How to Organize Your Desk to Aid the Needs of a Writer

Three Methods:Writing By HandWriting by ComputerIn either case

Every author, no matter what age, skill or circumstances, needs a workspace. Some authors prefer to work by hand, while others enjoy creating by computer. This guide will show you several means to maximize your writing prowess by simply organizing your writing space in a better way.

Method 1
Writing By Hand

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    Take everything off the top of your desk.
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    Organize all papers into piles. Toss anything you don't need. If you need to keep papers, purchase a cheap file cabinet or box, and file them there. If the desk surface is large enough, frequently-used paper may go in baskets, binders, or racks on top.
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    Clear off the knick-knacks, too, and find a better place for them. A trash can is the ideal spot. A few objects that are meaningful or inspirational could occupy the back corners or hang on a nearby wall, but don't trade work area for trinkets.
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    Store your pens and pencils in a mug, or even better, a desk organizer.
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    Toss any pens or pencils that don't work, have been broken or chewed beyond recognition, or simply are uncomfortable or unpleasant to use.
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    Arrange paper, notebooks, wastebasket, and other frequently-used items within easy reach.
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    Buy a drawer organizer with many compartments. This can help to corral paper clips and other small items and still keep them handy. If your desk has drawers, though, take a good look at what's in them. If you don't need it for your work (pennies, loose screws, last year's birthday card), toss it!
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    Replenish your supplies when necessary.
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    Get a good light for the top of your desk. This is essential for writing at night. Consider getting a desk blotter. It will protect the desk from ink and offer a clean surface on which to write. Many desk blotters are printed with calendars, too, if you wish to track your schedule or progress.

Method 2
Writing by Computer

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    Clear all junk on your desk. If your computer is a laptop, set it aside.
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    Relocate anything that casts a shadow, to reduce distractions (besides the computer, of course). Also arrange the screen and surrounding lights to avoid glare and reflections. If the computer's terminal is next to the monitor, you might want to move it to the area next to your feet, if possible. This way, you can only see the monitor, leaving less room for distractions.
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    Look on the desktop of the computer itself, and remove all unnecessary icons to the recycle bin/trash, or to your Documents folder, where they will be out of sight. Install a desktop search tool, such as Google Desktop or Copernic, to find ideas within notes and writings on the computer. If you have a Mac Search on Spotlight on a Mac.

Method 3
In either case

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    Get a nice chair. It's OK to splurge on the chair, since you want to be as comfy as possible. Adjust the chair and desk height if possible so that they are comfortable.
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    Locate the desk in a quiet location, where you can concentrate. Have a clock nearby. An inexpensive one will do.
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    Keep a notebook or legal pad close at hand to jot ideas and organize thoughts.
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    Locate the desk lamp so that your hand does not cast a shadow on your writing.
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    Keep reference materials nearby, too. With bookends, a dictionary, thesaurus, and style guide could occupy some desk area. If you refer to many books while writing, place a bookcase nearby, or place the desk in or near your library.
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    Regularly set aside time to address (toss, file, or handle) the things that stack up on a desk, particularly mail or email.
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    Consider carrying a portable "desk" if you like to write elsewhere. A pen and notebook or stack of index cards will do. Briefcases, backpacks, and covered binders could all contain a more elaborate on-the-go setup.
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    Finished.

Tips

  • When clearing away a desk that has been messy for a while, dust or wipe clean the desk surface, too. A light mixture of water and dishwashing fluid will suffice.
  • Keep your pencils sharpened at all times. There's nothing more annoying than a blunt pencil.
  • Get a file cabinet.
  • Clean your desk every 2 months.
  • Keep a 'To Do List' nearby.

Article Info

Categories: Better Writing