Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Are You a Piler or a Filer?

by Rachael Phillips
Over the years, I have discovered that God designs writers with His usual love for diversity. However, when it comes to the organizational aspects of our profession, we fall into two basic groups. With a scratch-my-head bow to our Father (I never will understand why He created people the way He did), and an apology to Jeff Foxworthy, I suggest the following:
You might be a piler if:
·         You have an office but never write there because you can’t find your computer.
·         Does your office have carpet? You’ve forgotten. Also, whether it has a window.
·         You just moved into the house next door because the books you bought have taken over the first one.
·         You still haven’t unpacked from the 2006 ACFW conference.  
·         The number of your undeleted e-mail messages exceeds that of the national debt.
·         Your smartphone, having given up on organizing you, has run away from home.
·         You still have every story you’ve written since kindergarten. And every story your children have written. And every story your grandchildren have written. Plus all the rough drafts.
Contrariwise, you might be a filer if:
·         You can see the top of your desk. No respectable piler would permit such a thing.
·         You have programmed morning, noon and night tweets through the year 2021.
·         You color-code your rejection letters.
·         You actually know where your writing goal list is.
·         Every friend of yours on Facebook has been categorized according to relationship, location, hairdo, and Popsicle flavor preference.
·         Your idea of a good time is to alphabetize your recycling.
Yes, God knows where your membership belongs. So does your spouse. And your friends.
How about you? Fill in the blank: you might be a filer/piler if you                         .


  1. You might be a piler if your favorite "writing chair"area is decorated "a la used bookstore." style.

    Or if the grandchildren use them when it's too rainy out to go to the corn maze.

    And you might be a filer if you actually have shelves for all those books.

    (I tend to be both a filer and a piler. I file when I know company's coming. :-) )

  2. LOL, Karla! The prospect of some other human (family members excepted, of course) seeing our writing spaces is a little scary! Once when a local reporter interviewed me, I had the living room shoveled out. But then, he wanted to take pictures of my office! ACK!

  3. Next time you put a mirror to my face, could you send me a warning? I think you have my last four eaddys. LOL. I'm a filer on someone else's payroll, left to my own devices I've become a piler, I say as I sit on the couch with a tiny view of my writing desk a cluttered room away. fun! PS I sympathize with the ACK! We had the pastor and wife to dinner once and the house was spotless except for one closet. Do you know where my husband took the pastor? Right - he had a pressing need to show him something stored in the back of the closet.

  4. Mary,


    That's all right. When we're in heaven, either we pilers will turn into perfect filers or our mansions will come equipped with people who can't wait to do it for us for free.

  5. You might be a piler if it takes you thirty seconds to find something when your desk is a mess, and an hour and a half when everything is in a nice neat place.

    But how about moving our housekeeping habits to writing styles? Of course, the piler would be a seat of the pants writer, while the filer would be the outliner.

    And proof I need glasses: At first I thought this blogs title was "Are you a plier or a flier?" Or is that another blog?

  6. LOL! I'm not sure I would find ANYTHING if everything were properly filed.

    As for writing style--I combine the two, but tend toward the seat-of-the-pants method. Outlines help shape things, but my characters are more seat-of-the-pants than I am :-)