Writing Stuff: Sorting Stuff

I’m writing this in the hope that my ramblings on this matter are useful to someone else out there who hasn’t got a clue where to start. I can’t tell you how to organise, but I can show you the reasonings I’m using and that may help someone reading this to get their work to a good place.

I am incredibly disorganised and I’m ashamed of this. I’ve been quite sharp in a business setting, and for a while I wasn’t bad at home. I’m not so good now. Over the last week, I’ve had to face some brutal truths about my (lack of) organisational skills and my issues.

Perhaps the main issue is that I can’t help myself. I have to reinvent the wheel. I have to create my own system. The internet is awash with courses and aides to organise your writing but I can’t seem to pick one. The trouble is, none of them quite fit me. Again, this is nothing to be proud of and intensely irritating, but I need at least a chance of keeping up with the organisation so I need to work out what I’m doing. I’m starting with this.

It’s a ring binder with dividers. I’m still working it out, and I can see myself with multiple ring binders, but it’s a start. Here’s the plan, but it’s a work in progress.

First of all, I aim to record all of the writing I have kicking around on the laptop, on blogs and in books. This may take some time, but I think it’s worth it. It will help me group stuff together and hopefully track plots and characters across multiple books and short stories. I plan to make a list divided up into year and month with the title and a quick note about the setting. I’ll also record where they’re stored on the computer so that I have a fighting chance of finding them again and I can organise the stuff on the computer at the same time.

The second step is to create a new email address and to email all the work to that address. That way everything will be in two places – the sent folder of one email and the received folder in another. It can go in step with the recording of writing and I can note the date that the email was sent.

There is a third step, because I need to have something like a concordance of characters. I don’t want a character having blue eyes in one story then brown eyes later. I like to refer back to keep consistency about how characters, for example, drink their tea and coffee. Lord Marius has been indulging in hot drinks for over a decade, so I need to keep an eye on things. All main characters will have a full page with all their characteristics and a note of in which books and stories they appear. I can make a list of minor characters per book and cross reference if a character grows enough to need its own page.

I also need to have a list of ideas for books. Apart from the urban fantasy that I’ve self published, there are the steampunk and fantasy books that are currently out of print (working on that) which all have ideas that could run for a few more stories. Then they’re the stories where I have ideas, and have sketched some stuff out, but aren’t out there. They include, but are not limited to, fantasy romance, cosy werewolf bookshops and some very intense vampires with an accountant. As I am easily distracted, having a page where I have these ideas will hopefully keep me more focused.

Writing things down with a pen onto paper helps me organise my thoughts so much better, so I’ll be keeping things on paper, in a folder, hopefully, fingers crossed, with a following wind and a little bit of luck.

If this works and grows, I’ll post more. This isn’t me telling you what to do. This is me sharing my imperfect journey. I’d love it if you could add your experiences and advice, or just tell me what you think. I’m always willing to learn.

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