Being creative, you probably have notes… everywhere, to put it lightly. If you’re anything like me, you have hundreds of notebooks, filled, half-filled, or not yet even started, many scattered notes on your phone, screenshots for social media post ideas, and… you get the idea. Being this disorganized can hinder your progress. Here are 5 tips on how to stay organized for writers, and that worked for me.
How To Stay Organized for Writers #1: A Writer’s Journal
This is for all of you, my friends, who love good old pen and paper. This journal, specifically, serves only one purpose: keeping all your sporadic notes in one place. Have a shiny new idea? Jot it down before it’s lost. Finally, figure out that specific plot twist for your current project. You have a place to put that down, too. Everything even remotely writing-related goes here. Even a grocery list might sneak its way into these pages while you carry this notebook around with you everywhere, but try to keep that separate. If possible. That’s my first and most important tip to stay organized for writers
How To Stay Organized for Writers #2: A Calendar
Use one, please. You can tell yourself you don’t need it, but trust me, you do and this article proves it. It’s entirely up to you if you use a digital one or a physical one (or both). Put everything in it and set reminders: writing sessions planned in advance, character birthdays (or family members and friends, if you prefer people in real life), that work meeting you’re dreading, the deadline for your writing project, and doctor’s appointments. With this wonderful tool, you will be on top of all the things, both writing and generally life-related stuff. That way, you will have a clear view of how much time you’re able to allocate to, you know, writing.
How To Stay Organized for Writers #3: A Running To-Do List
This helps you see what needs to be done. Add to it as new tasks arise and schedule them into your calendar system so you don’t forget anything. This list ought to be long and it’s okay. Sometimes you need to get groceries for the weekend and sometimes you need to write that last chapter of your story that you’re procrastinating on.
Having such a list of a variety of tasks can keep you from wasting your time on social media, as you can always check this particular list and tick off something that’s awaiting your attention since last Monday. This kind of list is better kept separate from your writer’s journal unless you make one specifically for only writer-related things.
How To Stay Organized for Writers #4: Folders
This can also be either digital or physical, whichever is your preference. Folders can be organized in several ways, try out different systems to see what is the easiest to use for you. For example, you can keep a folder per writing project (if you have more than one, which you probably do, right?).
There can be a new folder for character fanart as well. A folder for shiny new ideas (that we are not touching until we are done with your current project, okay?). There is an option to have a folder for visual mood boards that inspired your projects (or you can keep a folder within a folder previously made for your project). There are many different folders you can make to help yourself find the notes and documents you need faster.
How To Stay Organized for Writers #5: List of Goals and Rewards
This is another tip to stay organized for writers. It can help you stay focused and inspired at the same time! Take some time to make a list of goals for the week, month, quarter, and year. The recommendation is to go backward: start with the big goal list for the whole year, then break it down to four quarters, months, and finally, weekly. If you want, you can pick a goal for the day, too. Each milestone you hit can have a reward attached to it.
Take a moment to think about what would motivate you to finish your current project. Maybe you’d love to print out your manuscript for revisions? Or buy that newly released book you’re dying to read? For smaller milestones, the reward can be smaller, think of an afternoon in the park journaling about your shiny new idea you’re dying to explore (but need to wait until you’re done with your current manuscript). Allow yourself a variety of goals and rewards.
All in all, there are many ways to help yourself be more organized. It can be as simple as putting all your writing-related notes in one place or taking an afternoon to organize your folders, either digitally or physically, to see what material you already have for all your projects in mind. All this organization might take a while, but when you’re done and are able to keep up with it, in the end, you will have more time to write (because all your notes are in one place and you have no excuse but to write). Hope you find these tips on how to stay organized for writers helpful.
Did you find this post interesting? Check out our guide to help you increase your daily writing count.