter … er, blend. Paper is the worst component in that. I have tried to correct that, even having my husband build me lovely shelving units, and now I have to employ them efficiently. I believe that once I get things all into a better order I will feel less stressed.
    I enjoy your posts, even though I don’t always comment. 🙂 hmm I think you may have given me a spin-off idea for my own blog.


    • I feel efficient and free when my rooms are uncluttered. It’s like weight lifted off my shoulders. When I can walk to a book shelf and immediately put my finger on the book or file I need, I feel as if I’m moving forward fast.

      I keep telling myself, one day . . .

      And maybe one day I will be organised again.

      Thanks for commenting, Lynn.


  2. Now that the kids are moved out I have a huge big office. I chose the largest bedroom when I moved my office upstairs. Does it make me anymore organized? Well, I’m still spending quite a bit of time looking for things. Of course when know something is in the house I know it will eventually show up.

    About a year ago I went on a shedding frenzy and got rid of several file folders bulging with rejections. It felt good and I don’t miss them at all. After so many years of gathering them up and saving them I decided it was a very negative thing to do. I believe I’m making progress.


    • I’m jealous. I dream of my own office, one with floor to ceiling shelves for my books. If I had it, I know I’d be organised. I’m a neat nut when I’m able.

      As for those rejections, they are my badges. When I’m famous and well-published, I can show them off. I only have about a hundred or so. I have even kept the query letters that go with them. When I read the very first ones I’d written, they make me laugh. I’ve learned so much since then.

      Thanks, Laura.


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