Writers Share Tips for Organizing

A photo to enjoy

In response to a request for writers to share their organizational tools, here is a Summary of organization points shared:

Laurie Ryan: Time organization? Well…each night I take a look at my schedule for the next day and build in my writing time. I had tried writing first thing in the morning, but I’m too anxious to check my emails. So I build it in later, so I satisfy my email addiction and promo/marketing needs.

Marianne Strnad:  I’m a list-maker, so I write down what I need to do for the day and in the order it needs to get done in so I don’t make unnecessary trips or have to double-back, etc. I also don’t proceed to the next item on the list until the previous one is complete. To avoid distractions at home, I unplug my “triggers”, the TV, radio, cell phone, etc. I also build in rewards, allow myself a favorite food or snack for good behavior. After all that, I hope.

Crista Mchugh: I get myself in a writing “place”. When I was in my house in Spokane, I had my own office where I could lock the door and stay focused. Now that I’m living in a cramped apartment with my husband, my daughter, my dog, and my cat (yes, we’re all very cozy), I go to a local cafe to write on my day off from work. One I get to my “place”, I’m totally in the zone and can usually write 3-6K in a sitting. Until Meg gets older, I don’t think I’ll have any better solution since she absorbs so much of my time and attention at this time.

Jacquie Rogers: Organization? You jest. Plow through and hope for the best.  It’s past midnight–way past, so I’m not in the running for the book, but I’m the only one who responded in verse.

So who did I pick as a winner? Every one of you.  Please contact me through the GSRWA loop to give me a mailing address for the books.

Thanks for the ideas.  Every writer’s organization tools are unique and must fit into their life style.

Time Management

Time management is a priority.

Balancing interactions with people who are important in my life with the tasks surrounding writing, critiquing, revision, learning more about the writer’s social networking aspect of self promotion, enjoying my new position as a crew member on 1st Turning Point getting enough sleep, and finding time to relax away from the computer … to sit with a good book.  These days, there is no time for more than an hour of TV in the evening. And then there are the household bookkeeping tasks, and housework.

When and if I come up with a plan that works, I’ll write an article about it!  Check back next month!

In the meantime, a daily list of priorities helps.  I keep a running ‘do list’ and post future deadlines, apts. etc on calendars, one for the desk, one for my purse. I read the calendar for the next day at night before bed. I haven’t developed a computer calendar habit yet.  That’s next on the list.


This makes me smile

I did it! I uploaded my 50,000 plus words into the NANOWRIMO web site earlier this afternoon.  The thrill of it surprised me.

What did I learn from this experience? I lost the fear of success as a writer, believing that  looming deadlines might threaten to take over my life.  I discovered that if I can write 50,000 words in 30 days, I can write 150,000 words in 3 months, which would provide the framework for revision and polishing in the months ahead.

I learned that balance is vital, and can be learned, so that the writer’s life need not be sacrificed.

The Author’s Magazine, the online publication sent to members of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association,  presented an interview with Diana Gabaldon, the  author of Outlander and six other books in that series.  She mentioned the need to manage a double life. (Her web page contains  a staggering number of u-tube interviews and readings as well.)

One life exists inside the writer’s head, the place where they go to write and live their stories. The other life requires the writer to pull themselves out of that place  to participate with the family life, or whatever other endeavors are important to the writer.

Following that, she says if one is successful, then a third life emerges, the public life, which threatens and tempts to take over.  It is critical to manage and maintain a balance in all three.

We as writers must endeavor to write our stories so well  that agents and publishers trust us enough to manage our lives wisely, trust us to meet deadlines, and trust us to write an excellent story. The story and our follow through must be worthy of their risk  so they will agree to give us a little leeway, in order to keep the part of our lives that does not include writing, alive and well.

The second thing I learned is that, for me,  the habit of writing every day is essential. Even a 100  words primed this writer’s pump, and kept the words flowing. I find it tempting to revise and revise if I stay away from the story for a day or two, requiring a need to ‘go back’ and review where I left off, which becomes a need to ‘fix’ things while I read.

The postscript? I do realize that every writer’s method and adventures are his or her own.  Also, in order to test my theory about success, I need to get there! I’m working on it!

Thank you to NaNo, thank you to the support group from GSRWA, and thank you Sandra.

National Novel Writing Month

The National Novel Writing Month is on the home stretch with eight days to go until November 30.  My words so far: 45458.

Many thanks to the great support group that is sticking together, stemming from members of the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America.

We keep in touch on a daily basis through a unified email group set up by Terrel Hoffman and she fills in the numbers on a spread sheet showing the daily word count.  This keeps us motivated as we encourage one another. Many writers have full time jobs and family responsibilities, so every word on the page marks a degree of success.  Way to go, team!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

The National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is going well – 30,000 words so far in 12 days.  Check it out, dear writers who are not familiar with this, a confidence building ‘can do’ adventure.  Now …  for me?  Back to writing!

Wishing every visitor a great day.


Writing Discipline

My daughter, one of my mentors,  suggested that I keep a pad and pencil at the breakfast table, away from the computer and spend the first hour every day writing long hand.   It works!  No e-mails, no distractions, just me, the pencil, and the paper.

Once immersed in the story world,  interacting with the characters, I am on my way and the first hour becomes several hours or more.   Writing every day keeps the story fresh and alive.   I don’t get trapped in a revision cycle.

There is a time for heavy revision.  It comes later, not in the first draft.

Marion  (Life is a treasure hunt)

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