Under the Bed
By Cait Collins
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to clean the junk out of my house. I’ve made a start by cleaning out the closet in the master bedroom. Then I started to focus on the closet in my study. About a third of the upper shelf is loaded with boxes containing my “under the bed shopped but unpublished works.” I’ve started pulling down boxes and found some promising pieces as well as some real duds. The duds are in the trash, but the promising works I’ve decided to hang on to for a while.
If I have multiple copies of a manuscript I’ll trash the extras and keep just one copy. That way I can reduce the number of file boxes on the shelf. Once the clean out is complete, I’ll take a good look at the remaining pages and decide if the work is salvageable. If I determine the work to be worth saving, I will type it into a new Word document make making updates and changes as I go. Then I will destroy the paper copies.
Should I decide the story is no longer interesting to me, I will shred it, and then I will pack the empty file box into a larger box to take to Goodwill. Hopefully I will have an empty section of shelves when I’m through.
I don’t know about other writers, but cleaning out the mess and organizing the storage spaces helps me focus. My desk and work area at the office are relatively cleaned off. I don’t keep many photos and nick-nacks on my work station. I really do work best that way. If I trash the junk, I think more clearly. I can work smarter and better. I make fewer mistakes when I my work area is neat. However, the same does not hold for desk drawers. What I can’t see doesn’t bother me.