Monday, July 07, 2008


Organization takes skill and time.
Put all your eggs in one basket or better yet place all your books in a row.

There is going to come a time in your writing career when you’ve written so much that you just don’t know what to do with it all. This is when you should begin organizing (or should have already done so) and putting your work in a place for easy access. (I know, there are some who are just organizational masters and have everything in the most perfect order, but that is not me.)

Now after a while, I began seeing a pattern of chaos, but then I knew that somewhere in the midst of chaos lies peace. Peace came in the form of Microsoft Excel. It is a perfect place to make lists of your work, submissions, dates (written, submitted, accepted, or not heard from) and lets not forget the published pieces. The ‘published pieces’ gets a little box of its very own. Hopefully, everything you have listed above this special box will find its way melting down into this box. (Or maybe place this one on top for further encouragement.)

As for the writing itself, I normally organize it into folders. One folder might say SHORT STORIES, the next folder might say NOVELS, the next will say articles, there’s one for POETRY, etc. etc. You get the picture? Sure you do.

Would you believe I have one folder listed as Joni’s Junk? Well yes siree, I have in it all of my unfinished stories. Things I started and just never got around to revising or finishing. They will soon be in the active folders of Novels, Short Stories, Poetry. (Because I’m in an organizing mood.)

It seems I took a break from writing consistently every day, and focused on knowledge and learning. Somewhere along the line I was sidetracked into thinking that I could get away with not writing and just learning when in fact it was writing that had been tugging at me the whole time.

I roam the halls of the online Writer’s Village University, hop from site to site, aiding and abetting, but recently my writing had come to a standstill. I thought to myself, "Maybe I’m not supposed to be a writer afterall." You know the negative thoughts that seep into a writer’s mind, don’t you? Yes you do, we all have had these moments (even briefly, but we’ve had them.)

Since I’m not one that melts into a negative pool of wax, I turned myself around and began writing every daggone day! Even if it is nothing of importance, I write. I decided to ORGANIZE my writing time and instead of focusing on every one else, I decided to focus on Number one for a change. (That is the hardest thing to do! Have a selfish moment.)

Organization doesn’t need to be selfishly motivated. It is a place where everything comes together like the meshing of cogs, where chaos no longer has a home. I can still find time to roam the halls, feed my hunger for knowledge, drink from the fountain of the pen, march to the tapping of the keys, and soar with even the best of any airborne species.


June said...

I like your take on organization. Now, where did I leave that spare hour? LOL!

Great advice, Joni!

Take care,

Debbie/Granny said...

joni selfish - no way! Just because you take a little time to take care of numro uno doesn't mean you are being selfish.

Hey, the way I see it the more organized you get the more time you will have to spread those angel wings of yours and help others.

Great advice and great article.

Want to come get me organized? I could sure use the help. :-)


Charity said...

Yep, I use Excel to track submissions and various folder names for my writing. Although, I use the title of each novel as the main folder name, then underneath, have: draft 1, draft 2, etc.

I always make a new folder and copy of the manuscript when I start a new draft. You never know when you might want to grab a scene/line of dialogue/description from a few drafts back.

joni said...

You do know there is 25 hours in a day, right? teehee It is just for us writer's to have that EXTRA writing hour. Although we lose it eventually as time catches up to us. :-)

I wish I could come help but, geez, I need to think of ME ME ME! lol (((hugs to ya Deb)))

EXCELLENT added advice. I bet you don't have a Charity's junk file. :-)
Thanks for visiting and hopefully you'll come back again, and again and again.


Anonymous said...

Hah, I use the short story folder and then I usually end up with a great number of revisions that go under various titles.
My NIP is under one folder and in that, dozens of folders. The original chapter one got scrapped in favor of chapter 1 version c and that got moved over and merged with Chapter 6D which is actually chapter 3b with a combo of Chapter 10a.

See? I need a better system.

I know what's happening in my head, but my folders look a mess.

What's a body to do?