My Author Toolkit – Be Organized

Being an organized writer doesn’t always mean a spotless work space. Frankly, if I had to write in such a spare environment I’d never get anything done.

An organized writer is simply understanding how your process works, then Working The Process!

Here are some things I’ve learned:

  1. Use a calendar – I know this seems simple, but writing a quick note on a sticky note  and putting it on a wall with a myriad of other sticky notes will only cause you heart ache. Be kind to yourself and use the calendar to keep track of deadlines (personal & professional), daily word-count, and tasks.  I personally use the Google Calendar, it allows me to set up numerous calendars to keep track of marketing events and other things.
  2. Use Folders, both electronic and physical file folders – Why cause yourself no-end of heartbreak when you can’t find that story you wanted to work on next because of the enormous pile of paper or documents. I have an Idea folder, a WIP folder, an Editing folder, and an individual folder for each company I’m doing business with (publisher, marketing, etc.).
  3. Make your desktop work for YOU – My desk often looks like a paper bomb went off and left piles all over it. I know what is in every pile and how to find what I need. I do not need to make others comfortable if it works for me.  I have good friends whose desks could be used for emergency surgery, they are that clean. It doesn’t matter how it looks (as long as you aren’t on the way to becoming an episode of Hoarders), it just needs to work for you.
  4. Empty your stash of scribbled notes at least once a week and put them away so you can find them again – I always have a combination of old receipts, napkins, and other paper-type material that I scribble thought on.  I’ve lost many a moment of literary greatness because I sent a thought through the wash. Grrrr
  5. Manage your time – This is separate from keeping a calendar. Why? Because what you record as an event or task really doesn’t capture how you spend your time.  I wrote about this in a post called 1,440 Minutes.

The key to successful organization for yourself is to allow for flexibility. Life happens and will get in the way of your projects. It’s okay. I feel that part of being organized is allowing for those moments. Being regimented will only leave you brittle, ready to shatter.

Organization is simply a method to allow you to breathe, create, and live.


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