Wednesday, 1 January 2014

This year I'm cutting down on clutter by Jane Clarke

Happy New Year!

My new year's resolution is to attempt to cut down on some of the clutter in my study.
 This year, I plan to:

Get a proper prop box for the props I take on school visits as they have overflowed from my little suitcase.


Recycle papers and magazines and store pics that interest me on Pinterest instead. National Geographics are off to the charity shop.


Send a pile of foreign language editions somewhere useful. Any ideas where?



And finally…


This year, I WILL try to sort out my notebooks stuffed full of half-baked ideas. Has anyone tried organising picture book ideas in Schrivener or any other software? 



May your 2014 be full of fantastic picture books! There's always room for more of those …

Jane's currently working on three picture book texts to be published by Nosy Crow in 2015, and has just had a mini-series of board books accepted by Random House. 

17 comments:

  1. You could try offering any French, German or Spanish editions to a local secondary school. I used to have loads of foreign-language picture books at the back of my classroom, along with my Asterix collection, and students were allowed to read them as a special treat now and then - very popular as the language was simple and the pictures helped understanding.

    Not sure about sorting out the notebooks, though: isn't the whole point of an ideas file the joyous serendipity of the muddle?

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  2. Thanks for the school tip, Linda. My ideas are such a muddle and there's often an overlap, but notebooks apart - I'm hoping to get some of them together in the hope that a picture book story emerges. But your're right, serendipitous connections play a big part, so I don't expect I'll ever throw the notebooks away.

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  3. I agree with Linda that although it makes sense to organise jotted down ideas, does that very 'sense' perhaps kill some of the potential magic? I have scraps of paper with odd notes on, and sometimes tip them all out and wander through them, and just sometimes an idea jumps out at me as the one that's ready to be worked on. Often not the one that might have seemed the obvious one to have been listed under a title of what I thought I was looking for, but one that excited me exactly because it took me by surprise .... at least that's my excuse for not having a tidier system, and I'm sticking to it! Happy new year!

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  4. Pippa, I love the idea of a different piece of paper for each idea, so you can tip them out and shuffle them around occasionally. Oh dear, I'm in danger of adding more clutter ...

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  5. Ah, but clutter is merely a state of mind! I'm in favour of the 'whitened sepulchre' theory of organising: shove anything in a pretty box and it's no longer a mess.

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  6. Declutter! A perennial new year resolution that one ;-) Good luck with it all.
    I put a big box of foreign editions on freecycle to pass the problem on to somebody else ;-) They were taken, so hopefully they will be put to good use. I just have a load (a serious LOAD) of my free UK editions from way back to the present day to shift. All my friends kids are in their late teens so that avenue has closed. Local Primary Schools had better lookout!

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    1. My friends have conveniently moved on to having grandchildren so I've no excess UK copies. I'll bear freecycle in mind, thanks Jonathan.

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  7. The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communicaton would likely take the foreign language copies too - they could be distributed to developing country delegates at their conference coming up in Spain. (It's an organisation which is concerned to help people with severe and profound communication disabilities.)

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    1. Thank you catdownunder, I didn't know about this organisation. I'll find out more and see if it's feasible to get books to them.

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  8. I'm moving house soon and am getting my very own study for the first time! I'm desperate to organise it all. I agree with Pippa, though, sometimes disorganisation helps us stumble upon a gem of an idea - don't throw out those magazines too quickly! :)

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  9. I hope your sortout is satisfying, Linda. I'm very bad at throwing things out, so I agree with the 'neat boxes' idea. The National Geographics might be appreciated at a school for special needs - if you have anything like that anywhere near you. Some children on the autism spectrum are likely to find these fact-filled mags fascinating.

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  10. When I declutter I'm always shocked when I find ideas and notes that I have no memory of writing. Was it elves?!

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  11. Noting your upcoming three books with Nosy Crow and the new board book series it makes me wonder--why declutter? Your system is obviously working for you!

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    1. It's the physical difficulty of negotiating piles of stuff to find enough room to work, Wendy.

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  12. Happy New Year, Jane. May your decluttering dreams come true. Put some music on and let your mind run free; you'll find some space magically appears in no time. :)

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  13. In the process of decluttering, myself. I have said, 'So that's where I put it!' three times.

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