Monday, January 11, 2010

Feng Shui or Phooey a la Hooey?

by Linsey Lanier

- noun
1. a collector of miscellaneous useless objects
2. any of several bushy-tailed rodents of the genus Neotoma of western North America; hoards food and other objects

I have to admit I froze solid when Tami announced January's challenge was about our workspaces. Yes, I'm a private person, but that's not the reason I was filled with dread. The real reason is that I would have to admit to the world what a packrat I am.

It's true. My workspace is usually a mess. That's because (1) I don't clean in this office. I write in it. (2) As a writer, I generate paper. Lot's of it. Edits of my current wip. Notes about books I'm reading. Notes about books I'm writing. Stray thoughts. Contest feedback. Notes on a napkin from a cop show. Etc., etc. (3) I accumulate books and I like to have them around me for inspiration (see photos). (4) Also, like many of my blog sisters, I collect quotations and other bits of inspiration (on cards, usually) to keep me going. (Unlike my blog sisters, I don't put the quotations neatly on a cork-board. I just tape them to the side of my monitor. See other photos.)

I've recently added the one on the bottom: "You have a flair for adding a fanciful dimension to any story. I love that. If it sounds like it came from a fortune cookie, that's because it did. I've been collecting them for years. I used to keep them together with a paper clip, but as of a few days ago, they are now in a plastic bag on my desk.

Why, you might ask? Because... hold your breath... a few days ago, I cleaned up my office!!!

Yes, it was the end of the year and I usually do something like that, but this time, I went all out. I even chronicled my progress in an e-book I've been intending to write for ages and ages. I hope to make it available on my personal blog, soon.

Don't stop reading here. Today we've got a bonus post. Be sure to check out Sally Kilpatrick's quest for a workspace.


Debbie Kaufman said...

I guess I'm the odd man out. I don't collect good quotes, although I've been tempted to do so. I think that, like you, I would never organize them. Of course, I could do the baggie option!

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Great post, Linsey! I'm trying to decide if I'm a packrat or simply busy. All I know is that if you think your office is messy, please see below. : )

Marilyn Baron said...

I'm a packrat too but looking at that picture of the packrat is enough to make me want to clean my office. I'm glad you cleaned yours. Maybe one day...


Susan May said...

I didn't think I was a pack rat until I saw a picture of my office. I don't we are so much a pack rat as prepared. We have what we need at hand.

Maxine Davis said...


I love it. It looks like a perfectly normal office to me! Susan, I like the comment about we have what we need at hand.

I love sayings, but I've had no where to put them. I think I'm going to get a jar.

Enjoyed your post

Sandy Elzie said...


Love it, love it, love it. I had to lol when you talked about being a packrat. As a former accountant, I tend to keep EVERYTHING. To organize, files and more files. You can buy cheap plastic crate-type tubs at Wal-Mart (even in bright colors and they stack!) that hold the metal-tipped drop files. Then a cheap box of tab file and away you go.

I also agree that it's not messy, it's right at my fingertips. (g)


Cyrano said...

I love your work space. It's not messy, it's got character. It's not unorganized, it's inspired.
That's the way a writer's work space should look...full of fanciful flair and dimension!

Great post!
Have a beautiful day,

Michelle said...

You know what? It's YOUR space. Packrat is such a pejorative term. If you like and function in a lovingly filled environment then embrace it!

Linsey Lanier said...

Hi, Debbie. You are an early riser. :) With all the inspiration our blog provides, maybe you don't need to collect quotes. They are fun to have around, though.

I like the potential of your workspace, Sally. My office is actually messier than yours. I just didn't have the nerve to post *those* pictures, LOL.

Marilyn, Hurray for us packrats! Remember, it's only figurative, LOL. But I'm glad I inspired you to clean up. It's an eternal goal for us packrats, always just out of our reach. :)

Susan, as much as we'd love you to be part of our club, I think your office was pretty neat. :) I love your take on being a packrat, though. We're prepared! And I was never even a Girl Scout...

Thanks Maxine. A jar for quotes sounds like a cool idea.

And I thought you despised clutter, Sandy. I love all those neat plastic items they come out with to organize. The problem is, you have to actually file the papers. :)

Aw thanks, Tamara, but yes, it is messy, though I'll take "inspired." :) I have my own method of organization. Nobody could find anything in here but me. However, that's a bit easier now, since I cleaned it up. :)

Thanks for being so positive, Michelle. You are right. But sometimes, it frustrates me ... Like Sally said, it's really just a matter of time and being too busy. Do I want my papers organized or do I want to write a book I can sell? The choice for me is usually the latter. Plus, I avoid writing with activities other than cleaning up, LOL.


Dianna Love said...

Ha Linsey - I stick things all over the place too, but I only have one quote in my office that has been there for over 25 years. I do like to stick things up on my cabinets with tape - then once in a while I'll take them down and put up new things that might be a list or a photo (sometimes I just put something up because it makes me happy to look at it, a very useful thing in my opinion).

Linsey Lanier said...

Hi Dianna! Glad to have you back with us. Happy 2010. It's good to know you're a "sticker," too. :)

If you get a moment, we'd love to hear that 25-year-old quote. :)


Darcy Crowder said...

Hi Linsey.

Love your post. Think of your office as organized chaos. As long as you know where everything is, what else matters? Besides, it shows you spend your time writing, not organizing. :)

I love to stick quotes all around me also - I have several taped to my laptop, some on my bulletin board. I don't collect fortune cookie quotes, but I do have one that I've somehow managed to hold on to since I was a kid that really resonated with me and keeps proving itself true: Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you.

Linsey Lanier said...

Hi Darcy. Thanks for the supportive thoughts. I love that quote. I'll have to write it down and put it...somewhere. :)


Dianna Love said...

LOL - me thinks me dated meself quite a bit with that one. The quote in my office is a slight contemporary paraphrase of Goethe -
"NOTHING is worth more than today."

His was "nothing is worth more than this day." (from back in the early 1800s)

Now, what's your favorite one?

Linsey Lanier said...

Aw, no, Dianna. You just started collecting quotes when you were one. :)

My favorite? There are so many to chose from I can never decided. But here's one I found recently that I love:

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
Pablo Picasso.

Have a good night, all. Thanks for stopping by. :)


Ana Aragón said...


Waahhh! I got here too late! Of course, I'd already peeked at your post last week!

Lovely pictures and a great space for writing. Plus, you've got everything you'll ever need on hand!

That's my take and I'm sticking to it!


Linsey Lanier said...

Not too late, Ana. Glad you could make it. :)

Glad you like the pictures. Yes, having everything on hand is an important requirement for me. It's one reason why I'm messy -- I have so much on hand, LOL.

Have a great night...


Linsey Lanier said...

PS: I hope everyone saw Ana's "Sidelined by Love" in my TBR stack... :)


Tami Brothers said...

Hey Linsey!!!

Great post! I am so not a packrat, but I live with 2 of them. So I can kind of see where you’re coming from. I love it, though! It is your space and I can totally see you there. Love the idea for the quotes. I’m terrible at losing them, so I don’t collect them unless they REALLY stand out for me. Thanks for sharing your space with us!