Thursday, March 28, 2013


Posted by: Ruth A Casie

"Three Rules of Work: 
Out of clutter find simplicity; 
From discord find harmony; 
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." 
Albert Einstein 

I’ve always been suspect of a person who has nothing on their desk. I remember sitting with an operations manager whose desk had a phone and desk blotter, nothing else, nada.

Not my desk. I have a blotter but that’s where the similarity ends. Being an empty nester, I waited about a year before I commandeered my daughter’s room, cleared out the last remains of her childhood, and made the room my own. It was fun to decorate just to please me. My design was simple, books. I surrounded myself with them, floor to ceiling. I did put in some necessities, a corner desk for the computer, printer, and a phone. I decided on a large library table, sitting catty corner, would be my work area. It seemed fitting with all the research and resource books I usually had stacked or scattered about.

My desk is usually covered with a small stack (or two or three) of paper/files for my different projects, research books (the ones I’m reading for pleasure are in a pile next to the sofa), a lamp (I hate using the overhead), pictures of the family, my favorite picture from the mound at Warwick Castle (for inspiration), and a bud vase with some tired lavender one of the kids brought back from a class trip (I did mention I’m an empty nester, a sentimental one). Then there’s the odd stuff that seems to magically appear, a news article my husband has left for me to read, a stress ball in the shape of a heart and my gold star paper weight for my first sale. It’s really a comfortable room.

Things seem to gather on my desk. Eventually I take time to sift through it and put things in their proper place whether that’s filing, rearranging, or tossing it out all together. Sort of like my writing.

I used to have a ‘clean as you go’ theory. Clean as in edits that is. Whenever I picked up my writing I would read the story from the beginning, no matter how far along I was. I’d look for the weak words, put in the five senses, etc. I always found something to edit. One day I laughed out loud. I had over 125 pages written, if I started from the beginning each time I’d spend more time reading than writing. Geez, I’d never finish the story. 

Now I use my cluttered desk theory. Put it all down, then tackle the edits and rewrite.  I’m organized, to a point, but find myself working to get the story written and not really worrying about overused/weak words or verbs, using the five senses, tightening up sentences, making certain all the hooks are in place, reviewing and editing the Point-Of-View, combing through for show vs. tell, well the list goes on.

In essence, I’ve de-cluttered my desk as well as my writing. What does your desk look like? 


  1. Wow, this piece of writing is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing these things, thus I am going to inform her.

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  2. It's so funny that you posted this today. I'm de-cluttering my desk right now. That picture up there? That is me.

    1. I wrote my blog a few days ago ... You should see my desk now. I'm taking a Margie Lawson class and have papers all over the place. Jeez, I just never learn!

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  4. Hahaha! I'm with Eleri, I'm de-cluttering my desk (and room) as well, so funny you should write this blog today. I hate clutter, which is doubly tragic because I am a clutterBUG! It's in my DNA; no matter how hard I try to stamp it out, 'stuff' just magically appears on my desk, or on the floor next to my desk, just waiting to trip me. Fortunately, I can write in the middle of a tornado least my writing doesn't take a whupping. :) Fun post!

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