A Tornado in Your Writing File – or Is It Neater than Neato McNeat’s Sock Drawer?

How the hell do you keep yourself organized?

Since we write together, there is probably even a vaster abundance of ideas to sort through than when one is writing and brainstorming alone. Consequently, one of the biggest challenges we have is keeping things organized, be it character sheets, story planning files, different drafts etc. We use a cloud service to keep our writing from disappearing if the computer commits suicide, and we have folders upon folders containing new and old plans, new and old drafts, and all kinds of weird notes and ideas scattered about, but it would be nice to find some fairly effortless yet neat system to keep the pieces of the story and its world organized.

So, should we switch to Scrivener? Would it really be worth it? (At this point it seems like a waste of money, especially because we aren’t published authors). Does it actually help at organizing stuff? Or is it something hipsters use when they write poems on their laptops in some trendy café?

To us it’s easier to type on-the-go-ideas (that pop up just when you’ve squeezed yourself into a full commuter train) into our phones instead of writing on a notebook. The voice recorder application is a handy little thing when you want to remember your ideas after you’ve come home from your evening jog (that’s when typing on a touchpad feels like an insurmountable task). Ideas saved in the phone’s memory (card) are easier to keep organized. The phone is less likely to get lost, so it’s definitely a great substitute for a notebook – especially because we have no sensible way to organize the ideas scribbled on those coffee-stained notebook pages. They don’t automatically copy themselves to any cloud service —  how very passé! They just get lost, like socks and bobby pins.

How about you, dear writers out there? Feel free to share your tips – or straight-out admit that there’s a daily tornado in your writing file as well, shuffling all those nuggets of information and teeny-weeny story ideas that you haphazardly typed down on Notepad, saved just seconds before you had to make that desperate dash for the bus, and then forgot for two months before you found that file (titled “some crap.txt”) again from between a “battle-plan.bmp” and “random outtakes 5.doc.”

Peace out,

T&K

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2 thoughts on “A Tornado in Your Writing File – or Is It Neater than Neato McNeat’s Sock Drawer?

  1. When I make notes, I do it on any random piece of paper that comes to hand. Usually I walk around with a pen behind my ear and a piece of paper in my pocket for that purpose. My phone is a stupidphone so it’s not sufficient to the note-keeping task.

    I have made it a daily routine to transfer my notes from paper to computer as soon as I get home from whatever. I have a lot of files but they’re a kind of method/madness situation: my main story folder is for my current series, with a subfolder for each book and subfolders in there for old drafts vs. new drafts. In the main folder is all of my information and misc series writing, with a file (or several) per not-yet-written book to hold all the misc Ideas that I have about it, to be sorted more finely/into an outline once I start writing it. Worldbuilding info is separated into various files depending on type — culture, history, tech, metaphysics, pretty roughly organized. I have a little file for story ‘seeds’, and a subfolder for images (maps, cultural dress, etc) and for non-series writing and non-series ‘seeds’.

    What some friends and I have considered doing is wiki-fying my info — making an us-only wiki (which I suppose we could spoiler-tag and open to the public if we wanted to) so that I could put all my info up into better-organized and online format and be able to search it more easily than I can now. But I don’t really find it troublesome; I’m used to it by now. I don’t use any fancy software, though I do now have a cloud service (which is a good thing because I can’t get any info off my old hard drive, argh!).

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