Monday was National Clean Your Desk Day.
I wasn't totally successful.
Things I didn't clear/put/throw away:
1. My trusty thesaurus (it's the blue book on the corner). While my laptop has a built-in thesaurus, it's not as comprehensive. My laptop version gives a few examples, my worn paperback gives more than I can use, but the right word is always there. Since I'm in the middle of revisions on two middle grade novels, that precious baby is staying right there.
2. That pile of magazines stacked next to my laptop. I want to read them, have to read them, need to read them. But... I'm reading several novels, writing, revising, outlining... I don't want to take time from them to read articles on PR, etc. The perfect opportunity to go through and read is during the commercial breaks of a TV show or the NFL playoffs. If my beloved Patriots don't make it through to the Super Bowl, there will be no excuse on a Sunday not to read those mags, take the useful info, and toss the rest.
3. That little red can.... of chocolate. As part of my New Year's goal is to work smarter, I've allocated myself one piece when I finish something on my to do list. And it can't be just anything, like washing the kitchen floor (done) because that's not important or related to my writing. Finish the blog post and query two agents? Score! Nothing like a little cocoa bean incentive.
4. Various papers (scattered). They are bits of novel notes that need to be filed or tossed once I've incorporated them into the respective novels. Another is an outline for a romance novel I want to write. One is my darn To Do List. I need to deal with them one at a time. I'm determined to clear my desk by the end of the month.
5. Old agendas (under that stack of white paper which is the latest mg novel). I go through my old agendas and transfer any important info into my new agenda. Things like birthdays, book festivals, conferences and awards submission dates, contact info I've scribbled down, and again, more novel notes. I don't rely solely on my phone calendar because that's crowded with stuff like doctor, dentist, music practice, volunteer, etc. appointments. And if I lose my phone (as I have been known to do), and don't have a backup, well, I'm just in a really bad place. Always have a backup!
I've made the deadline to have my desk cleared not in one day (that's just too crazy and impractical and stress-inducing), so by the end of the month is completely doable. That's the secret to writing or anything else- be practical, know or try to anticipate limitations, and work smarter.