Monday, April 13, 2009

5 Steps to Organization & Writing

Ever since I signed the contract for my upcoming release, Guardian, I have been on a whirlwind tour of marketing and promotion. It seemed like my personal time, and my time to work on my next novel was thrown to the wind.

Now, let me tell you that 4RV Publishing, my publisher, has some great people. And, although I bear the brunt of the marketing and promotion, I've been able to ask questions of some of the fine folks there, and gotten good advice. My marketing and promotional plans are marching forward. I've tweeted, Facebook'd, Flapjacketed beyond my heart's content.

However, what about my writing? When do I have time to write? I believe that organization is the key. Some folks groan at the very thought of organization, others of us are organization demons, and most fall somewhere in between.

Step One: Making a schedule. One great idea to schedule in time to write, is exactly that: a schedule. Know what your day is going to bring, and lay it out in a nice, neat and concise schedule. You know: 9:00 to 10:00 emails, 11:00 to 11:30 social networking, 11:30 to 12:30 work on promotional and marketing information. Afternoon: Write 1500 words on new novel, or edit chapters 1 and 2 of new novel.

Of course, this schedule can vary. You may, for example, prefer to do your writing before doing anything else writing-related.

Step Two. Piles and Schedules. I have found that if I make a simple pile of the things I want to get to during the day, I get more done. In my pile for today, I have articles that I want to glean the links from, I have a couple of file folders that need labels, I have an article on RSS feeds, because I need to add that to my blog, and so forth.

Frankly, I use both piles and schedules. I have a small pad of lined paper that I wrote miscellaneous information on: links I want to pursue, a post I want to follow up on, people I want to contact, and so forth.

Step Three: Use a crate. I have a small crate for the top of my desk that keeps my most used file. In the first hanging folder, I keep files entitled: "My Blog - Interviewee Calendar;" "My Blog - Interviewee Questions;" "My Blog - Possible Interviewees."

In my second section of the crate, I keep the following files: "Blog - Possible Articles;" "Blog - Articles Used - January 2009." And so forth. By doing this, my pile is greatly reduced and I have the information I need clearly labeled and kept in one area.

Step Four: Keep track of your tasks on the computer. Now, I'm aware that Outlook 2007 can keep track of those for me. But I always feel better if I have a hard copy of things in my hot little hands. After I've waded through my pile, and read my notes, I'm ready to write.

Step Five: Get your Muse going. Forget about your schedule, the emails waiting for you, the files that need labels! If you have piles on your desk, create a specific place for them. I like to put any unfinished business on a table behind me. That way I'm not seeing it all the time. Out of sight, out of mind.

Pull out something you've been working on, reread the last chapter and go from there. I would suggest you avoid editing, at least at first, - it's too much like a task that you've listed. Be creative! Use writing tips and write about anything. Just something to get in the flow of things. Then work on your creative writing.

Do these simple five steps (in any order - whatever works best for you), and see if your days aren't more productive. Mine sure are.


Avily Jerome said...

Thanks for inviting me over, Katie!!! These are great ideas!

I'm one of those anti-organizational people. I know how valuable it would be, and I know I would get more done if I had some sort of system, but even implementing any sort of system takes organizational skills that make me cringe. :) I like your easy steps, though--that almost makes it sound doable.

As for scheduling, though, I have three kids five and under, so creating a schedule doesn't work. Ever. As soon as I start something, somebody poops or spills or trips and is bleeding all over.

A little at a time I'm finding moments to get a little writing done, though. It's a start.

Thanks for the ideas!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Good ideas. When I try to schedule my day, it seems as though 'life' gets in the way. But, I will try your 5 step routine a chance.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Morgan Mandel said...

I have such a hard time being organized, but I do try, just not all the time.

Morgan Mandel

Joyce Anthony said...

Katie--I really do try--you have some great ideas, but...

I signed up for a course on getting organized once-and my son jokes that I couldn't organize my time enough to fit it in!

Honestly--organized seems so foreign to me :-(