Keeping Organized When Writing

Hey everyone! Today it came upon me that while I've never had trouble trying to organize my thoughts or ideas, a lot of people do! Therefore I'm just going to give you three quick tips about how I've managed to keep everything in order after four years of notes and ideas for the same book... There's a lot of paper involved....

So, first things first, keep a writer's notebook. No doubt, you've heard this before and brushed it off as unnecessary or just an extra project to pull you away from actual writing, but I promise you it's not. Keeping a writer's notebook is one of the smartest things you can do. It doesn't have to be one of those big beautiful binders with page separators and labels on everything, though by all means if you think that would work for you, go for it. No, keeping a writer's notebook is as simple as finding a notebook and a pack of sticky notes and taking a pen to them. I currently have two writer's notebooks I'm using, one is of course more eye appealing, but they are both equally organized and helpful. What you're going to want to do is to simple label a few sticky notes (i.e, Plotlines, Characters, and Ideas) and then write whatever comes to you in the designated category. Once you've gotten used to using it you can even get more focused by dividing these larger categories into smaller ones. So under Plotlines you could put the subcategories Outline for book 1, 2, 3, etc. as well as summaries, loglines, and a cache of plot twists you could throw in later. For characters, simply divide the subcategories into names and use a page or two to go over that character's affect on the story, their appearance and personality, and the like. For ideas, I recommend you just let yourself scribble down whatever. Ideas is the freezone where anything goes. Don't restrict your inspiration into categories, just write it!

Another thing you can do is to simply keep a Doc file on Word (assuming you use Microsoft Word to do your writing on that is) and simply fill it with any sudden ideas or inspirations that pop into your head. If you've typed out or written down any book-relevant information elsewhere, I recommend putting it all into that one file and make sure you back it up in case of emergencies (you should get into the habit of regularly backing up any files pertaining to your book as well, believe me, it can save your life later.) You don't have to organize this Doc into categories if you don't want to, but it can help if you don't remember where you wrote what. I have a file like this labeled 'Ideas' and I simply write down anything that I might need to remember for later, ideas, plot twists, character files, book titles, even ideas for new books. If you remember what you're looking for exactly, you can simply search in within the doc. Now there's a feature a written notebook does have!

Write down everything, but no matter what you do, keep it in one place. I can't tell you how many times I've lost important papers with ideas or plot on them and never found them again. It's very sad and it's a waste of time, believe me. Keep everything in one place. Make sure it's secure and if you ever remove it, put it back post-haste. For me, I never had the actual space to fit everything (four years people, four years) so I eventually just ended up tacking the most important stuff up on the wall and everything else in my Writer's Notebooks. I keep these two notebook in either the dining room, out on the table where I can always see them, or in my bedroom, on my desk where they're always in reach. Even if you have promised yourself to keep everything in once place, make sure at least one of those places is write by your side. Sudden idea? Don't repeat it over in over in your head only to get distracted and forget what you where saying, just keep a notebook, piece of paper, or spare arm along with a pen (or pencil!) and keep it with you. Before you leave the house, make sure you have it. It can be a life saver at when inspiration strikes. That's all I've got for now, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll see if I can't throw a few more in your direction. Hope this helps!
Until the Dimming of the Stars, My Beloved Readers

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