A Prescription for Writer Management
Managing those constant entanglements forced me to set up a system to keep everything straight. Being a lover of paper, notebooks and stationary in general this made my duties a joy. Every story gets its very own notebook and label. I keep them neatly stacked on a shelf where I can pull one down and make notes of something that occurred to me while I might still be working another on project. I also keep a small spiral notebook with me just in case inspiration hits me in the cleaning products aisle at Wal-Mart.
Other helpful things I do is keep biography sheets on my characters.They’ll be in the character profile of the notebook. Maybe the elf doesn’t like human peanut butter but loves it when you smear it on Brussels sprouts. (I know! Yuk!) By the time I write something I know a great deal about my characters. For my longer novels a notebook has broken writer’s block because it’s full of ideas for the story. I’ve even created a psychologist to evaluate my characters from his POV. It’s all in the notebook.
Over the weekend I was celebrating my granddaughter’s birthday. An opening scene for book three of my Enigma Series popped in my head right when it was time to blow out the two candles on her beautiful duck birthday cake. Although I’m just finishing book two I’ve already started a notebook for Broken Commandment. I can’t get the scene out of my head so I’m writing it into the notebook today so I won’t forget. Will I use it when I actually begin? Maybe. I’ve already got the summary, characters and several other ideas brewing there. It’s like speed for the writer. I can hit the ground running when it’s time to plunge into anther adventure.
You cannot overlook the amazing laptop either! Each book, story or magazine submission (all the articles are in one place) are kept on a flash drive. I label and keep them in a safe container. Sometimes when I travel I take a few with me to work on. I cannot encourage you enough to ALWAYS back your work up. To lose your novel because the only place you had it saved was on your computer is a crime against imagination. SAVE SAVE SAVE It takes only a second. Keeping the life of your characters on a flash drive is simple and an easy way to reconnect whenever there’s a need. I keep research ideas, websites and the actual manuscript here for management purposes. Don’t put the elf story with some Captain Hunk on the same flash drive. They just might kill each other. (Whoa! Wouldn’t that be a good story. Better write that down now!)
So what about a hard copy of your work. Here is how I handle that one. Right now I’m working on the Winds of Deception, the second book in the Enigma Series. When I’ve written several chapters I email a file to a local print shop to make me a copy. It’s .05 a page. I can’t print it that cheap at home. Seeing it in print helps me see where I need to edit. All those chapters go into a notebook. There’s a feeling of accomplishment when I get each chapter in that binder. I make the corrections and keep writing.
Writers live busy lives. We don’t just sit at our laptops sipping coffee and ripping the shirts off muscled angels disguised as humans all day. Life is confusing. Get organized.