Considering how haphazardly I live, organization is not a word that frequently passes my lips. I just have too much information, and not enough room/time/energy to organize it all. But then last week my Irish Muse stopped by, and I’ve been working on Big O 101. Most things around me are falling more-or-less in place.
One place I haven’t had much of a problem, though, is my laptop.
I used to fill notebooks with thoughts, ideas, research, menus for the week. The old-old ones were more like journals, full of angst and awakenings, blah blah blah. Necessary but over. The new ones, though, are a different animal. They are full of things I don’t recognize. Names. Lots of numbers that don’t mean a thing. Notebooks became jotting books. Need a piece of paper to write down that stupid email address? Write it in the middle of a notebook. Need to add something to the grocery list but don’t have a piece of paper handy? Write it in the middle of the notebook.
I now prefer to document my writing, research, images, and ideas on my laptop.
I must admit I have kept things in much better order than the days of pen and paper. I keep/download too many things on my desktop, but they all eventually find a folder home of their own. I have folders for Stories, Chapters, Essays – Finished, and Stories, Chapters, Essays – Unfinished. I have a Humoring the Goddess folder with dozens of sub-folders. I have one called Recipes, one called Resumes, and one called Research (which, btw, has the largest, oddest assortment of information I’ve ever seen). Novels have their own folder; inside those are sub-folders of character backgrounds, copy I’ve cut and couldn’t part with, earlier versions from cavemen days, maps of ancient landscapes that may or may not be relevant – all kinds of weird stuff.
I have folders with images: with my downloading prowess I’ve no doubt got three copies of every photo I’ve ever downloaded from my phone. I’ve got family photos, photos I’ve used in blogs, photos I think are cool, photos that are inspiration for other projects, and photos that are…just photos.
I’ve got a very busy Sunday Evening Art Gallery folder, with one subbie for “dones” and another subbie with “futures.” I’ve got folders with names of novels I’ve never finished, folders of novels I’ve finished, and books I’ve downloaded and have yet to read. I’ve got cute little folders such as Girl Things, Books-Music-Words, and Family Cards and Art, and boring ones like Taxes and Passwords.
The cool thing about keeping all those folders and documents around is once I open them, it’s like time-traveling through the galaxy. Where did I get these things? Why were they important to me at the time? What did I want to do with these things?
Through the years I have carried these folders and documents and images with me, from computer to computer, from flash drive to flash drive. This is the most organized I have been, organizing the most useless information. But then again, that’s not really true. If I look closely, there is a growth pattern here. Much like the journals I kept in my 40s, there is a growth curve here somewhere. There is an emotional maturity I’ve slowly achieved, even though my future horizons are as open as ever.
I do like the fact that this is one area of my life that I’ve been able to categorize. I mean, I do detailed work at work, I keep a clean house, my DVDs are alphabetized (so I don’t have to go through piles every time I’m looking for a movie), and I’ve even attempted to clean out my kitchen cabinets.
But there’s something satisfying about opening a pretzel logic database and actually being able to find something. There’s something fun about thumbing through my Research folder and perusing auras, Rite of Pan, Medieval words, wormholes, and clichés.
What a weirdo! And what a galaxy to explore!
Tell me about YOUR computer. Are you organized? Do you have more ideas than gigabites? Or are you a catcher-catch-can kinda laptopper?