Monday, January 23, 2012

Let's see how many times I can use the word 'Everything'...

I love my desk. My grandfather made it for my mom... a long time ago. So it's old-ish and beautiful. Its big, too, and has a lot of drawers and space.

My Desk <3 After cleaning...
I put everything made of paper on my desk and Friday I cleaned it off. After a treasure hunt experience through several layers of parchment and pictures and well, weird stuff, I made an observation.

I keep everything. EVERYTHING. 

This observation is the bane of my existence. This is why I never actually see the shiny, chestnut brown, varnished, nice smooth top of my desk. This is also why I never see the bottoms of my book shelves or the floor of my closet. Or the top of my closet...

I'm getting a little better. I threw away a lot of stuff that night. Granted, most of it was college information that stressed me out and that I didn't want to think about but my desk looks better! It's a process, right?

The first step is admitting I have a problem. Okay, I have a problem. See? Progress.

a book that told me to keep everything :P
Although it's very good. :)
Sometimes I read books on writing. Almost all of them tell you to keep everything you write. I hate them. Because I'm really good at following that advice and I need encouragement like I need giant spiders in my hair. Ew. :/

My current manuscript began at the end of my eighth grade year. This May the idea will be three years old. *sniff* It's changed tremendously since that first draft I wrote for my awesome composition teacher but it's still quite delicious and I love it.

I do not love the fact that I have everything I ever, EVER, wrote for it since May 2009. Two big three-ring binders, at least two notebooks and a large stack of papers that get moved from bookshelves to desk, bookshelves to desk. I could take you on a tour - starting at the first few pieces of handwritten (eighth grader handwriting, mind you) scenes that blossomed into an actual story - and ending with 2011's Nano draft of my second book and the first chapter of the third. You can see every character change - every plot hole - how much my handwriting improved - every complication that I added just to give myself a brain malfunction - every brilliant back story... I even have some illustrations. I also have notebooks and papers and well, everything, for everything else I've ever written or brainstormed about.

It's bad. But is it really bad? If I had a room twice the size of what mine is now it wouldn't be very bad. I could have four more bookshelves. But that would be extremely bad because empty bookshelves are simply depressing so I would have to fill them up which gives me an excuse to keep more stuff which means I'll have four bookshelves of story ideas and yeah, no, that wouldn't work at all.

I can't watch Hoarders because it terrifies me. What if I end up like that? What if Mrs. Levine is crazy?! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
This is a serious dilemma!!! Should I keep it all? Or should I *gulp* throw it all away and de-clutter my desk/bookshelves/closet/floor? I love my three ring binders and notebooks and stacks of paper! But I love cleanliness too...

What to do... Is this just the way my life is going to be? Do all writers have this problem? Urgh.

 Advice is much appreciated. :)


  1. Can I say how much I adore this post? ADORE??? Because I am *so* there.

    You've seen my house. You know you're writing with the Paper Packrat Queen.

    OK. Maybe not the Queen. I've heard horror stories about Hoarders, after all. *shudder*

    But I do find that I need to go through and winnow out my papers from time to time, and toss the bits I don't use, consolidate old ideas, and so on. But the bones and marrow of an idea?

    You know how many three ring binders *I* own....and they're all full. :)

    1. I do enjoy adoration. ;D

      Mkay, I think I like this. Consolidation and all. :) Thank ya, thank ya! :)

  2. Mckenzie, great blog post. I love that your manuscript is delicious! I'm quite jealous, not of the mounds of things you describe, but that you have known from such a young age that writing is a calling you must. That is a wonderful gift.

    Save your notes, illustrations etc...but save in well labelled boxes in your closet. You deserve a cleared off workspace that is only cluttered by all the characters and stories in your head.

    Jo-Anne P.S. I'm going to look into getting some 3ring binders!

    1. Thank you! Its definitely taken a long time to actually figure out that it WAS a calling... which is weird because I love it so much. But I agree, it's a wonderful thing. :)

      Well labelled boxes. I like this too. I'm gonna go get me some boxes....

  3. I have binders and folders all over the place, notebooks full of handwriting, illustrations, maps and more...then there's the folders on the laptop (at least they're all in one place!).
    Definitely consolidate like Angela says, it's good to throw out the bits that are repeated, or copied, or unintelligible, but keep the rest. It'll be amazing to look through in the future!
    I keep hard (printed out) copies of my work, as I'm always terrified one day my laptop, memory stick and memory card will all die (probably all at once) and it'll all be lost, but that's my OCD kicking in!
    Love your beautiful desk.

    1. Oh goodness. I don't even want to think about the computer folders. Baha.

      I do need to make some more copies of things... safety is very important. O.o

      Thanks :)

  4. You never know when you might need that odd piece of something that you saved from something or other that time ago. ;D

    Aaaaaaand the thing to do about your manuscripts is to type them up, then recycle all that excess paper. Make sure you have a hard copy (floppy disk, CD, DVD, flash drive, something) off your computer (in case of BSoD or anything). ;D


    1. Guen... I love you. I don't know what that means but it made me laugh. :)

      I do find myself hunting through things every once in awhile.... Are floppy disks even around any more? That's such a funny name :)

  5. Great post! It's comforting to know I'm not alone in keeping EVERYTHING :)

    I have left you some awards on my blog!