Staying organized is important to every part of the writing process and even when your not writing. Finding your personalized way to keeping yourself sane during the project is crucial. Here are some of my tricks of the trade to guide you.
If you want to find a career or even a hobbie in writing, you’re going to need to purchase a journal of some sort. You can LITERALLY find them anywhere and they’re super cheap so this isn’t hard to do.
But before you start filling the pages, you need to know that this journal isn’t a diary. Your journal should only ever contain ideas and thoughts you have pertaining possible writing ventures.
In the above picture you can see some of my own journals. You may also note that I’m insane enough to flag down nearly every page with specific colors that even I rarely understand the meaning of. If you want to share in my craziness you can try using flags, too. I use mine to mark when I make a note that’s important to a singular book in the trilogy I’m writing. Each color notates a different book in the series.
Also, a journal can be used for ideas that you can use in the future. For example, if your in the middle of writing something but have the “oh my gosh, this could be a great novel” moment you can save the idea for later by keeping it in a journal.
My own journals are stacked through of ideas for plays, poems, short stories, novellas and anything that decided to cross my mind.
Of course you don’t HAVE to get a journal, but they’ll help you come up with ideas when you still want to write but your 60 something and don’t have any ideas left. You can just pull up your good ol’ journals from when you were just beginning to write and there you go!
I already mentioned my excessive use of flags in my journals, but I also need to mention that they are super helpful when you use research in your novels. Instead of having to search for hours through books for the right page, I found it’s easiest to just flag the pages. I even use the same color code system that I use throughout my journals to keep my mind on the right track.
I’m sorry, but outlines work. If you want to see a more detailed explanation on how I outline, then you can check out my other post about outline. For those of you who don’t actually give a crap about the fact that I recommend outlining, I’ll just say that they’re worth the time.
When I say that, I’m not going to exaggerate that an outline may take a few hours or days if you actually have a life outside writing.
Outlining helps get everything on paper before you even start fancing your story up. I usually describe outlining as “writing your book without actually writing it.” My outlines include everything about my story, but in a short hand way. I only include dialogue that I think will be important, and even then I’m working to fast to bother with it. The majority of my outlines usually look like this:
-Random kid jumps down hole. Others follow in confusion. Becca starts flipping out about jumping down hole. Andrew doesn’t give a crap and just pushes her in.
–fall through hole and have awkward conversation as they fall. You know what I mean.
Yeah, that probably made little sense to you, but to me I know exactly what I mean.
No one else has to have any idea what your talking about but it doesn’t matter. It’s probably best that way anyway.
Hence, it’s in your best interest to find some sort of way to keep organized. My ways aren’t always perfect so you can experiment to find what works best for you.