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Monday, January 24, 2011

Organization For Dummies (like me!)

I used to be pretty organized person. Honestly. I used to work in secretarial/administrative, and people used to come to ME to help get them more organized and on top of things. I remember when I was young, I had a secret dream of working in, or even owning (gasp!)an office supply store. Seriously.

I've fallen off the wagon. In a big way.

Okay, that's not really mine...but it could be!

I could blame this fall on the other pack-rats in my home, but where would that get me? Personal responsibility - that's what will solve things! And the truth is, I HAVE been having trouble organizing and purging my own things. So I've been reading up a little on getting organized, both in my writing and my life, and asked around the social media sphere. Here's some ideas I've been given (thank you to all my facebook/twitter friends!!)

1. - I went on this site once years ago. I've been kind of afraid to go back. I was "just not in that place." But now I am. I'll try it. I'll take the plunge.

2.Use a Mom's Calendar. While I like this idea, I certainly love the idea of having ONE central calendar, I'm pretty happy with my online Google calendar. It syncs to my iphone and sends me email reminders about things (and since I check my email about every thirty seconds, that's a pretty handy feature!)

3/ Here's some great advice I'll just put in as a complete quote, because I definitely couldn't say it better: "Remember that any fantastic system doesn't work for everyone. Be prepared to tweak or completely throw out whatever system(s) you start with. Accept any "failures" to stick with a system as real life & an opportunity to change the system. Know that you will never feel like the quest for organization is done & that's ok! You will always seem more organized to onlookers than to yourself!| - Thank you, Allison Paul! I will be back to read this again and again, I'm sure!

4. Create a clone, or even better, create a few! I admit, this would help immensely! If anyone figures out the formula for this, please let me know!

5. Turn off the Internet. Well, obviously I'm still here, so THAT didn't work! LOL. But honestly, when I get busy on a writing project, I use Internet/Social Media time as a reward. After say an hour of solid work, I'll allow myself five minutes on Twitter, or something like that. Goals and rewards work well for me!

6. And here's what kick-started the whole idea of getting organized this year: my mom sent me the following link (do you think she was trying to tell me something?)   Seriously, though? This looks ATTAINABLE to me! I can do this! (Though I admit, I still cannot even get to my bedroom closet in order to clean it - BUT January's not over yet!!)

On the writing front, my best organizational tool so far is Scrivener. And they've just come out with a Beta version for Windows (the real version should be out soon). It's fabulous for organizing, when you're in the organizing stage of your writing, moving scenes around and such.

As I said above, I'm also big on goal-setting. I generally set monthly goals, and usually pretty ambitious ones. I set for about three months in advance, since it can be difficult to tell beyond that what I'll be in the mood for, what work I'll have from my editor, and just generally what my life will be like at that point.

Right now my goals are these: Finish an outline for FINDING HOPE by January 31st. Write the next draft by the end of February. Read through and send out to critique partners in mid-March. Finish another draft of PERFECT AIM by the end of April.

Of course that may be altered when I get my next set of notes from my editor. But it's still good to have a plan. At least it's good for me.

Do you have a plan for the next few months? Do you have any organizational tips for dummies like me, or do you like any of the above ones?


  1. I think flylady saved my sanity. My husband and I just recently bought our first house and I felt buried with all the housework plus trying to have a job and social life. She breaks it all down into manageable increments. Fifteen minutes to clean up some clutter? Yeah, I can do that.

    Best of luck with the organization!

  2. I bought my Mac because of Scrivener but still haven't used it! I keep saying I will when I start a new project.

    Goals over the next few months: second-rounds edits on MAY, (hopefully) final-round edits on CAN'T BREAK US with Michelle, finish Gitano research and dig into new verse novel. AND read new drafts of my CP's books. ;)

  3. Rooting for you and your goals, Denise! Yeah, so much to do and so little time. Life of a writer

  4. Melissa - I'm on day 2 of flylady! So far, so good!!

    Caroline - Oh, you need to try Scrivener! But for an early draft, that's how it is most useful.

    Martha - thanks so much! Hope you set and achieve some great goals this year too!