My computer is full of recorded ideas that have not been fleshed out, projects that are halfway finished, or finished and looking for a home. Sound familiar?
As a member of a writer's group, I've found the support and encouragement I need to work on/finish these projects, and I'm making progress. But recently, it seems like my computer hides files and documents that contain the perfect paragraph or description of a sunset or character sketch I know I wrote, but can't find.
Earlier this year a writer friend asked for advice regarding which project to work on next. He had made a list of the projects, and determined that the simple act of making a list helped him organize the tasks at hand. Viewing his options meant that he could measure them, and then manage them.
I decided to follow his example, and realized that naming them and placing them in one folder titled WIP (Work in Progress), also made me feel more organized. I discovered that I have seven major projects I'm working on, and my list looks like this:
Novel 1 Contemporary - Finished but not polished
Novel 2 Eco thriller - Plot hole problem that I recently solved but haven't actually written
Short Stories - A bunch, one in particular that I just figured out how to finish, and another one with a complete plot, but needs more depth and emotion
Poetry - Way more than I realized, with one group/collection going out in a few days
Nonfiction article/book 1 - Women's History
Nonfiction article/blog/book 2 - Minimalism
Nonfiction book/article/blog 3 - Education/Teaching
My work has been divided into the seven writing projects listed above, coincidentally, one for each day of the week. I made a folder for each one and inserted all pertinent files, which took much longer than I thought.
All of the projects are rather lengthy except some of the short stories, which I'm close to finishing. I don't always work on a regular schedule, and don't necessarily start one project and work until it's finished. I tend to jump back and forth between projects.
If I have an hour, I can pick one and knock off some writing that puts me closer to my goals, instead of spending time trying to find that perfect description of a sunset I know I put somewhere. Adding five pages a week to any of these projects means 260 more pages at the end of the year.
If I don't write, I can submit to literary journals or promote something on social media. There is no shortage of projects, so there is no shortage of work to be done. But now that I can measure it, I can manage it.