Spring Cleaning: How Authors Stay Organized at Work
Today we take you into the life of a few River Northers to see how they keep organized among hectic writing schedules. Below are five tips our authors use that might help you keep organized as well!
From Alice Wisler, author of Still Life in Shadows (coming in August 2012)
Here’s my tip: Post-It Notes!
Whenever I’m working on a novel or a project at my desk and an idea or thought comes to me, I rely on these colorful squares of memo sheets. It only takes a second to write the thought down and then I can continue with whatever I need to do. Most often the idea that zings into my head has nothing to do with my WIP, but more like, “I need to e-mail Jane about the upcoming Crop Walk for Hunger.” Or, “Buy eggs to make that soufflé tonight.”
I use these notes freely and toss them in the trash when the mission is accomplished. I even post a sheet in my Day-Planner before a book event so that I can jot down what to bring with me on that day. Post-It Notes can be costly, so I often buy cheaper brands (like Z-Notes) at my office supply store. I’d be lost without these handy sticky reminders!
One thing that helps me out every day is emptying the dishwasher as soon as it’s done cycling. That way the family can put their dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, instead of letting them pile up in the sink.
On an annual basis, I go through my files and put away “last year’s records” after taxes are done. I keep everything from the previous year together in a box, including household and business records, label it with the year, and put it in the closet. If I need something from an earlier year, it’s not TOO hard to find, and it clears my file cabinets and shelves for this year’s accumulation.
I have other ways to keep my writing “stuff” organized so that it doesn’t take over the room. A small bookshelf beside my desk holds the phone and several 3-ring binders for my works in progress. Research books that I’m using for those projects can also fit in here. On top with the phone is a card file box for character or plotting cards.
From Jocelyn Green, author of Wedded to War (coming in July 2012)
My desk calendar takes up the majority of my working surface. I can’t miss it—and that’s the way I like it. It’s a huge visual reminder and prompt. If you’re trying to find time to work, put writing time on the calendar. Make arrangements for child care if you’re a work-at-home mom like me. When I had just one child I could write during her naps, but when #2 came along, I hired a college student to come in three mornings a week.
From Deb Keiser, River North Associate Publisher
I have a task list that I use in Outlook and I try to keep to a daily routine of reading and writing. But all of that can be blown away by a really good idea God brings, so I try to always stay open to prompting. That has nothing to do with organizing but is central to leading a spirit led life—sometimes it’s messy.
From Tessa Afshar, author of Pearl in the Sand and Harvest of Rubies, coming in May 2012
Authors actually keep organized? No one told me! My one trick is to keep a large folder where I put all my research, new ideas, plot outline, and related material.
A big thanks to all of today’s contributors for taking the time away from their well-organized lives to help out with this post!