Are you organized? Personally, I love the idea of being organized but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not so great at it. Yes, I have a place for everything in my office but the truth is that it all ends up in a big pile on my desk or stuffed into a junk drawer.
I have found something that works for me and I’ll share that first. Then I’ll share a few tips, strategies, and links to other organizing strategies and methods.
How I Attempt to Stay Organized
- Outline – I outline my book first. This may be one page of notebook paper to fifty depending on how well I know the story.
- Three Ring Binder – I put all of my notes, outline, research and drafts in a three ring binder. Yes, it’s a lot of paper but it’s all in one place and I can take it with me.
- Computer Folder – I duplicate the same information that’s in the binder on my computer. I have a folder with the manuscript name and inside several different folders including research, notes, and drafts.
That’s it. That’s the combined approach that I have. Oh, and regarding story ideas, depending on how developed they are, all go into a folder on my computer labeled “story ideas.”
Other Story Idea Organization Tips and Ideas
Evernote – Evernote is an organization tool that people swear by. It clips images from the web, allows you to create folders, and add your own documents. This article talks about how to use Evernote for fiction writing. http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-evernote-for-writing-fiction-1523798600
Dramatica Pro – I’ve tried a handful of different story organizers and this one is the one that I preferred. You might also look at Scrivener. Dramatica Pro helps you organize, plot, and scenes. It’s good for both novel writing and screenplay writing.
Google Drive – I have to say that for many things, Google Drive is fantastic. You can save spreadsheets, documents, and maps (maps are great for brainstorming a plot). And it’s all free and accessible from any computer or tablet. You just need a Google account. https://www.google.com/drive/
Finding a way to keep your thoughts organized makes the writing and editing process much easier. You won’t have to hunt through your notes and manuscript to remember what color your hero’s eyes are or what time it was when they met.
It’s important to know that there’s no right or wrong way to get organized. The best way is one that suits you and one that you can follow through on. My binder/computer file system works for me. Maybe one of these other strategies will work for you!