Decluttering an Office and Finding Gold!

Decluttering an Office and Finding Gold !

I don’t know of any writer who doesn’t either have a collection of files—online and/or hardcopy.

Personally, I’m a hardcopy writer, meaning I want hardcopies of my material to read and edit. It’s how my career began, and I like being able to spread the manuscript pages out in front of me rather than switching screens or scrolling.

The problem is: the paperwork accumulates. Scraps of papers—even a few napkins—with ideas start piling up.

To make a long story short, I had the equivalent of three file-cabinet drawers worth of story-idea files—some started and some finished with a rough draft.

I had three shelves full of other projects in three-ring binders: screenplays, plays, three mystery series, and several how-to manuscripts, all having multiple drafts written. Some even had beta reader drafts with comments.

The files were arranged alphabetically by title. And, everything but the plays and poetry had been written in the 1990s. I was more prolific at that time than I had remembered. Extremely prolific.

I pulled every project, every file, every binder out of the drawers and off the shelves and started sorting it all, first by category, and then genre. What I discovered was that I had distinctive groupings of novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, academic papers & presentations, poetry, and nonfiction.

I found one letter from a well-known Hollywood production company where a staff member had written that I was a “writer to watch.” (Talk about gold!) Sadly, at that time I had to shift my focus from creative writing to academic writing. I had returned to school fulltime while working fulltime. There was no room for the love of my life then–screenwriting.

It took me three days to fully sort everything. From this sorting, I now have these pure-gold projects to work on:

  • A collection of short stories—romance and mystery—and short plays.
  • Screenplays to rewrite, a few others to plot and write out for contest entries or publication, including a horror idea that I started on Halloween night in 1998, scaring myself so much, I had to put it away and have only now taken it out again. Another new genre is a time travel romance—a story I’ve been wanting to tell for decades based on an idea that came from a song.
  • Book-length mysteries! Two series and a stand-alone.
  • A collection of my paranormal experiences, which I started as my Into the Core blog a decade ago with the intent of turning those blogs into a book. The blog is ready to be turned into a book as there are so many other blogs first-draft written.
  • A collection of how-to books. Ideas I had decades ago. At the time, I didn’t have the authority. Now, I do. NOTE: I’m now nearly finished writing the first one, hoping to publish it yet this year. If not, then at the beginning of next year.

I’m going to become that “writer to watch” again.


About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
This entry was posted in #amwriting, Motivation, Persistance, Publishing, Writer at Work, Writing Behind the Scenes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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