Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Clearing the Decks! (I mean desk...)

Okay, I admit it, I'm not super great at organisation. I like to think I am, I do sticky notes really well, but sometimes my desk area gets a little scary. See evidence here:

It's not ideal, but sometimes life has a way of getting ahead of my good intentions, like in recent months, when I have had to polish my fifth book for a submission deadline, edit my sixth book for beta-readers, work on marketing for book 4, and prepare for the upcoming launch of my third book, with all the elements of marketing that involves. Oh, and prepare for several conferences. AND be mum to four and wife to one (😀) and all the other things life throws at me.

I get messy, and a bit disorganised, which tends to lead to stress. Trying to write or edit is a challenge when my notes are several stratum beneath the surface, and where I need them.

Clearing the decks/desk really helps me stay less stressed. Here's some things I've been learning to help in this department:

* Work ahead of schedule - procrastination only leads to pain. (It's a bit like that random sock that stays in the hall for days while people walk past it. Pick it up the first time and it won't bother you.) When you have a spare few hours (ha ha!), use them to get up to date with blog posts or those looming deadlines (you know, the ones that wake you up in the middle of the night as another thing 'to do' on that never-ending 'to-do' list). To quote a famous sportswear company: 'Just do it.'

* Sticky notes are my friend - yes, I have a lot, but having them in eye level helps me stay focused so I'm working to schedule and making sure I'm doing what needs to be done. And there's nothing like crossing another task off the list!

* Wall planners are cool - helpful for book deadlines but also for making off holidays, conferences, birthdays, etc. Again, one glance and I know where I'm at.

* Priority Placement - I keep the resources I use most on my desk, everything else lives (or is supposed to) in my not-so-little bookshelf of writing and Regency resources, or in the filing drawers assigned to each book.

* Clutter is the enemy - which is hard, as I have hoarding-type tendencies. Blank walls make me feel calmer, despite my love for inspirational grand English estate postcards. Sometimes I just have to put the loud music on and sort the treasure from the trash, then toss the latter into the circular file.

I'm still a work in progress (aren't we all?), but I'm finding these tools help me clear the decks, physical and mentally.

What works for you?

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and the upcoming release The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, published by Kregel, and available from Koorong, Amazon, Book Depository etc

Connect with her:  www.carolynmillerauthor.com    pinterest  facebook twitter


  1. I hear you!

    I haven't had anything like the deadlines you've had over the last year, but I still had a couple of major time-sensitive projects to fit into an already-full schedule.

    I feel like I've been on the back foot all year. I've just finished prepping a bunch of future blog posts, and that feels a lot better. Now to catch up on some of the other things I've let slide ... using your tips, of course.

    1. Love how we can schedule blog posts ahead of time - there's something so nice about ticking off the list! And it often feels longer like literal weight lifts. Have fun clearing the decks'

  2. Carolyn ... amazing. I don't know how you do it all. I'm not surprised there is some mess with all that you do. But I think most importantly there's little mess in that mind of yours.

    Congratulations once again on all your stellar achievements. I glimpsed Susan's review of your latest one on GR and she gave it a big thumbs up!

    1. Thanks Ian. Susan is very kind :)
      Yes, a clear mind is what we aim for, hence a constant need to declutter. Thanks for your encouragement!