Friday, August 24, 2012

My desk

This is my workspace.

Today I cleaned up my desk. It was a disaster yesterday. I was pushing things out of the way trying to find stuff. It was a paper riot.

Then the Beefcake put a letter tray on the wall for me. I highly recommend a letter tray on the wall; I now have somewhere to put my immediate needs papers. I've had file folders beside my desk for long term stuff - owner's manuals, receipts, articles on how to not kill the avocado tree - but anything that needed doing in the next few weeks got thrown on the pile. I did the same thing as a teacher, and that's why nothing ever got done until someone reminded me to do it. It's not an organizational system worth having.

So how could I expect two write in a spot like that? I always felt guilty that I didn't get more organized and worried that I'd forgotten to mail in some important piece of paper. It was difficult to feel relaxed and dedicated to writing when I was so frustrated by my growing mess of papers.

Enter the letter tray. And now I have three categories of papers that are not on my desk. If I have somewhere to put the papers, they don't end up in a pile on my desk, and therefore I can find them when I need them. It also helps to open the mail and sort it right away. These are things I'm working on. Hopefully I can keep this desk clean from now on, because it really does make writing so much easier.

Now, if you look at the picture, you may be alarmed by how many composition notebooks, index cards, glue sticks, and paper clips I have. Do not be frightened. Remember that I was a teacher. The composition notebooks are a result of meetings. Back when LAUSD had money, they would give us a notebook at every meeting so we could take notes. I'd take like one page of notes, mostly consisting of haiku detailing how bored I was, and then shove the notebook on this shelf. I pull them out when I go to story meetings and stuff.

I don't know why I have all that glue. Maybe one day I will make a collage.

Painting the wall was the first thing I did as soon as we moved into the house. I picked the most soothing, beautiful color I could find so I'd always feel comfortable staring at the wall.

My laptop is six years old and it still gets on with its bad self. Unfortunately it is out of space. I have a shitload of software and no room for more, so I have to keep all my photos and screenplays on the external HD, which is good because you never know when your shit will implode and delete everything.

I got rid of most of my screenwriting books, but there are a few still hanging out up there. Joss Whedon makes a strong presence. The book about comic writing was loaned to me and I keep forgetting to give it back. I highly recommend Elements of Style for Screenwriters if you're new to the format. It's a good alternative to the Dave Trottier book.

And that paper holder to the right, invaluable for rewrites. I always print out the notes and then just go through in order.

I always have a glass of water, a tube of chapstick, and my phone handy. I'm very big on mis en place for writing. I don't need to have an excuse to get up once I get started. I generally get up to pee, get more water, or figure out why the dogs are trying to throw themselves through the window (usually to get squirrels or the mailman).

And that's more that you ever wanted to know about my workspace.


  1. May be a strange question but where do you keep your printer and what kind? I have an multi-purpose ink jet but thinking about purchasing a laser because it's just faster and cheaper on ink(?)

  2. It's out of frame, but it's to the right on a printer stand. It's a black and white HP Laserjet I've had forever but still works well.

  3. Same problem here with paper piling. I employ the LIFO method: last in, first out. And too bad for the stuff at the bottom of the stack. That's how I accumulated $65 in Target late fees...

    So, letter tray = ingenious!


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