Options to Stay Organized

My office

I am a naturally organized person. Before I married the Chaos of the Universe, I used to be able to find anything I owned in the dark! My bookshelves are by author, then title order, and my counters are clutter-free. I don’t get credit for the skill – I came in with it.

But I know organization is a challenge for many.

NOT my house

Organization has many parts. I’ll try to give you tips on several aspects:


  • Backups – I have redundancy on my hard drive. I back up to an external drive, and in the cloud (Google Docs, Apple or whatever). But what if I forgot do this every day, and had a catastrophic hard drive failure? Stuff like that keeps writers up at night. I finally broke down and popped for Carbonite – an automatic backup to the cloud. The sleep I gained made it worth the cost alone. Check out this, or others like it – it was less $ than I thought
  • Hard Drive – A friend of mine keeps all her important files sitting on her computer desktop. Just looking at it makes me twitch…what a mess! How do you find anything? She says she knows where things are, but what about the stuff you don’t use often? I’ll bet she spends time just scanning to find them. Why not set up folders on your hard drive in an intuitive way? Here’s mine: Then inside each book, there’s this:I can find anything quick and easy.
  • Books/projects – I wrote a post long ago about my Excel Cheat Sheet – it’s HERE.  I hate digging through my WIP, trying to find the name of the protag’s father’s best friend. You think you’ll never forget, but you DO. Here’s a screenshot of what I track (from my book, Days Made of Glass)

Everything I need at my fingertips. Note the sheet at the bottom – I tracked people in the story, but you could track anything. Timelines, turning points, locations, whatever. Lifesaver. If you’d like be to send you the file, leave a comment with your email address.

Manual Misc.

  • Marker board – I keep one on my wall, for stuff I’m afraid I’m going to forget in my WIP. I also have a small one, for my To-Do list. Makes it easy to make changes on the fly. Downside-my handwriting is so bad, even I struggle to read it.

  • Poster board – I use it a lot. I’d have a photo, but I just realized I don’t know where it ended up after our move. It’s wonderful for visually plotting, using sticky notes, etc.
  • Notebooks – I’ve tried them, but they don’t work for me. I can’t move things around, so it ends up a jumbled mess of notes in no order. So I use…
  • Index cards – Love these, because I write scenes I know, then put them in order. I can move them at will, and keep them organized.

Okay, that’s enough from me. Hope something here will help you.

Do you have any organization tips for us?  What works for you?


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