How I Stay Organized With My Writing

One of the hardest things I find about being a writer is keeping my creative brain in check. It’s no secret that writer’s constantly have idea after idea after idea floating around inside their heads, along with a plethora of characters and settings to boot. Most of the time, I find writers are constantly juggling multiple projects at the same time. With this happening, keeping your writing organized can be a challenge. So how can you stay organized through all of the chaos surrounding the life of a writer? Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks on the matter, and I’m going to share some of them with you, in hopes that it can help you out too.

1) Creating a timeline: Use Aeon Timeline software to document every important/major scene in your writing project. Even use it for the minor scenes – they’re still relevant too! You’d be surprised how much easier planning and writing becomes once you have an up to date, working timeline.

2) Keep an idea notebook: It can be either be on your electronic device or a physical hard copy in a real notebook, but always have it around you to write down random ideas. They probably won’t all be used (some will never make it further than a partial idea in this notebook), but at least you have things written down somewhere that you can refer to later if need be.

3) Make character profiles: Do this for every character, no matter how big or small. Some can be as plain as the character’s name and a brief description of what they look like. Others can be a crazy amount of in-depth knowledge on likes and dislikes, preferences, physical description… you name it, it’s there. Just try to get down something for everyone. That way, when you’re working on your piece you have an easily accessible reference page that describes the character you really need to remember. You know, in those moments when you have no idea what they look like when you briefly mentioned again fifty pages earlier in your manuscript.

4) List of things to fix:┬áThis is a very important thing to do, though it can be quite a tedious task. Once you’ve written your piece, of course that’s where the editing and re-writing process begins. While doing a read through, if you keep track of things which need to be fixed or changed (obviously not something as simple as a spelling error or grammar mistake – I’m talking the big stuff like plot or character changes), write it down in a list. It’ll make things a whole lot easier when you go to start that rewrite (and trust me, you’ll have to go through at least a couple of those).

So there’s a couple of suggestions to help you stay organized in your writing. Hope they help, and if you have any others you find work well for you, feel free to add them in the comments section!

As usual, keep writing everyone!

Until next time.

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Writing Distractions and How to Deal With Them

Writing distractions are the worst.

Given the fact that we’re in the midst of another session of Camp NaNoWriMo, a time when unwanted distractions are the absolute worst, I figured I’d give you all some suggestions to avoid these distractions and allow your mind to stay productive. I know I have issues keeping distractions at bay while I write – it’s a problem all writers continue to face throughout their writing careers. Hopefully with these tips and suggestions I’ve used in the past it can help you battle the constant nagging of writing distractions too.

Instrumental music: For most people, complete silence doesn’t help them concentrate fully. The quiet actually causes your mind to drift and get you off task. If this is you, you’re going to need some type of noise in the background. Music is a good thing to fill that emptiness. Try to choose some sort of instrumental music as your background noise. Lyrical music won’t help much – your brain will subconsciously try and interpret the words, distracting you from your writing.

Writing playlist: As a side note to my above point, a writing playlist is always something good to have stowed away in your iTunes account. Having a designated list of songs means you spend less time searching for music to listen to, and more time doing actual writing. For some people, myself included, I use one song and simply put it on repeat. And this is where I’m going to contradict what I’ve said above. The song I listen to, Let Me Go by Avril Lavigne, is lyrical. The reason why it doesn’t seem to distract me? Well I’ve listened to it so many times now my brain has no need to interpret the lyrics anymore. It’s incredible what repetition can do for a writer’s brain actually. The instant I hear this song, my fingers start itching for a pen or for my keyboard. I find that I just have to write. Now I don’t know if this will help for you as well, but it may be worth a shot.

Avoid technology: I know that technology has become inherently ingrained in society and almost everyone’s life, but if possible, try shutting off the world around you. For starters, leave your cell phone on silent and in another room. Yes, I realize that most writers use a computer to write their stories, but there are ways you can avoid using the distracting features on it. There are tons of programs and apps out there which can essentially make your computer minimalist, only offering you the few tools an author may need while writing while disabling everything else. If that’s too much for you, internet-blocking apps exist as well. Or, if you’re like me and don’t like tons of programs on my computer, you can simply turn off the WiFi, either by unplugging your router/modem or disabling it on your laptop.

Set a schedule: Most writers complain they never have enough time to write. Believe it or not, but that can actually be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes, having too much time can be a problem and in turn, become a distraction. Without a deadline, writers can get complacent and let their writing go dormant. To solve this? Make a routine. Get up every morning and write five hundred words. Or do it in the evening. Or even tell yourself that it doesn’t matter when it gets done, but by the end of the day you have to have x-number of words written. Trust me, it helps. You’ll find that setting a deadline forces your brain to stop procrastinating and lets you get work done.

Now these are only a few tips and tricks of many that are out there for overcoming writing distractions. At the very least, I hope they help to open your mind and get you on your way to writing distraction-free. As always, if you have anything to add, please leave a comment below.

Keep writing everyone!

Until next time.