Organization in Writing

Hey all! I’m getting back into the swing of things. This month has not been the best in terms of writing. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew, or maybe I was just a little burned out. Not sure. I’m starting to get back into it though.

Exciting news – I’m going to be at Odyssey Con this weekend! And for the first time ever, I’m going as a panelist. I’m usually pretty shy and reserved when it comes to talking in front of people, but maybe a geeky topic will make me less anxious. I’ll be out there on Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be on a Harry Potter panel, two writing panels, and I’m running an Overwatch panel all by my lonesome!

Also! Patreon suggestions for the month of April close on the 26th! The post with all the information can be found: HERE! Check things out~

Anyway, the topic of today’s post is organization in writing. It’s one that I’ve been meaning to talk about but never really felt qualified to do so. I’m not really good at the whole organization thing, at least in general. There are a series of tweets about me forgetting character details or losing information on them. I’m totally a professional. But here goes!

getting started

So here’s the thing, these are the things that worked for me. They might not work for you. I use this disclaimer a lot because everyone is different and everyone has a different process. But like with many things, finding out what doesn’t work is a learning experience. It helps in a way.

So I mentioned that I’m not hugely organized. I really struggle with organization as a whole. I remember my sixth grade teacher turning my desk upside down in the hallway and forcing me to organize it because of how messy it was. I wasn’t the only student who got that either. I’m just using that as an example for my disorganization.

Anyway. Writing is the one area where I have some semblance of organization. It’s my career, therefore I want it in order. It’s a work in progress.

what’s worked for me

This is going to seem like one of those ‘well, duh‘ suggestions. Don’t let the files on your computer sit around out of folders. This was one of the first things I started doing in terms of organizing my writing. It keeps everything neat and all the necessary files are in one place. Sure, you might have to click more to get at what you want, but you know exactly where it is. I initially started with genre, then moved on to by series, and have settled into each story getting its own folder. Knowing where everything is really helps me get into work quicker.

Part 2 is something I mention often: outlining. This is more in the sense of organizing the actual writing. When I was younger, I just let my writing lead me places. This led to me starting so many projects, but never finishing them. I had all the ideas in the world but absolutely no forward momentum. By letting my writing lead me, I was going into everything blind. I had no idea what I was doing – and you know what? That worked okay for Opus Aria. Though there are some weird bits with that novel because of it. Outlining though. By making a skeleton outline, I at least had a roadmap. I wouldn’t wind up veering off into left field, but I still had wiggle room for characters to surprise me. Outlining helped me know where I was going so I was able to complete projects.

The next one deals with keeping character information all together. I do my character planning 100% by hand. I write it down, its just what works for me. (I also usually outline by hand). This leads to a few problems down the road. I fill up notebooks and move on to the next one. And while I keep all my notebooks, I don’t always have all of them with me at all times. So what happens when the character information for a story is from four years ago and I don’t have that notebook with me? (tweets read from bottom to top)

Those tweets are what happen.

So when I can’t remember the information about my characters, I feel stupid. And like I’m failing at being a writer – so friends have recommended character bibles and various sites on where to do this.

I finally started working on mine yesterday. As of now, the character bible for Convergence Point 2 is done and the HeavensGaze one is in progress.

All done in Google Sheets. This way I know how everyone looks, their age, their personality, and all the little important bits I might need to know. And since its in Sheets? I can update it at any time. I think this is really going to help me in the future. Hopefully I can avoid those (admittedly amusing) panicked tweets while I try and hunt down information.

Conclusion…

Like everything else with writing, organization is something that improves with time. And what works for me might not work for anyone else. Hopefully these methods work for some of you, if not, keep looking. There’s going to be something out there that works.

Anyone have anything that works particularly well for them? Any suggestions that have absolutely failed?

Happy writing!
~LL

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2 thoughts on “Organization in Writing

    • Hey Ben,
      I hadn’t thought of using a macro for saving backups on files, that’s a really good idea. My folder system is *similar* to yours, but also different. I’ve been considering cleaning it up a little as its getting a bit unruly.
      Thanks for sharing how you’ve been organizing your writing!

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