Is it worth cleaning your writing office?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about cleaning your writing office…

Is your office (or your desk) relatively tidy? Or does it look like mine does right now — as if a paper-filled bomb had just exploded?

I admit this with some embarrassment because I am a big believer in having a tidy place for writing. I never want to become the person who has to move stacks of paper and books before a guest to my office can sit down.

But every once in awhile, the volume of work I manage exceeds my ability to handle it and I’m forced to ignore my usual standards and just let the paper pile up. Yuck! I hate doing this.

Perhaps that’s why a blog post by writer Jennifer Brown Banks resonated with me. Here is a list of what she described as the benefits for writers who clean up:

  • Time is money. Hours spent digging through piles of paperwork in search of important notes or paperwork could be more wisely devoted to pitching clients, writing blog posts, researching markets, and planning weekly projects.
  • A neat, organized workspace contributes to greater clarity, focus and comfort.
  • An attractive, uncluttered home office presents a more professional, competent image when meeting with clients on the premises.
  • Excessive clutter can invite pest infestation, which can be very costly to eliminate and carry unwanted germs and diseases.

Yikes! So far I’ve been able to avoid a pest infestation. But I know that I’m spending more time looking for notes and other paperwork than I should be. As well, the clutter is not helping my focus or comfort.

Now that my latest book (Your Happy First Draft)  is off to the designer, I’m going to take an afternoon to clean my office. My goal? To make my desk as empty and Zen-like as the image at the top of this post.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on March 18/19.

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