Creative Chaos

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Yes, I confess this is where and how I work. My apartment is around 500 square feet and there’s no room in the bedroom for a desk, so everything happens right here! My excuse is it reflects my creative chaos or chaotic creativity. You’d be right in guessing I’m a pantser not a plotter. Despite very serious intentions, I haven’t yet written a manuscript that was well pre-planned!

However, I do have good intentions about being a little more organized in 2012. I have been particularly inspired by Chapter 5 in Harold Underdown’s ‘Bible’ for children’s authors and illustrators, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books”. I promise a full review when I have finished reading, but suffice it to say I am learning new things with each chapter. Back to chapter 5, where Harold recommends what we practically need to get started: Pens/notebooks nearby, research books to hand, filing system and computer back-up for all those manuscripts. My ship can certainly be tightened here. I HAVE to buy a portable hard drive and start backing up my files and despite creating some folders in ‘my documents’, they remain empty and I do have about 100 documents just randomly saved. At least my thesaurus, dictionaries and grammar books are on the bookshelf nearby. Well in such a small space, nothing is more than a few feet away! I may try and keep the table a little tidier too!

So tell me, but don’t embarrass me too much, how well organized is your writing environment? Can you work well in a little mess, or does it have to be spick and span around you for concentration? And while you are at it, tell me, silence or background music?

P.S. I am having some difficulties setting up an ’email sign-in’ on the blog that works. Could you please try and sign up through the subscribe button (by email) to see if this works? Thank you.


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27 Responses to Creative Chaos

  1. Love the glimpse of your working space, Joanna (especially the presence of the Mac. Yay, you’re a Mac person, too!)

    As for my own working space, a “little” mess doesn’t even begin to describe my current situation (and no, you’re not going to see a picture of its current state). I have good intentions, but I tend to attract piles of books and papers. Although I can concentrate on my writing with messes around me (though I’d love it if all were tidy and in place) I *cannot* work with sound around me. No music playing, no radio.

    As for the subscribe button, I couldn’t get the one in the sidebar to work (couldn’t figure out where to put my e-address) but will try the “notify me of new posts by email” checkbox below this comment box and see what happens.

    • P.S. The “Notify me of new posts by email” checkbox seems to have worked. I got a message to confirm my subscription. Will let you know if a post pops into my mailbox next time you post.

  2. Joanna says:

    There we go, and I thought your work space would be ultra organized, Beth πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for trying the sign up. The address in the other one goes on the envelope – it’s the only plugin I have been able to get up that I think works. If anyone else can recommend a WordPress plugin for the sidebar, I would be grateful!

  3. That looks a lot like my kitchen table at present…lol. I am happy anywhere, even on the floor. I am known to be a hoarder at times but I do like order, having said that, I take things as they are. Music or no music, or tv on, again, it doesn’t bother me, either way.
    Now about back up… I have some of my “stuff” on stick at present as my computor is huffing and puffing, complaining bitterly. It has about 2GB left before it
    Will try the subscribe down here as I can’t access your email at top of page.

  4. oops! forgot to tick the box…hehe.

  5. Joanna says:

    Diane, I prefer silence to write, but surprised myself by managing to write in a few airports while traveling last summer.

    Don’t delay on that backup!

  6. Backup. I really must do that. I bought a Time Capsule to serve as a wifi for my Mac and my iPod, as well as a backup… and I still haven’t done the first huge backup. I must do that tonight. If my “Mackie” crashed, I’d be in big trouble.

    I couldn’t seem to get the box with the little envelope to allow me to do anything for the email signup. It could be that I’m just less-than-wizard when it comes to technology.

  7. Joanna says:

    Yes, Mackie might not be forgiven if you lost a year of manuscripts!

  8. Tried the sign-up button and will see if that works. Haven’t received anything yet. Love your work space. With 500 sq feet, you don’t have a lot of choices. I have a desk in the den. But, it is also chaotic. I scribble notes on open note books, post-its, scraps of paper. I have stacks of books everywhere. And my very large bookshelves don’t resemble shelves, because I have stacks sitting on top of shelved books. And, like Beth I prefer to work in silence, but that’s not always possible.

  9. Joanna says:

    Pat, I too so need more bookshelves but have no space. My bedroom has piles of books on the floor. I too will always choose silence if I can, to write.

    Thanks for trying the sign up – we shall see – trying to get something to work is driving me nuts at the moment! Wednesday is the next post so we shall see.

  10. My son and I share a spare bedroom for office/additional play area. I go in cycles. Super organized and then revert back to my piles. As his naps grow shorter, I find myself forgetting the organization and just “getting what I can done.” I have a lot to do in 2012 and am trying to channel my “super organized” self. I receive your blog via email already, but signed in thinking this was a new one. I hope I didn’t mess mine up … πŸ™‚

    • Joanna says:

      Sending super organized vibes your way, Stacey, for 2012.

      Did you manage to subscribe with the ‘subscribe’ panel on the sidebar?

      • Yes. I did. And, you show up. It’s interesting FeedBlitz sends me an email with all the blogs for that day in one email. So your’s comes along with my Writer Unboxed subscription. Feedburner (I think) tends to send individual emails for all the blogs I follow at various times of the time. It varies with posting. This blog email showed up in my inbox at 1:57 AM on Tuesday.

  11. I love it! Your creative space looks happy and bright πŸ™‚ I have a teeny tiny office that is my “official” creative space. When I am really into a project, you will see books and paper and laptop spread all over the floor in there. I cannot write with music at all-I wish I could! I listen to music when I feel like drawing or painting, but I must have quiet to write.

  12. Joanna says:

    It is a very bright, inviting little room, Kelly.

    I am surprised none of you have noticed my black cat!

    • I am totally embarrassed that I didn’t notice Marmite! (In my defense, all curled up like that, it’s hard to tell whether ’tis a cushion or a cat…) And now I’ve insulted his beautiful black furriness.

      I was concentrating most of my attention on the coffee table and the Mac.

      • Joanna says:

        Well, Beth, Marmite and I are not offended as we recognize she is so snuggled tight that she isn’t very visible and could be a furry cushion!

  13. Susanna says:

    What do you mean chaos? Your work area is super tidy πŸ™‚ I won’t even show you mine – it would scare you πŸ™‚ I think I should read that chapter 5 – I’ve got all kinds of random documents saved in no particular order (except alphabetical because the computer does that for me) and no back up system. I know! *cringes* One of these days I’m going to be sorry if I don’t attend to that! I am a pantser who wishes she could figure out how to be a plotter, at least a little, and I am definitely a quiet not background music worker.

  14. Um, my space is not all that organized. Every once in a while though, I do straighten it up or at least try to. But I’m convinced my mind functions better when things are little loosey goosey. Or is that just an excuse.

    It’s funny though, because I wrote about this same topic on my blog last year:

    • Joanna says:

      Loved going back to your blog post and I am in total envy a) of your lovely, spacious desk and b) the order!! Of course if I had such a beautiful desk I am sure (ahem) I would also keep it that tidy!!

  15. Hi Joanna, trust me when I say that this space is neat and orderly compared to mine. Haha. I believe I’ve taken a photo once of my working area (usually in my living room) strewn silly with manuscripts, journal articles, and heavy-duty books. πŸ™‚ I’m pretty much buried underneath them all.

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