Organizing A Disorganized Mind

Here’s something every writer deals with: How do you keep your work organized? I was thinking about this recently, and thinking about all the answers I’ve gotten to this question from writers in the past. It’s interesting to see just how much people vary in the ways they keep their work/notes organized. So, I thought I’d share mine with you!

1) Laptop – The first and obvious (for me, anyway) choice of where to keep my current WIP and any ideas I have for future work is on the computer (and backed up on a USB and Google Drive). Though I have been burned in the past, (seriously, complete computer crash with zero hopes of having it fixed for various reasons and nothing backed up anywhere), I’m much better about backing my work up now. I sometimes like to write longhand (see below), but not always. Obviously, writing is much faster using the laptop, so if I need to get a large chunk of the story out, then I prefer the computer. Now you must understand this requires a sort of sub-categories section:

  • Document file w/ current WIP
  • Document file w/ notes on world
  • Document file w/ notes on characters
  • Document file(s) w/ new story ideas/dialogue (Sometimes I hear a line in my head that begs for attention. I actually wrote one of my Fantasy novels on the basis of a line I couldn’t stop thinking about.)

2) Notebook/Paper – A journal of sorts I suppose you could say. I always have one on me somewhere. Whether it’s just a small one in my purse or a larger one I carry in one of my extra bags I always seem to have, I always make sure there’s one with me. If I don’t have my laptop with me, I can at least still get the ideas down. Some people will ask why I don’t just use the Notepad app on my phone. I’ll tell you, because I don’t like to. Texting/messaging is one thing, but I refuse to keep notes on my phone for my writing. Ugh, imagine how long it would take me to write out part of a story using only my thumbs?! (I text pretty fast, but I have no desire to write even part of my story this way. I’m just weird like that.) If I’m going to take the long way around, I might as well just use a pen and paper. That’s just how I feel about it anyway. I do use Google Drive on my phone to read over certain parts of a WIP or check out my notes document(s) if I need to reference something. It’s a very handy tool. Also I have scrap pieces of paper; old receipts, parts torn off an envelope or larger piece of paper, that I jot notes down on if I don’t feel like digging through my runaway bag purse for my notebook.

3) My Brain – Odd place to keep things, I know. Sometimes I do get lucky and don’t have to write some of the ideas I have down. Sometimes, they just stick with me and refuse to be forgotten. Thank goodness for that! Although, my memory is getting pretty bad year after year. It’s kind of annoying really. I once had an idea in my head, for The Occult Collection this was, that I didn’t write down. It kept nagging at me like you wouldn’t believe. Every time I tried to think about something else, this idea would intrude in some way. Finally, I relented. I typed out everything I had in my head. It took a little while for everything to go away. I do believe I was typing for about three hours that day before it was all out on the page (screen, whatever).

So, that’s my little bit of info on how I keep my ideas, at least somewhat, organized. Some of the document files don’t look nearly as organized as they should, but at least the WIP’s don’t look too shabby. They have a rather generic manuscript format to them; double-spaced, 12 pt. Courier font, 1″ margins, cover page, header, etc. Maybe one of these days I’ll stop writing notes down on random scraps of paper and just keep it all in one place, but I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon.

So tell me, how do you keep your ideas organized?

Breaking up with your book

Street of Dreams

Dearest —–

You must have seen it coming. My eyes have been wondering to other books on the shelf. I  have gingerly caress their spines as yours sat collecting dust.

And then there were those occasions when I did pick you up. After waiting months and months to see you, I sighed, enthralled perhaps for a minute or two, but quickly the feeling vanished and I was left, forcing myself to keep going, hoping inspiration would hit us again.

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It didn’t.

I furrowed my head at your plot twists. What once seemed ingenious now became convoluted and redundant. As more and more seemingly filler characters came into the picture, as your story become self-aggrandizing and obese, as your story veered off into tangent after tangent in an obvious allegory to Christ which for some reason almost every dystopian series feels it must follow, I sat and wondered, were you the…

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Oh Edits, How I Love Thee

Apparently when I said “extremely rough draft” in reference to Anniversaries, I was understating…by quite a bit. Wow. I mean, just wow. It’s that bad. Keep in mind that this is the first book I ever wrote. A lot of time and energy went into it, not to mention massive amounts of cramps in my right hand. It was written with a pen and paper. Copious amounts of words and notes later I have this finished product that I was so proud of. And rightly so I should think. Anyone that begins and finishes a piece of written work should give themselves a pat on the back for achieving their goal. Whether the writing is good or not is another question.

In this case, it was not. I’ll give an example in a moment, but I must first touch on something else. I never thought back then that the writing was excellent. Never expected it to be published right off the bat. I’m not stupid or naive, I knew it needed work. I didn’t really realize how bad it was even while I was doing edits on it over and over again. Then I get a swift kick in the slats last night when I’m reading just the first chapter.

How I even stayed awake I still don’t understand. Talk about snoozeville. So as an example, in the first three pages I kept only 30 or so words that were actually useful to the story. Add to that they weren’t even useful at the beginning. I’m torn at the moment between completely starting over, maybe changing POV or changing the MC, and trying to salvage something out of this mess that is my first finished book. On one hand I have the ability to revamp the story completely, which I honestly believe it needs. On the other hand, I have the chance to keep it how it is, but to fix what needs to be fixed.

Either way I have my work cut out for me, but it’s something I’m determined to do. I think I’ll go with option number one and see how it works out.

Back At It

Ok, it’s been far too long since I did a post here, or any kind of writing for that matter. That sucks. But thankfully I can get back into it again because I’ve missed it sooooo much. My head is so full of ideas that I can’t keep them all straight anymore. Before I get into any of the new stuff though, other than jotting down the notes and ideas for each of them that pop into my head once in a while, I’ll be revisiting Anniversaries. I’ve been thinking about this book so much lately and I just can’t stay away from it anymore.

Bad news. Completed copies (seriously ALL THREE OF THEM!) are gone now; disc copy, USB copy, hard copy. All gone. Wth?!?! Fortunately I’ve had a critique or two done on it online before so I at least have the extremely rough first chapter to go with. I’m actually glad I don’t have more than that because there was so much that needed to be fixed on it. For those of you that even care, Anniversaries is in the M/T/S genre, rather than my favored Sci-Fi/Fantasy. It was the first one I completed and one of my favorite story ideas I’ve ever had so I’m ok with it being in a different genre than my norm.

So off I go again. Wish me luck and all that jazz. Looking forward to sharing with everyone once again.

Oh and I almost forgot…

As for The Temple, I’ll definitely be getting back into that as well.