Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring cleaning - office style

I promised myself that when I sent Book 5 to my editor I would take a day to clean out my office. Well, yesterday was the day.

This is what it normally looks like. 

I'm pretty neat and relatively organized, but that's only because I file everything away. Thirty years as a secretary/administrative assistant creates some habits that are hard to break. As a result, I tend to save and categorize everything -- just in case I might need it. LOL!

I've been writing now for sixteen years, and when I first started I absorbed myself in research of the publishing industry and information on the craft. I spent countless hours on writer web sites and on the pages of well-known literary agents like Nathan Bransford and Chip McGregor. Gradually, as the years passed and the rejections started coming in, I moved from agent web sites to the authors like Joe Konrath, who was breaking new ground as a Kindle author, and Stefanie Bond, who had a wonderful site on the business of writing. There were three-inch binders full of their blog posts.

Once I started a blog of my own, I also printed out a copy of each of my posts. I have four large binders of posts from 2007-2008, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-2012. 

In my four-drawer upright file cabinet, there were folders full of inspirational articles from the old book section of Essence, Ebony and O magazines along with expandable folders full of submission letters and rejection letters from publishers and agents.

This is my "rejection collection", which I've decided to save as a reminder of the agony I went through before making the decision to self-publish. It might be hard to tell from this photo, but that's and expandable file with at least 500 sheets of paper - a lot of queries and a lot of rejections! I'm keeping this file as a reminder of all the hard work I did trying to convince Big Publishing that I was worthy. SMH...

On top of all that, I used to lead a writer's group at a local Barnes and Noble store for three years, and I kept every handout and article I shared with them. 

All of my research for the twelve books I've written takes up an entire drawer of the cabinet, but I'm keeping all of that.

There are two files of reader e-mails and comments (I was afraid to call it fan mail back then) that I started when I published Have You Seen Her?, the first book. I will keep these forever, because it was confirmation that the editors and agents were WRONG! It blew me away to realize people actually liked what I'd written, and I was building a readership.

Needless to say, it was time to let most of this stuff go, so I bit the bullet and started tossing. Now I have room to save new memories... 

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