So, I have this thing with paper.
I believe it started in the third grade when I first began writing stories on tablets of paper.
And then I had this obsession with rewriting my notes from high school all the way through college – if there were any cross-outs. In another words, I wanted my notes to be neat.
I pulled ideas out of magazines for crafting ideas, scrapbooking layout ideas, decorating ideas, garden tips, and recipes.
I printed creative lists for holidays, scrapbook pages, and writing tips.
These days I have small pieces of scratch paper in my nightstand, bathroom drawer, laundry room, nook, my purse, my car, and the end table in the family room.
I keep a large piece of paper on the end table so when I am sitting at night watching television and some recipe, idea, website, etc. pops up that grabs my interest, I will write it down. You know, for later. I also keep that list for writing-related ideas that pop into my head and I am too lazy to get up and walk into the office and file it appropriately. As if.
On my desk right now I have a bulging file folder conveniently labeled, “filing”.
I hate to file.
I was a secretary at a large bank in Glendale, California for exactly 13 months before my boss was able to “promote” me to a Burbank office into a “new” position that didn’t have the word “secretary” in it. I was awful at it. I mean, I could answer phone and organize like a mad-woman. I typed very fast and took orders (even when the women were Bitches. No really, they were). However, my filing left a lot to be desired. In a word: I hated it.
And I apparently still do.
I have a cute little – card holder thingy? that I have decided would be perfect for my, well, small bits of notes on scratch paper. I also have binders and legal pads full of bits and pieces of this and that. If I ever wanted to put my finger on something, oh hell, forget it.
Everything is fair game on my scratch notes from a website I need to visit to a song I want downloaded to a list of books I want to check out to quotes I stumbled onto.
Right now in front of me are notes for a recipe I wanted to print from this Norwegian chef on some odd cable channel that I can’t get enough of. The title of a book I want to read. A hash-tag I want to look at on twitter. A few things I need to Google. A comic I want to see if we can find on TV. And a honey company I want to order from based on something we watched on Shark Tank. Also on the notes: dates my cousins are driving up here from L.A. to visit, my mom’s flight number, and the name of a boy that knew my son in high school that happens to work at the post office where we recently dropped off my son’s latest care package and I wanted to tell my son who we ran into.
By the time I finish this post, those pieces of paper will be in the trash. My calendar has been updated in the laundry room with the dates and flight info. I already texted my son the kids name (he didn’t like the boy). I already went to twitter. I ordered the honey (it’s spiced honey and sounds delicious!). The comic I simply bookmarked on Amazon. I printed a few of the Norwegian recipes and bookmarked his website. And I requested the book from the library.
Recently I needed to do something with my PROJECTS in the PIPELINE, or PIP. I have currently 25 ongoing projects, not including article work. Not all of that 25 are even in the same spot in development but I needed to get all of it organized and the steps needed for each in order to finish. I set deadlines (always in pencil) – some for this year, many for next year, and a lot between 2016 and 2017. I know my limitations.
I was talking it out with my husband and I have tried many ways to keep track of my PIP. I have printed out sheets of paper, divided up by the type of project (novel, non-fiction, etc.). I have tacked sheets of paper on my bulletin board that sits just to the left me of me here. Something was lacking. I have kept file folders in a filing cabinet and in pretty totes. I have labeled file folders and relabeled them (I’m obsessed with labeling shit).
Nothing has seemed to keep me organized.
In fact, the whole thing left me overwhelmed.
As I was talking to my husband about my quandary he suggested I keep the goals (basically the title of the project, the type of project, date started, various steps needed in order to fully complete said project, deadline/goal, and attempts at selling) on the computer.
On the computer?
He said, “Yeah, you know, the box you type at every single day, all day?”
He shook his head and said, “You are just too addicted to paper.”
Addicted to paper?
Is there such a thing?
I nixed his whole on the computer goal sheet idea immediately. It wouldn’t work for me, I knew this. And after 23 years of marriage, he knew it too.
I am old-school with some stuff.
And some stuff being paper, I guess.
So, I typed all the projects out (when I realized HANDWRITING the thing would be a nightmare which would involve rulers and pencils and measuring – and folks, that ain’t for me either).
Then, I highlighted each project type with a separate color – and here is where it gets exciting – the color matches the labels (yes, okay, I relabeled – again – but this is the last time, I swear).
And here is where it gets totally old-school circa 1990-something.
I am going to attach the 8 pieces of paper into two rows.
And tape them together.
Yes, I said tape, shut it.
Seriously, can you even stand it?
I am going to tape the entire PIP list on the back of my door.
See, I’m a visual type person.
I gotta see the stuff.
In bright colors, preferably.
And because I love paper so much I have made copies of each project on a separate piece of paper to place inside the file folder of the corresponding project.
I know, right?
I can’t help it.
I love paper so, so much.