It would be impossible for me to run BiblioBuffet if I was not both very creative and highly organized. Fortunately, both sides are practiced professionals—I used to own an organizing business—and work in harmony to create a personality that meshes perfectly. Since I tend to be a minimalist in my home and my workspace, I like my computer’s desktop to be minimal as well. If you were to look at my Mac Powerbook, you’d see only four items: Prosperity, which is where every folder and document I use is located in well-organized sub-folders; Peace, which is where all the hardware is and what I mostly stay out of; Trash, which has its own sub-folders, and a folder labeled with Sunday’s date that changes each week because it contains that week’s works in progress.
Prosperity contains six sub-folders, one of which is labeled “BiblioBuffet.” Inside that folder are five sub-folders: (1) Columns; (2) Contributors; (3) Convention; (4) Databases; (5) Miscellaneous. Just the Columns folder contains four sub-folders each with, again, sub-folders of their own: Current, Future, Old, Potential .
Current Columns, which is the one I am going to focus on in this post, is the folder where all current and past columns are located. This is where my organizational skills really pay off. In this sub-folder—or is it sub-sub-sub-folder by now?— are more folders, one for each column:
- A Reading Life
- Book Brunch
- Bookish Dreaming
- From the Editor’s Desk
- Literary Amusements
- On Marking Books
- The Athletic Supporter
- Things Said and Done
With the exception of the Literary Amusements one, within those are more folders labeled by year. The number of those depends on when the columnists began writing for BiblioBuffet. Nicki Leone, for example, one of the first contributors to come aboard, has five sub-folders: 2006 through 2010. And in each are the columns for that year, neatly labeled by date, newest on top.
Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Or anal, perhaps. But the truth is that having this kind of detail makes things much easier for me and for the contributors. I never forget a payday or who is owed how much. And if I need to find a column I can go to my databases folder, locate the Columns spreadsheet, and simply do a search. The fact that it contains information on all the columns ever published makes any search a breeze. Once I determine the date, it’s easy to go to the Columns folder and bring up the right piece.
And in order to ensure that those of you who think I might be crazy have real evidence, let me tell you that my Trash also has its BiblioBuffet throwaways organized with folders. Yup, I do. This is where the material I need and use (but don’t keep permanently) for each week’s issue goes. I keep anywhere from three to six folders, all dated, plus one labeled “Trash-X.” What differentiates the stuff that goes in the dated folders from the stuff in the can marked “X” is simple: accessibility. Edited versions of what Nicki and the columnists have sent is placed in the dated folders. So are images of the book covers I have created and uploaded to the online parking garage. The original online images of the covers go in the “X” can as do early, now retired versions of the current columns. I know I won’t need to access them, but I don’t want to toss them until the new issue is live. So in order not to distract me they are put here. The other things, which are accessed only rarely, nevertheless need to be readily available. Hence, the dated folders where I can easily find them.
Then, late Sunday night, when I have finally finished getting the new issue up, the last thing I do (as a kind of reward because I love empty trash cans) is to temporarily move out the yet-to-be-used dated trash cans, then empty the main one, watching with satisfaction as the little window rapidly counts down the files that are now gone forever. There’s something truly rewarding about seeing the old work disappear and the new work, fresh, clean, and empty folders neatly put away. It’s there, but it’s out of sight and thus out of mind, a very good thing when that mind is satiated with writing worth reading—and publishing.