Organize to Succeed by J Vincent

The topic for this month is organization.  When it comes to writing there are several areas that need organization.

First is where you write.  Not only the environment but the computer you use.  Follow whatever arrangement seems most logical to you and that fits your situation. I have on my desk within easy reach a first name book, a surname book, a thesaurus, a dictionary and the relevant books I’m using for fact checking in my current book.  Many of these items can now be online resources. I have those I use frequently bookmarked in a folder named Resources on my browser.  Having them in a folder organizes them for fast and easy use instead looking through a ton of bookmarks. 

For my writing I organize my computer files in folders.  I have a main folder for a book in which I save the writing files and then subfolders for whatever areas that particular book needs. I still have a binder for each book I write despite the fact I also now keep the same information on my computer.  In both binder and computer I have a section/folder on characters where I paste a picture and also have a physical description as well as character traits and important events in the life of that character that predate where the book begins.  Since I write historicals I also have a calendar section for the months of the particular year(s) I am writing, like September through December of 1810 for my present book and a timeline of real and fictional events in the story.  Another section is for plot outlines and scene notes.  I also have a section for locations with photos or pictures clipped from wherever along with notes and diagrams of homes or castles or forts that my characters will have to move-fight through.  When I am writing and find I must make big changes I re-save my file with the present date.  That way I have the “old’ and “new’ versions.  I also save scenes I cut, especially if they are long.  You never know when you might want that information or scene again.  And since I sometimes self-publish I also have a folder for what I need to include in the ebook version.

Writing time also has to be marshalled to be available.  That may be exceedingly difficult in a busy life but I’ve learned if you don’t plan a time for it, you will never find any in which to actually write.  I don’t think it should be carved in stone but some workable framework has to be constructed to find available slots for writing in your day.  Once those are identified, set small incremental goals to use them.

All of this organizing will make writing easier.  You won’t waste time looking for information you know you have and will get more productive writing accomplished.  I’m sure I missed some areas and/or didn’t expand enough on others.  What organization techniques do you find most useful in your writing?


Rox Delaney said...

My method for files is much the same, Joan. It's been tweaked along the way, but it's still basically the same as when I started, and it can move from computer to computer. Like you, I also like to have a hard copy that can travel with me, if needed.

Now if someone would come in and clear out all the stuff in my office, I'd have it made!

Nina Sipes said...

Joan, you've a neat/organized brain or way of using it. Me, I have all of those files and multiple copies of each because I was afraid I'd lose them and did--because the computer hid them from me in different areas (I'm swearing it was the computer.). Then I backed up a computer or three as time has passed into new computers.
And obviously, I had to have the first novel in usable portions, so I have files in sections. Oh, and let's not forget I spent all last year working on editing a wrong copy of the novel or perhaps two copies. I'll never find out now.
To top that, I have the computer self/save my documents every three minutes. I once lost about a half hour of writing while in the midst of a writing frenzy. Took the life out of me for a month.

And to make sure the computer copies are ok, I have cloud backup with My PC Backup which allows me to sleep at night, and also cd copies and also cd copies and hard copies in a lockbox.

Can we spell paranoid?