Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dear Kerrie: Organization

Every Monday I will answer your writing questions. So send me them by Friday each week. No question is too small or too big and I will do my best to get to all of them.

Dear Kerrie,
I am having a hard staying organized. I have piles of papers everywhere--receipts, blog ideas, book ideas, notes, statistics, etc. Do you have any ideas about what I can do?

Dear Pat,
By organizing the behind the scenes part of your writing life, it will clear your mind and allow your thoughts to flow better for your actual writing. With just a few simple systems in place you will soon feel more organized and more relaxed to write.

Organizing Your Ideas
There are a couple of things you can do to organize your ideas:
  • Journal or Notebook
    Use this to write down all your ideas that come to you. Keep it with you, so you will always have a way to get those thoughts down. If you want to separate your ideas into blog, book, articles...find a notebook that has different sections.
  • Hanging Folder
    Set up an "ideas" hanging folder in your desk. This way if you see something in a magazine or the newspaper you can tear it out and put it in your folder for later. You can write down ideas and add them to this folder as well.
  • Note Cards and container
    Keep note cards with you at all times. As ideas come, write each idea separately on a note card. Then have a note card holder at home. You can even get tabs to put in the holder to separate your categories. Keep all the cards you have filled out in here. Then when you get ready to work on your book, pull out all the book cards and you are ready to go.
You don't need anything fancy for your receipts, you just want to make sure you keep them for tax purposes.
  • Folder
    The easy thing to do is have a manila folder that you put all the receipts in. You can organize them more if you want and have a hanging folder with manila folders inside that for each month.
  • Envelopes
    Have an envelope for each month and put all your receipts in those.
It is important to track everything you send out. There are a couple of ways to keep track of your submissions.
  • Excel
    Create an Excel spreadsheet on your computer and track everything you send out. Be sure to put the date, what you sent, to whom, their contact info, the response, date of that, place for comments.
  • Notebook
    You can also use a simple spiral notebook and keep a running list of where you send out your queries, proposals, articles...Be sure to put the date, what you sent, to whom, their contact info, the response, date of that and any comments.
By finding a system that works for you, you will find more time to write and you will rid your mind of unneeded clutter.


1 comment:

Baja Rock Pat said...

Hi Kerrie,
I already posted a comment to your post, but for some reason it didn't take. Anyway, thank you for posting this! Now if I can just find somebody who will come in and go through all my piles and sort them out for me to be able to put them into binders!

Seriously though, thanks for the great advice.

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