After finishing a second draft of my current WIP, a paranormal romance I’m calling Royal Flush, I started preparing myself for the next go-round. The manuscript showed some gaping plot holes, a few inconsistencies in story, and places where I need to finalize some of the more interesting details. Since this book will be the first in a series, I also need to get a handle on the overarching details that will carry forward into future installments.
A trip to our favorite local office supply store allowed me to pick up some basic supplies. I’ve got red pens and highlighters for proofing and editing, a portable file to organize my notes, colored magnets for my white board calendar, and day-of-the-week binder clips to separate my manuscript into manageable chunks. I’ve tossed all the old dried-out pens in my cups and replaced them with fresh ones.
Digging through the basement turned up a nice ‘new’ set of drapes for my office window; with autumn on the horizon, the changing light is causing glare on my computer screen while I work. My shelves are now neater thanks to a couple hours spent gathering all my writing books into a ready reference area right next to my desk.
I’ve placed a few things on the shelves across from my desk: a sign that says “ready, set, write,” a quill pen and inkwell, and family photos I can stare at while I think. The supports of the high shelf above me (where my creepy dolls stare over my shoulders while I work) dangle lengths of twine where I attach reference photos and note cards with clothes pins. Once I get a frame, a sepia-toned map will also go up on my wall.
The finishing touch to my office area is the old boom box that plays an oldies station while I work. I’ve also got old CDs of classical music that helps set the mood for certain scenes.
Housekeeping like this is a means of procrastination, of course. Yet getting my office into shape as I progress through a writing project helps me to get a handle on my story. This is also a good way to use up some of the excess energy that builds up after I’ve spent long stretches at the keyboard.
Now that everything in my office is organized again, I’m off on the most crucial part of my writing process – cleaning up the mess I made of my story during my first edit!