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.
Mary--Organization? Isn't that a four-letter word?ReplyDelete
The best method I have is beginning each writing piece with the word "submission," which means I have a bunch of things to wade through every time I'm looking for a WIP.
Folders would be better. Unfortunately, "I'm Sioux, and I'm a chaos-aholic."
This is such a great point, Mary. I don't even want to think about all the WIPs I have on my hard drive right now. It's a great idea to take some inventory, as I'm trying to pay off a few bills right now and there are some parenting articles on my hard drive that I could probably shop around for a little extra cash! Time to suck it up and open a spreadsheet, I guess. I hope you revisit this idea in a few months and let us know how the project management is going!ReplyDelete
Oh, Sioux, it's not perfect at all, but I do feel it's more organized than it was, and that's a step in the right direction! And Renee, I need to gather lots of various facts and create a spreadsheet for my historical project, but I'm still in the "going to do it" phase! Thanks for your comments!ReplyDelete
This is actually excellent advice. I love that Works In Progress folder. I think I'm going to do this. Thanks, Mary!ReplyDelete
I hope it helps, Margo. I may not be as organized as I would like, but I feel more organized than I did!ReplyDelete