27 January 2018

My Name is Linda and I am a HOARDER

This image does *not* do justice to my office
I am currently culling my office. With two four-drawer filing cabinets, three desk spaces and two decent sized shelving units, anyone would think I’d have enough space in my room to spread. And so I have. And so I did. Until I could hardly get in to hoover.

Did I really start my writing career with a tinny portable typewriter and a cardboard box into which went everything: dictionary, thesaurus, paper, pens, notebook, and the typewriter? I wrote on the kitchen table during evenings when my youngster was in bed and my husband on shift. It worked. I learned my trade, and I started by selling short fiction to women’s magazines.

So how did it escalate to spread onto the landing? Into the dining room? Slowly.

Writing magazines, to which I ended up contributing, gave way to writers’ manuals. My move into historical fiction ensured I became a second-hand shop rummager, for it was amazing the non-fiction books that could be found therein. Brochures and guides were purchased when we visited historical sites; all kept just in case.

And then, of course, came the “paperless office” - that gross misstatement which ensured there was more paper than ever floating about. A good job, too, as it turned out. If all my early typescripts had been consigned to five-inch floppy diskettes where would I be now? (Yes, such things did exist, and they were truly floppy.) Even the three-inch have gone by the board, and have you tried using a CD with a modern laptop? Most are designed for streaming only.

Which brings me back to paper, because after the hacking of the server my email account was part of, do you really think I’d risk the only copy of my novels to the Cloud? But there comes a time when old accounts are no longer needed for tax purposes [pause for hollow laughter], and even I’m not interested in scrutinising hand-edited drafts of fiction.

So I guess I’d better keep plodding on. A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, as the saying goes. Thank goodness, I say. Who’d want an empty mind?

But there are limits.

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