Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Are Writers Organized?

I know not all writers are organized people. Some are haphazard, writing and living in chaos. They write by the seat of their pants. But it seems to me that the majority of those I know are organized.

It’s difficult to create, maintain, and explore a world without some sort of organization to do that. If you create a whole town, the entire population of that town, their lives, interactions, connections, then you have to keep track of it all. Especially if it’s a series. A lot of series writers create what I call the Book Bible to keep track of everything in their books – the characters’ lives.

Sometimes that organization carries over into the authors’ lives. Sometimes it doesn’t.

It does in mine. I need some sort of structure on my desk – notebooks, folders, stacks. I keep a calendar; I have a PDA; I carry my cell phone. And every so often I have to stop the creeping chaos of disorder.

Recently I looked at this blog and it had gotten out of control. The colors, the junk I had added into my profile. I had to re-do it. It took a whole day because when I changed the scheme, I lost everything in the sidebars, so I had to re-do all the links, the slideshow, the widget, the profile, etc. But it was worth it. I look at it now and like the look.

Now I have to tackle my website. It’s out of date. Bleh. I want to change the colors, change the whole look. But to do what I want to do, I’ve got to learn layering. It’s scary, but I’m trying to figure it out. Gotta take the plunge and go for it. But first I need to make a notebook for a freelance editing project I’m working on. And I need to make a To Do list for the week. And I’m working on a project for a company I’m doing freelance for. I need a notebook for that too.

Okay, you don’t have to tell me I’m using organization to avoid doing something scary. Guess I should add “learn layering” to my To Do list. And then prioritize the list. Maybe if I scheduled each project on my calendar. And I’ll need to clear room on my desk for the new notebooks. But first I have to go buy some notebooks. I want the freelance project notebooks to be a different color than my personal notebooks, of course. Oh yeah, I need some tabs to mark pages in my book on layering. Shoot, I need a list of supplies to buy. Should I put “supply list” on my To Do list? Clearly, I am unorganized. I’ll add “get organized” to my list.


  1. Oh boy, Helen, you sound like me! "Things" creep up and plop themselves on top of my desk and after it gets a couple of inches high I have to stop and say, okay, time to get better organized. without it, my NIP reflects the disorganization--or maybe I use that as an excuse to escape the NIP when the going gets tough!

  2. Sylvia, you're so right about using excuses to escape the NIP when the going gets tough. When I'm trying to figure out what happens next, I lay down and let my mind consider the possibilities, then wake up 30 minutes later with nothing. Or I might decide I'm hungry, or behind in another project. All I'd doing is delaying the inevitable. Eventually, I have to get back to the NIP and work through the problems.


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