The organized writer. Oxy moran right? Not for me. I love organizing. AND I’m creative. I read that author Annie Dillard realized writing down her thoughts gave her physical access to the contents of her mind. That is why I organize. I thought I’d write a series of posts about how I do it. I use a combo of high tech and low tech organizational tools. I’m hoping you will share with me what you do too.
I tell myself constantly, “I wish I was only working on one project at a time. It will be so much easier! So much less stress!” Ha! Yeah right. I always have more then one writing project going on at time, although luckily the projects are in different stages. For instance right now I have:
- A novel currently on submission
- A novel I’m revising
- A picture book that is slated for release this Fall
- A fairy tale I wrote for a collection that will be released in a zine soon!
- A comic book also scheduled for release later this year
- Another picture book I’ve been commissioned to write that is currently in a holding pattern
- A novel idea that I’m nurturing and collecting ideas on
- A Daily Writing Warm Up journal I’m creating
Yeah that’s a lot to keep track of. This is where organizing can come in handy so my head doesn’t explode. And sometimes yes it does mean putting some of these projects on hold while I concentrate on one. But keeping everything straight is so important to my sanity.
The high tech way:
There are two apps on my iphone that I love for project organization: Todoist and Evernote.
Todoist- I recently discovered this app. This is my number one place to list what projects I have going on and what I need to do for each of them.
On Todoist, there is a project tab where you can list all the projects you are currently working on it. And under each project you can list all the tasks you need to complete. Once you complete a task you can check it off as done. (This is important for me. I need this sense of satisfaction.) Then the next task you need to do goes to the top of the list. I do wish I could reorder the tasks though. I haven’t found a way to do that yet. This app is so easy to use. Very intuitive. And it’s free. There is a premium version but I find for my purposes I don’t need it.
I’ve used this app for a long time. I use it for more random project ideas. I keep a note for each project and write down things I need to do here.
It’s more of something I use when I want to get something down quickly or it’s just an idea and I’m not sure if I’ll use it (either a story idea or a to do item for the project). It won’t stay here. It will either go in my project idea notebook, Spark files (Things I talked about in my How to Organize Ideas post) or my Todoist app. Notes here aren’t just writing related. I have my “want” shopping list, gift ideas lists, and random ideas I’ve had while I’m out walking or running and don’t have a notebook with me. In this app you can also check off check boxes. A big plus for me.
My Big Ole White Board-
Admittedly I don’t use this as much anymore. But I do like having an “at a glance” look at where all my projects are currently. I keep it simple and easy to read. This board calms me when I get overwhelmed. I see where I am and know I can do these things one at a time.
I just got these babies at the Container Store. Oh I am in love. I usually have a file folder full of hard copy notes, lists and drafts when I’m working on a project. I was working the pile system on my desk for the longest time. Very decidedly not Beth-like. The piles were making me crazy. So I finally found these desktop flat files at the Container Store for each of my projects. Clear space on my desk, I love you so.
I often get asked: “How do you get so much done??” I’m no superwoman and it doesn’t always go great. I just write everything down. That’s the big secret. “But I can’t find the time!” People tell me. Finding the time… well you can do that too, but I think that’s a whole new blog post.
This is what I do to manage my writing projects. What do you do??