I must confess, I am probably not the best person to talk about getting organized. I’m one of those people who buys a calendar, uses it for all of January, and then….where’d that thing go? Short attention span, maybe? Or too much going on in my life? If so, you’d THINK I’d be better about sticking to it, wouldn’t you?
WELL, I’M NOT.
*clears throat* When it comes to organization, I’m more organISHed than organized! Which is why I plan to glom everyone else’s posts and see if I can find some good life hacks! I am organized about some things, and other things I’m trying. Here are the ways I’m trying to bring order to chaos:
BOOK FILES: On my laptop, I have a folder called “BOOKS” under my documents. Within that folder, I have folders for each project, as well as folders for my writing expenses, my blog posts, and pictures that inspire characters. For example, I have a folder for my Bondage and Breakfast series with Carina. There are multiple folders there…one for each of the 4 published books, one for each of the short free pieces I’ve written between the books. With each of the book’s folders, I have additional folders for files on each phase of the process…original files, crit files, submission files, developmental edit files, copy edit files, and then final files. I can see, in a snap, everything related to a specific project.
MICROSOFTE ONENOTE: I’m playing with OneNote as a way to organize ideas for books. So far, I’m not loving it, but because I see the potential and I also see a good use for it in my day job, I’m signed up to take an online class for it as part of my education for the year. Shhhhh…..tell no one I’m doing double duty!
EXCEL SPREADSHEETS: I have two I keep pinned to my desktop…one is my character bible, where I keep track of things like names, nicknames, ages, hair and eye colors, jobs. I seem to have a thing for the name Marcus and the name Alex, so, uh….this is totally necessary! The other is a word count tracker that I started out GREAT on at the beginning of the year…and totally fizzled on. Not sure it’s working for me, so I’m hoping someone else has a better version or way for that.
STORY IDEA BINDER: When I was a mere fluffy kitten, I wrote many, many, many extremely short pieces of fiction as part of an online writer’s group. Maybe I’ll use them. Maybe I won’t. But I’ve got them sorted into Erotic Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, etc, and every once in a while I pull an idea from that binder. Forbidden Fires is one of those stories that came from that binder of short fiction I wrote ten years ago. One thousand words to 52,000 words….and published!
WRITING ON THE GO: I keep a notebook with me at all times. A small one lives in my purse, but when I travel (and leave my laptop behind) I bring out the big guns… a real notebook and a pencil case carrying everything I might need. I like the 6.5” x 8.5” spiral notebooks you can get at Target or Walmart. The last one I bought, which I love, didn’t have a folder, so I added one myself to the back cover.
Have you met washi tape yet? It’s awesome. I also make sure I have binder clips (love those things – they work better than paperclips, IMO) and post it notes in every color of the rainbow. My pencil case doesn’t have pencils, it has pens, washi tape, a pair of scissors, highlighters. This way, I’m set for anything I want…jotting notes, edits, reading a hard copy of something I’m working on. I’m also trying to set up a bag that’s a mobile office. My notebook and my pencil case would go in there, along with some snacks (writers gotta eat!) and anything I need that doesn’t fit into the notebook or the pencil case.
ALL IN ONE BINDER: I’m also testing out a binder system. Same size, but with the ability to add pages in whatever order I want. A little heavier so not as convenient, but I also have a portable hole-puncher I can keep right in the binder so I can add things easily. Target has a pretty good selection of stuff for these smaller binders, including pocket folders, dividers, sheet protectors and loose-leaf paper. Plus, there are a ton of printable pages online to help customize what you need. And because this blog hop got me thinking about the fact that my brain no longer coughs up info as easily as it used to and some stuff just slips right out of my mind, this weekend I bought an academic planner for $1 at Dollar Tree, took the wire binding off it, and plopped it right into my binder! Voila! I usually buy a wire-bound calendar each year anyway, but I’m thinking if I keep a one in the binder, I might use it more.
I can think of other things for the binder as well: Expense register. Word count goals. Blog post ideas. A copy of my character bible. Self-care journal with things like food tracking, water intake, exercise. Grocery list. Vacation planning. School schedule. And these don’t have to be all separate pages, either….I love the idea of bullet journaling.
MY SUGGESTIONS: If you’re trying to figure out how to get organized…look on tumblr or Pinterest! There are a ton of blogs out there for getting organized, mostly school stuff but easily adaptable for a writing life! Though I do have to warn you – both those sites may make you feel like you can never measure up. Ignore that, look for ideas that you can use and maintain, and toss the rest of it out the window!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my story of organISHation, and I’d love to hear what tricks you have for keeping your life together! Also, click the link below for a chance to enter a giveaway!