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?


Random and Cluttered Thoughts

So much going on, so much to talk about, so much to do, and I can’t keep my thoughts on one thing for too long. So today I’ve decided to randomize my blog post and see if some of this stuff just goes away. Hopefully it works.

First off, the February Blog Chain for Absolute Write this month is gonna be a tough one for me. The person going before us gets to pick our topic. This means I have two days to write about something completely random. Wha……… I don’t do so well with short-term writing goals. Hence the nerves. Granted, I didn’t HAVE to sign up for it, but I love doing the blog chain and it’s fun to read what others write about our suggested topics. So, I WILL TRY!

I’m looking for suggestions for a Fantasy epic I haven’t read yet. I suppose it doesn’t have to be an epic, could be a stand alone book, a trilogy, whatever. But I prefer an epic. Those are my favorite. Nothing like being lost is someone else’s world for over a week…or more if possible. I can only read the Lord of the Rings, Dark Tower series, and Shadowmarch series so many times back to back. It’s time for something new.

Ugh, Anniversaries has been taken out of submissions and is strictly in revisions at the moment. I know I just said this in a recent post, but it needs repeating. I’ve been working on this novel for years now and it’s beginning to become frustrating. I’ve put a lot of work into it. Perhaps it will have to sit for a while without me touching it or thinking about it. Though the not thinking about it part will be difficult, I shall do it!

I finally made a Twitter account today to link my blogs to. Yeah, go me! Hopefully it will give them a bit more exposure. Only time will tell.

Oh goodness, I was napping today (horrible, I know, but I couldn’t help it) and some wank in the apartment complex was blaring his car radio right under my window. So what do I do in my cranky-first-waking-up stage? I go to the window and yell that people are trying to sleep. My man comes in the room shortly after laughing so hard that even though I was still a bit cranky, I couldn’t help but smile. That’s one of the only things I don’t like about living here. I’m a country girl at heart, I dislike city living. And I dislike music when I’m trying to sleep even more. I get it from my mama that I just wanna get up and dance when I hear music. Always have, always will. Real talk, it wakes me up from a dead sleep every time. Something that I’m sure annoys my significant other because we have different sleep schedules (for the most part) and he likes to listen to music when he’s bored. I try not to let it bother me, but it’s like a television being too loud in the background when I’m trying to read. It can be partly tuned out, but not completely.

Oh, I’ve come to a bad place in The Dark Hand. Bad as in meaning I can’t seem to write anything more on it and nothing much has happened yet (not even 9,000 words on it to this point). I was hoping it wasn’t going to be yet another of those stories that I start to write and it fizzles before I get even a quarter of the way through it. That’s what it’s looking to be though. I have more ideas in my head, in my notebook, on my computer, and on my phone, but I was more excited about this one than the others. What to do, what to do??

I need to find better, more effective ways to promote my blogs. I know essentially they are the same thing as I post the same on both of them. And maybe that’s where part of the problem is, that they’re far too much alike. They are on two different blogging networks so I thought at least one of them would have more exposure. But I think I have something like three followers (which I am thoroughly grateful for) on one of them, and when I look at the stats for both, they are horrible. Well, I’ll give it more time and try to get more people interested in them, and we’ll see what happens.

And lastly, I never thought I’d say this, but I love Texas winters. I’m originally from Michigan so the move down here was a bit of a shock when it happened this past August. My goodness was it hot, even then. I know the temps then were nothing compared to what it’s going to be like when summer is in full swing and thankfully we have central air and swimming pools in the apartment complex. Being in Texas is such a huge change for me. Mainly being away from my mom, older brother, sister (sister-in-law technically but that’s a fine distinction I don’t pay attention to), my nephews, and of course all my fabulous friends and their amazing kids. I miss everyone a lot some days. That being said, I couldn’t be happier with the choice we made to come and live here.

There ends my random and cluttered thoughts. Incidentally it did help to clear my head a little bit so that’s good. Hopefully I haven’t bored you so much you’ve fallen asleep mid-post.