I’m not sure about any other writers out there, but I know that sometimes, the organizational state of my writing can be pretty out of control. As part of my long list of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve vowed to put a stop to it. So, I started researching various methods to organize my writing and thought that I would share some of the tips that have been the most helpful for me. Here are 4 tips to help you organize your writing!
1. Have an ever-expanding ‘Idea Box’
I actually have been doing this for a long time and found it the most helpful way to organize my writing ideas! No, it’s not an actual box. However, I have talked with writers who do keep their ideas in a shoebox and that does work for them!
It is helpful to have all your writing ideas in ONE PLACE. Okay – maybe 2 places. I keep all my writing ideas in a file titled ‘Idea Box.’ In addition to that, I have a binder that I add ideas to when I have handwritten them.
Since I write various types of content, I also found it helpful to break down the ideas within my ‘idea box’ into categories. They include article ideas, fiction, essays, non-fiction, and poetry.
I also like to separate ideas like character ideas, plot ideas, ‘first sentences’ and so on. Having an ‘idea box’ as a writer is one of the best ways to keep all of your ideas in one place. You can use it as a bit of a ‘well’ to draw from when that little inspiration meter is running low.
2. Organize by ‘Deadlines’
As a writer, I think it’s important to set deadlines for yourself so the procrastination monster doesn’t get the best of you. Another good tip for organizing your writing is to keep the pieces that have the soonest ‘deadline’ at the top of your priority list.
I like to keep a post-it note on the first page of my planner, (that’s always evolving), that lists the pieces that I want to finish the soonest. This is a great way to track your progress and ensure you’re working on those most important pieces first.
3. Files are your Friend
I like to keep specific projects organized in files, both on my computer and on my desk (or, in my file cabinet). Everything that goes with a specific writing project needs to stay together so you don’t lose track of where you are – or what ideas you’ve come up with.
Make sure you’re keeping everything that deals with a specific project together. It sounds pretty obvious but in the past, I have let this get out of hand on more than one occasion.
Just keep everything (writings, ideas, characters, and so on), together. It’ll save you a pretty intense headache later on.
4. Keep Different Types of Writing Separate
I used to just save files without organizing them. This caused a whole lot of files that had nothing to do with each other piling on top of each other.
This is especially important if you write more than one type of content. Think of breaking them down into these categories: (just some examples!)
- Ideas (Characters, plots, locations, quick thoughts)
- Various Genres
- ‘Free Writing’
Staying organized as a writer is crucial!
As with everything else, we need to have our own system that works for us. Find the best way for you to organize your writing and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later 🙂