This morning, I wrote in my journal. I know, big surprise. “I’m a writer. Writing is what I should be doing.” Admittedly, I don’t write in my journal as often as I should. It’s not a daily practice. I don’t have a quota I meet. I don’t have time set aside for writing sessions. I don’t have a space where I sit down to write. I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to my writing.
I participated in a chat on Facebook during my lunch break yesterday about the importance of organization in writing; about how it’s essential it is in order to maximize production and efficiency. It seems to be one of many problems I have. It’s a sign that I’m not taking this writing thing as seriously as I should. So, I am going to change that. I am going to look at every facet of the writing life and see how I can improve upon and develop healthy writing habits.
- Finding a System to Keep Track of Ideas. I used to keep a little notebook around with me, especially at work. Surprisingly, I would get ideas just doing the mundane. The problem with little notepads is that I would forget about them, and I accidentally wash them. Now that I have a smartphone, I use Evernote for just about everything: character sketches, story ideas, character names, whatever. And as good as it is, another problem arises. I’ll be on the road, and a line for a story will pop in my head. Someone suggested using a voice recorder. I’ll try that, but I get nervous because my voice on any machine sounds different than when I’m speaking to a live person.
- Clear the Clutter From My Space. This is a two-fold step for me. It starts with finding a space to write. I don’t have enough room for a desk, so I have to use a kitchen table. And even then, it’s covered with whatever. I need to be more diligent in keeping not only the table clean, but the entire kitchen. Like I said, not the most ideal place to write, but it’ll have to do.
- Clear the Clutter From My Schedule. This is probably the most difficult step. I have a job where my schedule is all over the place. And I have to focus my time on the kids. So, there are lull times where I want to veg and relax. Maybe play a game or two when everyone is asleep. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, but I need to delegate and decide what is more important. And if I’m serious about writing, then I need to be prepared to write and take advantage of every opportunity available.
- Make the Choice to Get Organized. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how difficult this is. I’ve become more and more lackadaisical and aloof over the years, and it didn’t used to be this way. Nowadays, I have to make a conscious effort to stick by my decisions. That also includes being organized. Being a writer doesn’t mean being messy. Nothing goes accomplished if we don’t have a system.
- Budget My Time. This falls in line with clearing the clutter from my schedule. As I mentioned before, there are moments within my day where I want to not be productive, but I need to push myself in order to get any writing done, such as right now. Someone suggested creating a time budget. I never thought of it before. We make a budget for our money, so it makes sense. It’s just a matter of looking at each day, and carving out that time to write. I have my work schedule on my phone, so finding the time to write is not an issue. It becomes a matter of sticking to that schedule.
- Remember that Everything Is One Step At a Time. This maybe just as hard as clearing the clutter from my space. It’s a mental thing. I tend to think everything needs to be done at a certain pace, accomplishing so many goals at a certain time frame in order to be successful. I need to remind myself that writing is a process. I need to think small and work my way up. And if I don’t meet a goal, then it’s not the end of the world.
- Know Why I Am Writing. This is perhaps the most important step. Knowing why I decided to get into this business makes all the difference. It is the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career. Everyone has a different definition of success. Mine is being recognized in the literary world as a Southern writer, signing copies of my books. In order to make that dream come true, or any goal for that matter, there needs to be a plan. And there needs to be room for flexibility, in case there’s a hiccup along the way, and there will be hiccups. I’m pretty set in my ways, and that will not do. I have to allow room for failure, for mistakes. Otherwise, how will I learn?
I have to thank Kathryn Lang for yesterday’s chat session. It was a real eye-opener There is so much I need to learn and do to be a successful writer. I am appreciative of the Facebook group, 10-Minute Novelists, for sessions like this. Being organized is not the easiest thing in the world, but it goes a long way to becoming a better writer