Posted by: Toni Kelly | April 18, 2012

Get Organized

In my day job, I manage several people with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. As I coach them through their current roles in preparation for future roles, I tell them to draw on their strengths and work or their weaknesses. I, myself, have always had a tough time in staying organized. In order to keep that in check, I use folders and lists. I write lists for everything in my day job. And if I don’t, it most likely won’t get done.

This weekend, as I sat down to write this blog and work on some manuscripts, I realized that I carry my organization from my day job into my personal life and my writing. As I comb through a draft of a paranormal I’m writing, I list out plot areas I need to connect better, characters I should develop and parts of the work that just don’t make sense and need fixing or nixing.

Admittedly, I do realize that if I plotted my works before hand, I might not have to go through all this trouble in the rewrite, but I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t seem to work for me—at least for now. Most of the time I don’t follow my original plot and then I end up doing the in depth rewrite anyway.

Well, of course my love of lists and my aim for organization got me thinking about what others do to keep themselves organized. One of the most difficult things about writing a book is the fact that the more complex plots are hard to keep straight. I’m sure you’ve all picked up a book, read it and then been unhappy due to plot holes or a story that just didn’t flow/make sense. These come as a result of an author being unable (or forgetting) to tie all the strings together.

There is no need for these types of books. There are tons of plotting tools out there and quite frankly, that is what critique partners are for. Or, if you lack access to either of these currently, go ahead and try lists or creating a table in excel to keep your story straight. What about you writers out there? How do you stay organized? Please feel free to share any recommendations.

Happy writing this week and see you next!

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Responses

  1. Today everyone seems to be blogging about getting organized..I did as well and stopped by another blog who posted about it also. For me staying organized is a lot of notes and lists..I make notes to remember stuff for a story that I might need to resolve and little things like that. this way I shall not forget to resolve them. Great post by the way.

  2. Toni, I have a list for my lists! It’s clearly out of control. Like you though, I tried outlining before hand, and it doesn’t work for me either. I have a beginning, middle and end in mind when I start to write, but the story kind of evolves, and when it’s finished, I do the re-writes. Today I need to get my S##T together and do a few things. (I’ve been sick, so … things do pile up).

  3. I’m organized in everything in life except my writing, lol! Drives my OCD side crazy!

  4. I have a monster of an excel file that keeps everything from my word count stats, self editing to-dos/tracking, scene summary, character details and general to be written/re-written ideas
    Not sure what I would do w/o this file and yes i back-up daily :)
    Love these kinds of posts, b/c there is always something else you can do to stay organized and they usually lead me to fixing some area that is a little dis-organized


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