“You are so organized.” The lady at church noticed my notebook. It has tabs for each class that I attend. It has a section for the church service. It even has a nice little pocket to hold my bible (which was purchased because it was thin and would fit in the pocket).
My notebook IS organized. I have invested time and energy into keeping it organized. She might not be so impressed if she looked at the rest of my life.
Building a successful writing career REQUIRES organization. If that was not clear enough, without organization in your writing you will spend more time spinning your wheels than making actual progress. Pursuing writing as a paying career requires organization.
On the flip side, too much organization can lead you into a stall. It takes more than planning to reach that success. It takes action. You have to write if you want to be a writer. That is as fundamental as it gets.
Finding that balance between stalling and spinning will be a personal path. What works for one person may not work for another or may actually be the problem for that other. Learn from others. Experiment in your own walk. Keep what works. Modify or discard what does not work.
Ideas for Being Organized Write
- Define organized. Being organized is just having a system that lets you find what you need when you need it. My husband and I have finally come to the conclusion that we have different systems (and we have been married for over two decades). He is systematic. If you write it in an order it must be followed in that order. I am symbolic. It is written there to remind me that it needs to be done. I will start at the top, move to the bottom, and then hop around in the middle. I have stopped writing my husband lists.
- Repeat what works. Think about something you have that is “organized” to the point that you can find what you need right now – and then look for ways to repeat that success in other areas. I have created a writing schedule (an editorial calendar of sorts) that mimics my notebook. Each segment is color coded and it is all on one sheet for easy reference. Having it all right there together is one of the reasons I LOVE my notebook, so it made sense to repeat that with my writing.
- Let it go. It is time to release the clutter from your life, from your schedule, and especially from your desk! If you are like me, those piles multiply on a minute by minute basis. I have started setting aside time one day a week to declutter (refile, file 13, and follow through) on all of those files piled up on my desk. We do the same thing throughout the house. If it is not used (within the last year), loved, or honored, then it is time to find it a new home. The more space we create, the easier it is to enjoy. Make room for your writing by letting go of the clutter.
- Think outside the box (or in my case IN the box) when it comes to creative organization. I am bad to jot down a title or an idea on a whole sheet of paper and sometimes in margins of other papers. Those notes would get lost in the shuffle. Last year, I transformed a recipe box that was my MIL into an idea box. I now write those ideas on index cards and file them in the box. If I hit a block or am struggling to get started, then I have a box full of ideas to inspire the words. Get creative when you are creating your organization.
- Remember the time. Time is the only thing you will never be able to create. You get what you get, so you better use it with care. By taking steps to let go of the clutter and organize your writing, you will find you have more time to write. Make the most of this time. Chris Brogan encourages readers to use digital timers to focus. I have two timers – one set at 15 and one at 30. I set a timer and write like crazy for that time. After that, I work around the house or take a short break before plowing back in. Budgeting the time with precise care will open the door for more money making opportunities (and it will help you stay on target for all your deadlines).
Each person will create a unique path for being organized. Trying to fit down another path will just cause frustration, tire spinning, and possibly a stall. Make your own way. You are unique, so you should just embrace that idea and forge ahead. Finding your way to define organized, to clear the clutter, to implement a successful plan, and to make the most of your time will help you develop the habit of organized write.
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