I dumped the entire contents of my purse on the floor of my doctor’s waiting room this week. Embarrassing? Yes. But there was a silver lining. While I was crawling on the ground (in a skirt!) gathering up the little pieces of my life, I made a few choice discoveries, including a $50 gift card for The Bay that was MIA since last Christmas and the head of my son’s much-coveted Darth Vader Lego figurine. Better than this though, I also found my ideas—long-forgotten writing ideas for book plots and characters that I’d jotted down on the back of receipts and sticky notes.
I have a habit of doing this. If you came to my house, you would find more of the same random notes on my bedside table, my phone, my laptop and in the back of my agenda for work.
This system for organizing my writing ideas is about as effective as it sounds – chaotic and unreliable. My notes, if I even remember that I’ve made them, are never where I think they should be when I want them. In fact, right now I am leafing through my agenda in search of a bright yellow sticky note that had some great ideas on it for this blog post. Ah, actually found it—crumpled at the bottom of the bag I cart back and forth to work every day.
I turned to my fellow Restless Writers to see how they keep track of their projects.
Maria wondered if a binder qualifies as a system—I say yes. In her binder Maria says she keeps hard copies organized according to the working title of the piece, including previous versions, all dated. Beckie relies on file folders, storing notes and papers in folders, one for each writing project.
A quick Internet search tells me there is a myriad of stuff out there for people just like me. Programs like Evernote, Mindjet, and an eBook The Oraganized Writer that promises 30 days to more time, money and less frustration. There is even a mobile app Werdsmith, created for writers to help them keep track of ideas whenever inspiration strikes.
Do others have organizing systems they’d be willing to share? What works for you?