Monday, May 22, 2017

5 Tips for Getting Organized

Every time I need to take a break from writing I seem to find myself wanting to get organized. I find myself thinking that next time I'll do a better job of being organized and that will be the answer to everything. I'll get organized, I'll be able to think better. I'll be able to write better, and everything will just all into place.

Well, unfortunately there is no easy answer to getting the muse to work, but I do find that sometimes it pays to do some re-organizing. It can help.  So how do you re-organize yourself?

1. Start with your notes.  Do you keep story ideas written down on small slips of paper? Do you put them into notes on your phone? Do you tuck away story ideas for a later date?  Well, sometimes just organizing those notes and putting them all into one place can bring back an old idea or get you started on a  new project. Put them all into one place and then separate them every so often. You might find several that go together and can send you off in a certain direction.

2. Organize your work space.  I don't know about you but I find myself constantly losing just about everything I need. When you need that information on a certain time period or need to check a certain piece of grammar in your editing, you suddenly can't find the book that might have the answer.  My solution to that is to keep several editing and grammar books right on the desk next to my computer. When I was working in a newsroom, I always had a dictionary handy (in those old days we didn't have handy references built into our typewriters. I still like having the book to look things up.

3. Keep a notepad or notebook to write down things for later.  I keep things in a daily calendar notebook so I can not only see what I need to do today schedule wise but so I can also have it handy to refer back to it later.

4. Use your phone to take pictures. My sister keeps all her notes and projects on her phone.  If she needs to remember an article or even a recipe, she takes a picture of it so she can refer back to it later. I'm not sure that works for me because I would forget I have it, but that can work. Even in your writing it can work well.  For instance, if you're doing research in  a museum take pictures of the displays or even the reference material.

5. Take the time to organize.  Again, whenever things get too crazy,I know I need to just spend a day putting everything back in its place. Next month, things may go crazy again, but for a while I have them in place and know where to find them.  I regularly teach classes and often find myself suddenly needing certain writing books. I may keep them around me for the month of the class, but when it's over they go back on the shelf so they don't clutter things up too badly.

The key to all this is not to let the clutter get so out of hand that the job becomes overly time consuming. When I was working, I often had to share a desk with another news producer. It paid off because at the end of the day I had to clear out all my clutter so I could start fresh the next day. I still often do that at the end of the day or the end of a project.  Keep the clutter in line and you can succeed!

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