As most of you know, 2016 was a tough year for me with my Dad passing away and other things. I needed to concentrate on my family so I put my writing on a back burner. I’m okay with my decision to not write much last year. That said, things have settled down enough now that I feel like it’s time to get back to writing more regularly again.

Among other things, I plan to get back to writing my column for The Bethel Banner, my church’s newsletter. I’m editing a booklet for the Story Quilt Project. I have essays to edit and send out and two assigned aviation stories on the horizon. I know I don’t have to tidy up my office in order to write – but it sure feels good to work in a organized space. So I’ve been making space in my office for new writing, for new ideas, for a new year.

It’s taken me a couple of weeks of working in 15 minute time blocks but as of today I’ve gone through every folder in my main file cabinet of my office to make space for new writing. I’ve sorted through the folders holding my notes, drafts and research of every story I’ve had published since 2008 and recycled stacks upon stacks of unnecessary papers. My file cabinet, once packed with folders within hanging file folders, is now only half full.

My file cabinet with lots of space for new writing. On top is just one of the many stacks of papers that I recycled.

Making space in my file cabinet brought up many surprises for me

  • First off, I can’t believe just how many papers I recycled! How did they all fit in my file cabinet?
  • I was able to see in a concrete way just how many stories I’ve had published – over 70 published articles and essays since 2008 (and more in the years before then – but those are in another file cabinet).
  • I literally had forgotten about some of the stories I wrote and the number of publications that I wrote for – a pleasant surprise to see these stories
  • Looking through my old stories reminded me of the positive feedback I got about the stories, the people I met in writing them and the feeling of accomplishment I had when I completed each one.

In the process of sorting and recycling, I’ve changed my physical space. My office is cleaner. My file cabinet has space in which to put new folders full of my work. My shelves now have room for new books and things dear to me like a clock I received for Christmas and some pictures that I love.

My new clock and some things that I love including an antique print of the Great Dan Patch with two of his stablemates, some coins from England and a card I purchased in Cardiff, Wales

I feel that making space in my office is symbolic as well because in removing the physical clutter I feel like I’m making space for things that are important to me – my family, time for writing and reading, the desire to help people in my community, time to take good care of myself – and more.

Are you making space for new things this year? Are you decluttering? Starting a new project or reviving an old one? Going after a goal of some sort? Sharing kindness?  If you feel so inclined, post a comment and share how you are “making space” in your life.

I purchased this card years ago because I loved it and dreamed of being a bookseller. Dreams do come true as I now work as a bookseller at Content Bookstore (I’m glad Content is much more tidy than the store in this photo!) The photo on the card is titled Bookkeeper and was taken by Gavin Perry.