If you were to ask any creative person, no matter if they are a writer, photographer, crafter or painter, how they organize their work, you will most likely hear a groan and something like, “Yeah, I need to work on that.” I remember when I started sharing my writing with a friend who is a photographer and then I started to photograph to pair things with my writing and he said, “Now you are really screwed.” Meaning, I have 2 types of files to organize. Don’t get me wrong, the digital world is amazing with flash drives and external hard drives and various ways to store files and work. But there is the other side, it all lives in my computer or on my blogs. Being that I am a Capricorn and a creative, there is a constant nagging thought in the back of my head to organize and catalog my work. For the last couple of years I have kept the project at bay with the thought of, “At least I keep a word copy of my blog posts.”
Like any project, there needs to be a motivation to get going and I have 3 big motivating factors. First, I occasionally get the “BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH” warning on my computer, not the entire screen of death, but hints that things are going bad. Second, given reason number one, I want to upgrade my system and upgrade my photography post processing software. Given my confession of being a Capricorn, I MUST organize the old before I merge it with the new.
Then there is the third reason. It is the odd thing that anyone who creates might struggle with from time to time and that is generating hard copies of ones work for their own files. Sure, I write and share it on a blog for anyone who wants to read it, but I rarely go back and re-read my own work. The other day I was looking for something I wrote that was very valuable to me and I can’t find it. I think I wrote it on an old blog and then when I moved blogs I didn’t move it over because I thought I had the file in my computer, but I didn’t. It is driving me crazy, because I wrote it for a friend relating to the loss of his friend, and now it is gone. This was a wake-up call for me. My work has value, I need to maintain my files, I need hard copies at the very least for a record and for my kids to have some day. I am done passing my work off as some hobby that doesn’t matter enough to have a permanent record of, it has value to me and to others. It is MY life’s work.
There has been a huge unexpected side effect of revisiting and cataloging my work and that is realizing it all adds up. Like many, writing is the thing that I squeeze in while life is happening and I wonder how I am ever going to complete a full length book. How will I ever find the time or the commitment to doing a complete such a task? As I am printing I realize that I have written thousands and thousands of words and a book is just thousands and thousands of words on one topic instead of many different ones. This realization is motivational.
So for all of you creative out there I am challenging you! Buy a binder, print your work, take photographs of your work if you are a quilter or a crafter, if you are a photographer, print a few photos every once in a while, label you flash drives, create a space for your files where people know they exist and how to access them in case something happens to you. What you are creating has meaning personal value but also to others in your life and future generations to come! If you are still wondering why, look up Vivian Maier and what ultimately happened to her life’s work and how much was lost.
Of course, I am still a creative and a procrastinator, so I gave up cataloging for writing this blog post and now I have to figure out where I left off…..always a project.