Are You Organized?
Being organized is the single most important factor in producing a well written, well edited novel or work of fiction, and one that is not simply abandoned on page twenty nine. Many people unfortunately find it difficult to ‘get organized’ in order to write down the first few paragraphs of their potential best seller. Doing so is all about discipline and starting as you mean to go on. This is the very first step on the road to achieving your goal of perhaps becoming a professional writer, so it’s important to make sure you don’t lose your footing on the very first rung of a necessarily long ladder. Here are a couple of tips for the disorganized.
Create a Title Folder: If you already are an organized person, please bear with me because there are many out there who are not, and maybe I don’t need to tell you this but to ‘get going’ … the very first thing you really need to do is create a new folder on your PC specifically for your intended manuscript. This is what I do for every writing project. It’s too easy to simply throw a ‘Word’ document on to your hard drive somewhere … and then days later struggle to find it. So give your project substance right from the very first ‘go’ by placing everything to do with the project in one single folder. This sounds so ridiculously simple you may well be having a small chuckle to yourself. But make no mistake, much valuable and frustrating time is spent by many potentially great writers trying to find a file they’ve forgotten the name of, on a stubborn PC that simply refuses to release it. It happens far too often. So, give your folder a title, hopefully the working title of the book itself, or simply 'My Book'. Whatever you do, ‘give it a title’ as this will focus your thoughts every time you open this folder and keep the storyline in the very forefront of your thinking. Again, you may somehow feel this is teaching a ‘grandmother to suck eggs’ … but you would be surprised at how many writers ignore this very basic first step to being organized … and end up in a mess!
Create Subject Folders: Creating subject folders; a simple thing to remember but something often ignored. The ‘Title’ folder will contain other sub-folders as your needs reveal themselves, but you could well give consideration to starting with the following: Manuscript, Research, Sketch, Images, Maps, Downloads and Character Profiles. The file contents of each subject folder will hopefully be self explanatory but the title ‘Sketch’ may be a new one to you. There will more on this subject in later Blogs.
Create Hard Copy Folders: For the ‘non-PC’ writer or typewriter specialist, you will obviously need to create real, 'hold-‘em-in-your-hand' files, and ones that will become progressively thicker as the manuscript evolves. When your writing project begins to develop, it’s a good idea to keep them ‘near’ you … you will refer to them regularly. This is the way I used to manage my writing projects in the 70’s and 80’s BC (Before Computers) and I feel sure there are not so many pen and paper writers left out there now. However, I do know of one very famous thriller writer who still puts down his work on paper with a manual typewriter and employs someone to ‘organize’ the manuscript on a PC. So if you are one of those who would prefer to write in hard copy, please do so but also make every effort you can to be ‘organized’!