Friday, May 31, 2013


Posted by: Susan Edwards

I know this is a strange question but bear with me.  I’m not a hoarder yet at the same time, I hoard.  Let me explain.  When it comes to my home, I am not a hoarder, a clutter bug, yes, but that is because:

1.       My house isn’t quite as large as I  need

2.       There is almost no good storage built into this home

3.       My mother lives with us and she occupies the master bedroom which I turned into a studio for her

But I do hoard—

Before I tell you what, or at least how this applies to this post, let me explain where this is coming from and going.  Years ago, I created and wrote my White series and to this day, I receive letters asking me to write more White books.  So recently, I decided to write another White book and make it a reunion story.  I plan to release it in December and my working title, you guessed it, A White Christmas.  At least that is the working title.  In order to tackle this project, I had to gather up all the material from eleven books and sort through—

A humongous stack of papers.

I emptied eleven binders, several file folders and printed out a small stack of more information.  As I sorted and read character sheets, time lines, synopsis, outlines, etc.,  I decided I didn’t need the notes and charts, and diagrams etc.  The conflicts and goals for each of those characters is over and done.  I do not ever need to glance at them again.  Which means I was keeping useless files of papers in a house without spare space.  So I went through ever last paper and put them in piles of Keep, Trash, Archive.    

The keeper pile was all the information on characters, ages, books they appeared in etc.  I decided to condense all important information needed for future books into one file on my computer in an easy to use format.  I included character hair and eye color or important bits of back story that I might need, though I’m determined to stay away from the old and build new lives befitting their ages and circumstances.

The archived pile is small—synopsis, short descriptions of each chapter and scene, maps, calendars etc.  I figure if I need to find something to check on, this is an easy and faster way than rereading the books.  And hey, there was one synopsis that is nothing like the book and with a few tweaks, it’s a new story!!  And then there was an entire subplot taken out of White Wolf that I may put up on the web.  Cool, I thought as I picked up the trash pile and tossed it into the wicker recycling basket.  I stared at it a moment with a thoughtful frown on my face—

Then promptly took it back out of the trash to go through it again.  Hmm, I should keep this, I might need this, what if--.  My trash pile shrunk and I had more papers to decide what to do with and then it hit me. 
Okay, I did a “Gibbs” smack to the back of my head and made myself really justify just what I needed and why.  Anything I kept from tossing out I could only keep until I made sure any info there was put into the new computer files then it went into the recycle bin.  And that worked.  But it really made me realize that though I am not a classic hoarder, I do hoard.  There is that nasty thought:  What if?

 Well, if I need something bad enough, my books are on my nook, on my computer and both have search features.  My answer to myself was: tough.  Get over it.

 I did the same thing with my SpiritWalker series.  Summer of the Eagle was previously available in print format.  When I decided to release it in digital format, I also decided to add deleted scenes back in and other new content.  That meant back to a pile of papers.  Luckily, I had just finished book two of this series so I was in much better shape than with the White series.  Still, way too much paper that I do not need.  Goals and conflicts are done.  Keep what I need to use these characters in supporting roles, but I don’t need to hoard a binder full of paper that I won’t ever look at again.  No more paper hoarding allowed!!

I have to go off topic just a tad.  I love this series and the sheer joy and excitement of creating a paranormal world set in a familiar yet not so familiar historical setting.  But the aspects of the magic and fantasy elements really hooked me and I wanted more.  A lot more.  So with a little bit of magic (Ha, try tons of hard work, blood and sweat), I have a new contemporary series that ties to my historicals.  Later this year I get to start the first contemporary book and wow, this race is going to take the modern world by storm!

Okay, back to topic.  One thing I noticed as a result of giving myself the freedom and permission to toss out all these old, outdated files, was the release of a heavy weight from my shoulders.  I don’t have to go back and reread and reuse.  I can go forward and create.  For a writer, this is heaven!

Autumn Cover Mock Up
 What a breath of fresh air for me!  And also for my old friends who are not the same people they were when I wrote their stories.   Of course, I am not the same writer.  I like to think I’ve grown and changed and am becoming the writing I need to be.  So I am delving into these two old series with a fresh and uncluttered mind and I am eager to see what grows and becomes.

 So, what do you hoard?  I also hoard clothes that don’t fit (tossed most of them) and yarn (Not in a hundred years will I ever use up all my stash).  Hmm, I can promise, I might trim down my yarn a tad but it’s mine, all mine <g>.
Looking forward to your comments! (photos not really my office)
Susan Edwards

New Releases
Historical/Paranormal/Native American
Seasons of Love Mini-Series

Summer of the Eagle/Digital Format /July 23, 2014  Orig. published in print.  New content added. 
Autumn Dreams/Digital Format First/Nov. 2014.  Autumn Dreams has never before been published.
White Series
A White Christmas/Digital Format First/Dec 2014.  This is a new addition to my White Series.


  1. I would be if I hadn't trained myself out of it, and the only way I managed that was by going totally paper-free in my study. Now my single file contains royalty statements.

    Oh. Just realised. Books. I can't throw a book away. Still a hoarder, then, but only for pleasure.

  2. Oh, my, yes. I had no idea how much random paper was hanging around my house until we moved three months ago. I threw out a LOT of marked up old manuscripts pages, but I also filed a lot. The files are currently sitting still in its moving boxes, waiting to be moved into the brand-new filing cabinet I bought.

  3. David--My mom and I have been slowly moving our favorite books to our Nook and then giving away books to charity.

    Nicole, I got rid of one file cabinet. I have two of the long, legal type drawers and 4 bottom drawers of my desk unit and that's it. If it doesn't fit, it's out of here

    I realized in doing this post that there is also all the research and craft of writing papers. My plan is to use an app in my ipad to put what I want there as I use it along with my computer.

    Oh, I hoard emails.... Gotta go and trash my folders...


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