Now What?

  

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

knock-knock-knock

Sigh, did the neighbor get our mail again?

“Yes?”

“Good day, I am selling magazines to get me off the streets…”

Off the streets and onto my doorstep. Great!

 

I’m all for helping the youth of today, but whatever happened to a job in fast food? Perhaps those have been taken by all the laid-off engineers.

Last month, we talked about your committment to seriously pursuing your writing. Based on that, you were charged with making an appointment to write. Now that you have, what do you do?

Fear not, we have plenty to fill your time. In fact, I will dedicate the next several blogs to this topic. To make this new time productive, you must be prepared to get organized. Organization takes many forms, and you should become adept at all of them. Okay, I can hear your fears now. You can barely find your pen on your desk, so does that mean you have to actually clean your desk?

No, you can still be a slob and not throw out that mostly empty bag of chips on your desk. Hey, you never know when writing will make you hungry! However, you need to apply more cleanliness to your computer and you must document your plans for your writing.

First, I must assume you have a computer with which to write. If not, leave the internet cafe you are reading this in and head to your nearest BestBuy or Apple store to make that big purchase. Without a computer, your writing is destined for family gatherings and parties with friends.

Okay, you have the computer, but did you make sure you have dual hard drives? No? Hey, not a problem, go invest in a 1-8GB USB Flash Drive. I am not kidding, your writing is important enough to constantly back it up. With two disk drives, you work on one and back it up on the other. I use both an extra hard drive and a flash drive. What can I say, I am a bit anal. You would be too if you had ever written five hundred lines of code and watched it vanish into thin air!

So, you have your computer, you have your backup drive, and you are currently at your appointment to write. Where do you start? You start by creating a work area on your computer for all your writing. This may sound boring and a bit stupid, I mean, can’t you put everything into My Documents? NO!

Look, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to support the computer idiot, but don’t fall into their web. Keep your work separate from that junk in its own folder with its own hierarchy. I create a folder called Author within which I keep all the various pieces of my work. Trust me, once you get going, you’ll be amazed how much stuff you will amass. Hey, I am going to help you amass it!

I won’t instruct you how to create a folder, that is another blog I don’t want to write. Once it is created, you need to create several more folders within Author as follows:

  • Archive
  • Artwork
  • Marketing
  • Publishing
  • Writing

We will discuss each of these in another blog, but suffice it to say, you will use each of these to their fullest. Author is the folder in which you will store everything and which you will backup after every appointment you keep. This will organize your writing so you can keep your desk a mess!

Since you are chomping at the bit to write, let’s talk about how to organize that specific part of this work area. Since there are various types of writing, you want to segment the Writing folder into subfolders that capture that fact. After all, you probably will plan on doing more than one type of writing, maybe just not now. Create the following folders under Author | Writing:

  • Novels
  • Childrens
  • Non-Fiction
  • Screenplays
  • Short Stories

Not going to write screenplays? Hey, Never Say Never Again! Get the pun? If not, read on, it may come to you later.

If you plan on writing novels, then you can organize underneath that folder for each series you plan on creating or each stand alone novel you will write. Use the series or book name for the sub-folder. Inside a series folder, create a folder for each book in your series. I actually put a folder for each book that was planned, even though I didn’t need it yet. Call it motivation!

Now you can create your book document file inside that book folder. I know it sounds crazy to have all these folders, but you will be amazed how much easier it will be to manage your writing and not lose anything! Imagine, being able to find anything quickly, and knowing which is the latest version? What? You don’t know which version it is?

Funny you should mention that. To end this informative blog, I will impart additional wisdom concerning your book file names. Of course, you will name the file for the working title of the book, but more than that, you will name it for versions as well. Initially, while writing, you needn’t name it anything other than BookName-DRAFT until you are ready for serious editing and proofreading. However, if you get a lot of feedback from your writing group (yet another blog), then you may wish to version the drafts after integrating various feedback from your group. Example: BookName-Draft1. You get the idea.

An Author's Work Area

An Author's Work Area

Over time, you will create a lot of different versions of your book and it is important that you can differentiate between each version. Keep them all in the proper folder, and you will be a happy, organized writer. Excuse me, Author!

Still have time left in your appointment? No problem, open BookName-Draft1 and start your first chapter!

It was a dark and stormy night…

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One Response

  1. I was at a writer’s conference when I heard I little tidbit that your blog reminded me of. The speaker told a short story: A writer told her that once she had her first book published, she would go out and buy herself a laptop. The speaker responded that that was like a carpenter saying once I build my first house I am going to buy a hammer. The laptop is a very important tool for a writer.

    I saved up some money and bought myself a laptop. 🙂

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