Hello, everyone! Organizing your writing can be pretty tricky. I know that for a long time I was a little all over the place. But with a little work, I made a system that works great, and is easy to maintain.
The first thing I want to cover is what I do when I get a story idea. Sometimes I’ll just think about it for a few days, letting it build in my head, but usually I wan to write it down so I don’t forget about it. I used to just scribble them everywhere, but then I couldn’t ever find what I needed to.
Eventually I switched to Evernote. It’s a pretty simple note-taking platform. For a long time, I actually used google keep for this, and I still occasionally do, but I like the look and feel of Evernote better personally. Every time I get a new story idea, I create a new note, and then put it in the story idea folder. If I’m at school, church, or just don’t have my phone on me, I write it down in the back of my bullet journal, to transfer to evernote later.
After writing it down I usually end up waiting for a while before working on it again. When I do work on it, I’ll find the note and begin writing out loose plot/blurb ideas so I can figure out what works best. If I like it I’ll open up a new google document and start writing a chapter or two to get a feel for it.
Now, I use google docs for pretty much everything. But I have three email addresses, one for my pen name, one for my regular email, and one for school. When I’m switching between my phone, laptop, and school Chromebook, it’s easy to loose files or forget to share them.
To solve this problem, I created one folder under my pen name email address and shared it with both other email addresses. It’s called ‘Loretta’s Writing Folder.’ Inside that folder I have folders like ‘finished,’ ‘abandoned,’ ‘poetry,’ short stories,’ and then 2-4 other folders specifically for big projects I’m working on. Currently those include ‘Princess Chronicles,’ ‘Tales of Atlantia,’ and ‘Prince Charming.’
Below those folders I have the review request form, formatting template for novels, a collection of writing prompts, and a fourth story I’m working on that doesn’t have a folder.
To me, this way of organizing everything works great. Everything has a home, and everything is shared with every email address!
Planning In Evernote
Now, if there’s a story I’m working on that’s like Princess Chronicles or Tales of Atlantia, I’ll make a folder for it in Evernote and store all of the most important information there, so that I can always access it.
I usually have a few files within the Evernote folder, and for this I’ll use Princess Chronicles as an example. I have the following files: ‘blurbs,’ ‘The Runaway Princess notes,’ ‘The Mountain Princess notes,’ ‘Characters,’ ‘Dedications/Author Bio/etc.’ ‘Timeline,’ ‘The Ambassador Princess notes,’ ‘The Servant Princess notes,’ and ‘Random.’
Now, the bulk of the information I have on the Princess Chronicles, which I’ve been working on for almost four years, is not in Evernote. However, the most important and relevant information is all stored safely in there, where I can access it as long as I have either my phone or laptop.
The bulk of my information is actually stored in a handy white binder. It’s also where I store every story idea I’ve ever worked out on a piece of notebook paper, every map I’ve ever drawn, and every little plot chart.
I separate my binder with tabs for every series and then the last one for random story ideas/short stories. Within my Princess Chronicles tab is a list of characters (names only), plot charts (which I talk about here), and maps (of both the castles and countries), a list of character’s personality types, and in the back there’s pages of notes from my first drafts, and original blurbs.
I don’t carry my binder around the school, or even out of the house. That’s why I have evernote, and pictures of the plot charts on my phone. It is a very handy thing to have though, and I always know if I can’t remember something I can flip through that.
The last thing I use for organization is my stick note wall. I did mention this in a previous blog post as well. I have two sets of closet doors, on one of them is a large web of sticky notes for Princess Chronicles. Every single sticky note is a character, and has their age, relation to other characters, and physical description. There’s also a few bullet points on each with various things I need to remember, and a color-coded system of markers for telling which kingdom they’re in.
On the other closet door there’s a plot chart similar to the ones I’ve mentioned before, just on sticky notes instead of paper. That’s still a work in progress, and it’s actually for Evie’s Empire.
I know this must seem like a lot but you really don’t need as many systems as I do. I have a tendency to be over-organized and to write down everything I ever think. I also forget things easily. You’d never guess it, but that’s because I know I’ll forget, so I write it down.
I hope you got at least something helpful from this, and if you have any questions or want further details on how I use one of the systems above, don’t be afraid to leave a comment or contact me! I’d love to hear from you!
As always, remember to like, comment, or share, whatever floats your boat! Until next time!