Getting Organized for Writing! with Carl Selinger

“I’m so disorganized! Help!!!”

A minimally-organized workshop where we’ll talk about …
– Identifying your problem? Perceived problems vs. real problems
– Discussing some writers’ organizing issues?
– Ways to get better organized: Tips you use? What works for you?
– Taking action!
But remember: It’s all about the writing, stupid … not about being organized.

Let’s first go around the table: What are your issues? Where are you stuck?

Organizing Goals
– What are you trying to accomplish?: Be a clean freak vs. Bless this mess?
– “A place for everything. Everything in its place”? Well, maybe …
– “I should be better organized.” – Don’t should on yourself!

– My philosophy: Being better organized lets me do more things I like to do.
– Remember writers: It’s the writing, stupid!
– Use the “KISS” method: “Keep It Simple Stupid!”
– Set goals – What? By when? Be realistic, don’t set yourself up to fail.

Organizing to write
– Some writers’ examples – Shelby Foote: Post Its; Janet Den Bleyker & Ed Rand: spreadsheets; Hank Quense designs the whole novel before starting
– Get first draft down, then work on it; don’t waste time over-organizing it
– Writing process – integrating feedback, strengthening your weak areas

Your computer is your friend!
– Spreadsheets – keeping track of chapters, writing, due dates, etc.
– Word documents – working titles for file names; record notes/emails; new book/old book
– Organizing tools: looseleaf binders, calendars, manila folders, crocodile clips, Post It notes, email, thumb drives, contact info/biz cards on Outlook
– Managing time & setting priorities – focus your efforts on important tasks, don’t dilute your time and energy; review tasks upcoming week on Sunday
– Business of writing issues: keeping track of writing, contacts, submittals, writing income/expenses for Form 1040 Schedule C
– If you can’t find it in five minutes, Google it

– “3-minute rule”: do it if under 3 minutes, so you don’t have to find it again
– “Partialization”: fix only 1 thing daily — “Rome wasn’t organized in a day”

Take action: identify your worst organizing habit and try 1-2 things to fix it immediately. If it works, then keep at it; if not, try something else.

One Reply to “Getting Organized for Writing! with Carl Selinger”

  1. Ermira Mitre

    Good tips to get more organized while writing. I am translating a fiction novel from Albanian into English, and although I try to e-mail every peace I translate to have it as a back up in case I lose the original document, still sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all these e-mails. At this point, I get lost and anxious if I am loosing my work! Thank you for sharing Carl Selinger, always helpful!


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