posted by Lorraine Bartlett

I need to get going on the next book in my Booktown cozy series. Oh, I've already got a fairly good start, but it's not good enough. And I really need to work at it more...but I'm overwhelmed by PAPER.

Sometimes I think Sheila and I are competing in a "who has the bigger piles of paper" contest. Just when I'm sure she's winning, suddenly there are stacks of paper (and magazines and all kinds of other junk) teetering in my office.

What is it that makes these papers so vital? Okay, I've got notes for the book, notes for future blog entries. Notes on notes on notes on notes. And no lie, there are 15 post-it notes on my monitor, plus inspirational sayings, a bunch of business cards and lists of overused words I'm NOT to use in my books. (But they sometimes sneak in anyway.)

My so-called desk is the worst. There's only room for my mug of tea and 1/3 of my mouse pad is showing because I've got stuff like hand cream, tic tacs, cassette tapes, chapstick, a paintbrush, dental floss, highlighters and pens (not to mention the three mugs stuffed with other highlighters and pens...these stray ones wouldn't fit), tape dispencer, stapler, basket of stuff that's so full I don't even remember what's on the bottom; a big candle on a warmer (which hasn't been warmed up in months--but smells good anyway -- Lemon IceBox Cookies, if you must know). A big squirt bottle of Purell, bookmarks, a map of New Hampshire; tons of paper. Several issues of InSinC (Sisters In Crime newsletter), two lamps, my collection of other authors' promo postcards, price tags for stuff that hasn't yet reached my co-op booth, three calculators (because I can never find one when I need it), a blue teddy bear; Liquid Paper, a ruler, pads of post-it notes (yes, at least 3 of them).... Are you bored yet? Mind you, my desk surface is only 28 x 42 inches. Imagine what I could have on it if it was BIGGER?

Workplace2 This is how the desk is supposed to look. (Click on it for a larger view.)

How can I write my book amongst all this junk? The thing is, I can't. I'm going to have to take an hour and do something. And not just for right now, but because I'm getting a flat screen monitor in another week or so (yes, there's a delay), and the guy installing it will have to have somewhere to put it. My mother has a flat screen monitor and I noticed there's nowhere to put post-it notes. How will I ever rememer all my passwords if I can't put them on the monitor? Will I need to get a bulletin board? If so, where will I put it? I've got pictures over my desk that I don't want to move. (Oh, and my Harry Potter calendar.)

I have a ton of shredding to do, too. (And today is garbage day...must make time to reduce that pile.) I also have boxes of stuff for my co-op booth that needs to go into my storage area.

I cleaned up the office a few months back and it took WEEKS. Yes, days and days and days. While I've managed to keep a few square feet of the floor clear, it's not what I want or like. I even cleared out a big part of my HUGE closet (this room was once a bedroom), but I filled it up with other stuff I can't part with.

I'm a prisoner of my clutter, despite my devotion to Kim and Aggie from How Clean Is Your House?

Something's got to give, and it's got to start with the paper.

Too bad bonfires are illegal in my town.

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