Friday, 10 January 2014

Resolutions + my favorite things = 2014

I have never made serious resolutions although I do have an ongoing checklist of things I need to get better at or at the very least find a better way to do. The sudden (yes it took me by surprise) arrival of 2014 gave me little time to think about making positive changes for the year ahead so here I am almost two weeks in just getting around to determining that a few writer-home-office resolutions might be in order.
Combine my enthusiasm for the onset of another year with a list of my favourite things to help make that happen and the outcome is the following version of the famous Oprah-style ‘my favorite things’ minus the free giveaways and car. Although some of my noted faves here include freebies you can access so it is not all sad that the Oprah giveaway shows are gone like the Detroit balanced budget.

One of my key resolutions is to be somewhat more desk-organized. A home office and way too many ‘jobs’ can wreak havoc on limited space combined with the hoarder-need to surround myself with all my favorite things that give me inspiration. My small but efficient office space (okay yeah it spills over to other rooms) is home to a wall of hundreds of books antique and new, 6 inch thick old hard cover dictionaries, a typewriter collection displayed around the antique inkwells, pens, paperweights, vintage office collectibles, an antique brass and glass claw piano stool resting spot for an antique autoharp, mouth organ, and  a guitar resting along side, vintage wooden letter trays, oak library card drawers and  paper sorter, and even a giant two foot tall 3 inch thick hard bound newspaper morgue volume of the original December 1940 The New York SUN (don’t  ask). Around all this is my tools, phone, recorder, cameras, printer, scanner, iPod doc, desk lamp (green glass banker of course), a few lap tops, iPod, iPad, iPhone, and then add to the mix my many many magazines both sorted into file boxes, clips binders and piled around (as I write magazine fortunately this is both an allowable obsession and a true write-off expense). Now kick it up a notch with the all-writers-have-it unhealthy addiction to stationery, paper,  notebooks, journals, file folders (orange), note cards, markers, pens and pencils, and things can get a little tight in a small space.

My 2014 plan is to continue to love all the things I love and to finally use all those things I have been saving earmarked as too special to use - leather journals, good pens, fancy paper, monogrammed paper clips and even coloured printer ink when the mood hits me. My favourite things/get organized resolution starts now. Feel free to check out any of these faves and let me know how they stack up, or if I am missing out on something more FUN-ctional you might want to let me in on.

1.      First up on the use it lists has to be my many decorative (Paris themed) colourful storage boxes piled around the room – with the addition of cute custom labels these will be handy to file away some of the clutter of colured index cards, stickers, business cards, overflowing pencil piles and so much more.

 2.    My pens and pencils might seem out of control to a non-writer but on the flip side might seem lacking to a writer but keeping dozens of my favourite pencils on hand and sharpened to a point at all times is a must with my pick being billed as the world’s most comfortable, the Dixon Tri-Conderoga HB2 with a triangular shape perfect for endless doodling writing.

3.     On the list of too special to use journals and notebooks check out the Moleskin Evernote SMART Notebook combined with the Evernote app to take your hand written notes to your computer files in a snapshot.

4.     No writer’s office is complete without at least one or three vintage typewriters, one of my favourites being the classic minty green (not the actual famous Jack Kerouak) Hermes 3000 – a gem and types like new. A little much for a coffee shop writing-date when my iPad and keyboard cover suffice.

5.      My new favourite (as in free) software tools to organize my writing life have proven to be invaluable this past fall when life cranked up my work life in a good way. For accounting simplicity, web based, easy invoicing and simple bookkeeping check out Waveapp – the free version is more than enough power to drive a home office.

6.     The other great free software tool that has cleaned up my act in a big way is the project software insightly. This powerful free tool not only lets me break down my clients into simple project lists it then keeps track of all my assignments, task at hand, scheduling and lets me attach all the emails related to each project with a simple send out of any email.

7.     My lust for leather and my need for a functional briefcase/knapsack has sent me looking in a million directions for one serviceable bag – of the way many collected over the years none seem to serve well although my now vintage favourites have always been my Queros collection (yes I have had a few) – so on my list of 2014 things to own is a new, as in from this millennium, Queros leather bag (or two) … currently considering a combo of small briefcase  and one great messenger bag purse or maybe a knapsack.

8.    Not to take away from the love of reading an actual book but surprisingly one of my faves that has me reading way more simply because it is so simple to always have a library in my pocket is the lovely little KOBO MINI. Not as fancy as its more expensive bigger versions but it is a perfect time and space saver for an easy ongoing reading and anything that lets me read more when I step away from my desk is a good thing.

9.     Not that footwear has much to do with writing but for those who work from home and rarely wear shoes (let alone pants) I have a new best, will own them forever and travel with them always fave that is really the slipper of boots. PAKEMS are designed by a brilliant woman in Colorado with end of the day comfort in mind for skiers or hikers, but these apr├Ęs-ski booties are the best ever not-shoes a writer can own. High top or low and plain or print the design is amazing and my pink-plaid Pakems make my feet smile.

10.  Lastly, limiting my picks to ten, is my goal of not so many hard copy magazines underfoot in files and a commitment to read more of my magazines on my iPad. Many apps are out there to help bring them into your e-reader fast so I will check out the few recommended such as Zineo, the Kobo magazines app, and more – if you have a favourite one please do let me know and help me save about a zillion trees from my office recycle piles.

So whatever works for your home office embrace it and remember to quit saving all those oh-so-special goodies for an occasion – the occasion is now, 2014, the year of using all your favourite things. As one of my dear friends says, “Gotta use your stuff!”
Happy New Year!

Ps … one addition that has nothing to do with organization and resolutions but everything to do with New year’s celebrating, no matter what time of year, is my favourite find beverage of Writers Tears Irish Whiskey. Folklore has it that when Irish writers cry they have tears of whiskey. If you truly want to embrace this writer’s drink of choice there is even a Writers Tears Writers Club.