How many of you when you roll out of bed in the morning find your house and writing project in perfect order?
There’s a rich aroma of rainforest coffee wafting through the quiet and dark house as you sit down to your clean desk and boot up your laptop. You pull up your documents and immediately your fingers start flying over the keyboard. No hunting around for your charger, no searching for that character chart you filled out yesterday, or your hand drawn map—it’s all there and ready to go.
If “that’ll be the day…” is your response, this post is for you.
Getting organized is often the bane of a writer’s existence. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few helpful tips I’ve picked up along the bumpy writer’s road.
Folders Save Writer’s Lives
Every time someone sneezes, that’s a writer giving up due to lack of organization. Never heard that before? Yeah, I might have just made that up. What’s not made up is the number of want-to-be writers who never finish their book because they weren’t organized.
Organization is going to look different based on your writing style and personality. One thing that will help everyone though is a filing system with folders. I have folders for everything. Here are some ideas for potential ways to organize your writing.
Snippets from Life
This is where I jot down those interesting details that, when added to a story, make it believable. The conversation I overheard at work, the taste of my friend’s home made gluten free pizza—don’t ask, or how returning to the gym felt like after the holidays. Write it down. Someday it may prove useful. But only if you’ve documented it in a way you can find.
This is for people, places and things. Ever get to that part in a scene where you need to write down the description of your character’s environment or a new person but all you want to do is find a “skip” button? I keep a file for just that purpose. Interesting people I meet, places I go, or even objects I find, are filed away in this folder ready to use whenever I’m drawing a blank.
I keep a file full of interesting names. Some from googling obscure baby names, others I’ve come across in the news, still others are from people I’ve met in person. Don’t let stopping to search for a name stop your writing momentum.
Things I Forgot
Sad but true, I used this folder often during the first draft of my novel. If I noticed plot holes or discrepancies I made a note of them and then move on. I can fix them during the editing phase. At the start, getting through the first draft is the goal.
This is where you can let your creative side go wild. Daydreams and plots that are completely unrelated to your current project can be written down. Later, when you start your next book, you already have a plethora of ideas at your fingertips.
While most of my folders are on my laptop, I keep a couple physical folders as well. Scenic locations, maps, torn out images from magazines, news snippets, and more, all find a home in this folder. This is my catch all be all folder. Use it for whatever purpose you want.
These are just a few folder ideas to get you started on being organized. I’d love to hear some of the ways you keep your writing process organized.
This is Candace about to go organize her folders. Catch you next time!
Photo credit: neourban hipster office desktop by mspi /CC BY
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