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It’s that time of year again. Time to clear the clutter. I go through a period of de-cluttering at least 3 times a year, because that’s how often things tend to pile up and stand in the way of being creative and productive.

Like most writers, I’m in the habit of jotting down my thoughts, new ideas, and inspirations. If you’ve read The Idea Book . . . Books post, then you know that I have different idea books, or journals, handy in which I write everything that pops into my head. But, here’s the thing, it occurred to me that my journals are a direct reflection of the way my mind actually works – meaning there is stuff (thoughts and ideas) all OVER the place! I think I’m just a walking mass of clutter.

My idea books have random poems scattered about; different experiences I felt compelled to record at the time;  Inspirational quotes; story ideas and what inspired them; reflections; sketches, the list goes on-and-on. And there’s absolutely no logic to how these ideas are organized, they’re just – there. As I’m staring at my books, I realized I have literally created a visual of my brain. I am constantly bombarded throughout my day with random thoughts and ideas that I have to put on paper or they may be lost forever. I sometimes forget what I’m looking for the moment I start looking! I can’t possibly be expected to remember a new story idea without writing it down. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever, so my journals are essential to my writing.

To add to my clutter woes, I didn’t realize that with the release of my new book, the anxiety, excitement, and stress that came along with writing a new book repeat itself every time I start on a new story or have to embark on a new venture with the existing published book. So, in an effort to not continuously feel overwhelmed, it’s time to, once again, clear the clutter – my idea books. I want to continue to be able to write without feeling overwhelmed. This is where you come in.

I’m thinking about trying to reorganize my Idea Books, consolidate them, organize the different ideas I have written in them, and try to make some sense of them. But I can’t help but ask myself, Is that even realistic? Wouldn’t I need yet another journal to even do that?

So, I’m turning to you, my fellow writers, organization experts, teachers, and friends. What do I do? Do you have any suggestions to help me get my journals cleaned up and organized? Fellow writers, how do you manage your journals? I am totally open to suggestions.