Organizing Your Work


“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck

What should you do with the dozens of writing ideas you have acquired from reading blogs and books on writing? If you’re a typical writer, you keep notebooks, 3 X 5 cards, envelopes, napkins, and even sticky notes handy to jot down any ideas as they come to you.

Learning to handle those ideas isn’t easy. There may be apps that will help you stay organized, but I’m a pen-and-paper person. So an app suggestion would fall on my deaf ears – for now anyway. I’ve learned to handle my numerous notebooks and random pieces of paper in a more organized fashion using folders. For example I maintain separate folders for:

  1. Each of my short stories
  2. Character, business, and place names
  3. Descriptions of interesting locales, occupations, and hobbies
  4. How to write mysteries articles
  5. How to write romance articles
  6. How to develop characters information
  7. Plot ideas, titles, and dialogues
  8. And each of the novels I’m working on

In the past I simply dumped any writing not relevant to what I was working on at that time. Never again. I no longer dump ideas, which may not work in one story but could be used in a future manuscript. One phrase from my “Titles” folder with an idea from my “Romance” folder combined to create the beginning of the romance manuscript that I started some time ago. It’s still a work-in-progress. Of course, this story has its own folder.

What suggestions do you have for organizing your writing?

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