By nature, I’m a neat and organized person, but I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Over the course of writing a novel, increasing levels of entropy creep into my workspace toward the end of each draft.
In a bizarre parallel with the frenetic pace of my characters hurtling toward the climax of the story, my life becomes increasingly chaotic when the end of a manuscript is in sight. I step back from social media, socializing in general, and sometimes household chores like tidying my desk.
Because I’m the designated vice-president-in-charge-of-household-papers, the pile of documents to sort, coupons to cut, receipts to file, and general detritus spreads until I consider putting on an outbreak suit to wade through it.
This stage of the process drives me a bit batty because, as I mentioned, I’m kind of a neat freak. But I’m in the flow, so there’s no stopping or slowing down to take care of routine paperwork. I vow to get to it later. The compilation of settings, plot pieces, and characters in my mind competes with the growing collection of incoming information screaming for my attention. All but the most urgent papers are pushed to the back burner as I sprint headlong toward the finish line.
At the end of the day, my husband ventures into my office with a fresh stack of mail. Scanning the desk, he raises a brow. I narrow my eyes. He wisely says nothing and puts the newest pile on a chair in the corner before slowly backing out.
True to my word, when each draft is finished, I clean and purge my workspace. The office is returned to its usual state of orderliness. Peace is restored. Like a bear in the springtime, I crawl out from the cave ready to engage the world again. Thankfully, this only seems to happen in the last month of the process.
Attached are a couple of pictures of my office as it is now. I’m embarking on a new novel, so I’ll document the before status of my surroundings. Later, I might get pics of the after status! Or not…
Don’t forget to check out the details here about Isabella’s books, which are on sale for a limited time, and her new release in March 2018.
Isabella Maldonado is an award-winning author, retired police captain, and regular contributor on News Channel 12 (Phoenix NBC affiliate) as a law enforcement expert. Her last police position was Commander of Special Investigations and Forensics. During her career, she was a hostage negotiator, department spokesperson, and precinct commander prior to attending executive management training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico. The first Latina to attain the rank of captain on her department, she received Meritorious Service and Lifesaving Awards. Isabella is a past president of the Phoenix Metro chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in the greater Phoenix area, where she writes the Det. Cruz mystery series. Her debut novel, BLOOD’S ECHO, won the 2018 Mariposa Award for Best First Book. The second in the series, PHOENIX BURNING, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was named one of the best suspense books of 2018 by Book Riot. The third installment, DEATH BLOW, will be published on March 8, 2019 and is available for pre-order now.