It amused me to be asked to be part of the "Get It Together" blog hop. I got the same sense of amusement as when coworkers tell me, "You're so organized!" They tell me often enough that I have "organized" on my resume. ...
It amused me to be asked to be part of the “Get It Together” blog hop. I got the same sense of amusement as when coworkers tell me, “You’re so organized!” They tell me often enough that I have “organized” on my resume. I’m totally not organized.* I never feel organized. At work I write to-do lists on little notepads and in the “tasks” part of MS Outlook. Then I never look at those lists and panic about forgetting something. At home, I have a to-buy list on my fridge. Half that stuff has been on the list for long enough that the dry erase marker has faded. Those items have not been bought, though apparently I’ve not missed them. I go to the grocery store with a list of groceries (organized by type and aisle), then buy lots of other stuff and occasionally change my mind about my food for the week completely. And I forget things that are on the list. I download task apps and then delete them from my phone when I realize I need the space and haven’t used the app in months. I used to buy cute notepads and highlighters and planners, then gave up when I realized how much money I spent on cute that I never used.
So, it’s not so much that I AM organized, but that I fake it really well. Here’s how I fake it for writing, specifically for Four Nights to Forever.
This is my desk in my office. My ex and I painted this office for me. It was set up for me. Notice the reference books (and the wine bottles 🙂 ).
Here is where I actually write
Guilt over not working in my beautiful office means I keep one foot in the office and one foot in my living room (resting on my coffee table). My writing reference books are in my office. Most of my notes are in the living room. My notes are detailed, but they are not organized. Here is the map of Snowdance, the ski resort in Four Nights to Forever. The map is in my office.
But I also have notebooks with notes in them. Yes, plural notebooks. There is no rhyme or reason to which notes go into which notebooks. It all depends on the notebook I can find at the time I have the brainstorm. This notebook has plot notes for Four Nights to Forever
but so does this one (and notice the awesome coffee stain).
At least they are both in my living room. I have been known to come back from a run and rush up to the desk of the YMCA, in desperate need of a pen and paper. Those notes are stuffed in the bottom of my purse. Somehow, their existence in my purse manages to be enough to make the brainstorm happen.
And I keep notes on OneNote on my laptop.
Before this looks like actual organization, I keep updating the synposis and character information until I’m about 3/4 of the way through the book. Then I’m plowing through the writing with great speed and don’t go back to add detail into the OneNote. This comes back to haunt me during edits. I use a lot of CTRL-F to find details that I didn’t include in the OneNote files.
And I make a large number of comments in my drafts with spots I need to work on, rewrite, plot points I need to pick back up, etc. Before I turn something into my editor, I go through each of my comments and search the manuscript to make sure I fixed those problems, resolved those plot holes, etc.
There is one organizational thing about my writing that I am proud of. When I get my revision letter from my editor, I write all the points I need to address on post-its (a separate post-it for each point) and stick all the notes to my desk. As I fix something, I remove the post-it to a little pile. For the most part, this is all done at my desk (the following picture is a dramatization, using the pile of notes that had been sitting on my desk since…uh, June. I guess I need to throw those away).
One of the beautiful things about this system is that it travels! Here are the same notes, in my laptop case. This is not a dramatization. This is a photo I took to send to The Viking. I don’t know why he would want this photo, but whatever.
Somehow, I manage to make this all work and it comes together in a coherent novel. I’m still amazed that it happens.
There are tons of other awesome (and probably more organized) authors participating in the blog hop. You can find a complete list here. Go check out their #getittogether posts!
And you can enter to win cool prizes, including Four Night to Forever. Here’s the Rafflecopter giveaway:
*Side note to any future employers: I’m organized enough to get the complement from my coworkers and I do awesome library work, mess or no mess.