May 15, 2017

Organizing Your Writing

Organizing Your Writing

As a writer, things accumulate. Papers, files, drawings, books, and more. The next thing you know you're buried in a mound of writing-related papers and you can't find anything.

That is why organizing your things is so important. If you keep things neat, then you'll be able to find what you need, when you need it. (That's the important part.) In this post we'll be looking at how you can organize your writing things whether they're physical or digital.

Sorting first

Before you can get started organizing anything, the first step is to sort it and get rid of what you don't need. Don't freak out, though. Notice I only said to get rid of what you Don't Need.

It's not that hard. Get all of whatever you're sorting together, then look through it. If you no longer need a paper, have irrelevant information, or are not likely to use something again, get rid of it. See, it's not that hard. But make sure you don't hold on to everything in case you need it again. Most of it you probably won't. Make your choices wisely.

Organizing papers

First you'll need to find all your papers. Grab it all and get it in one place. Then, using the above guide, sort through it.

Now that you have it all, and have it sorted through, it's time to get it organized. Start by dividing papers up by category. Each novel and any related papers (outline, worldbuilding, character profiles, etc.) should go together. Put them in a folder or something similar so they stay together.

When everything is organized, you need to find a place to put it all. A shelf or somewhere in your desk is best. Anywhere you can get to it easily is great. After you've picked a spot, the rest is up to you. You can organize it alphabetically, shove on the shelf in no order, or whatever else you might decide.

I keep my writing in folders under my desk in these organizers. To the right, you can also see my writing books.

Organizing books

If you're a writer, you've probably also collected a lot of books. Some for reference, some for research, and others that have just accumulated. To organize them, start again by sorting through them. There are ones you probably no longer need and can get rid of.

Then you'll want to find an easy to get at place for them. I recently moved all my reference books- dictionary, thesaurus, stylebook, etc.- to my desk so I could access them better. You may want to do the same. Other books that you don't need as frequently can go on your normal bookcase.

Organizing files

Computer files can really add up over time. They take up space on your laptop and can easily get lost. Try to find them all and get them in one folder labeled "writing" before you start. Then you'll want to, you guessed it, sort them. Plenty of them you'll find you no longer need. Delete any that you can get rid of.

My writing folder. Click on it to see it full sized.

Organizing on the computer can be more tricky than organizing physical papers. What I do is put all writing under the folder by that label. I then have them divided up into folders by novel or resource, which I've labeled with the appropriate label. "NaNoWriMo 2016" or "Return to Wonderland" for example.

My writing resources.

I also have a large sub-folder full of more sub-folders with writing resources. Workbooks, e-books, character profiles, and so on. You don't have to do this, but I like things to be super organized.


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Those are my tips for organizing your writing. Even if you don't think of yourself as a tidy person, I encourage you to try it anyway. It will help you a lot, and if you work hard to always put things away, you won't have to reorganize for a long time.

Let's talk! How do you organize your writing? Are you a neat freak like me? Tell me in the comments.

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