April Showers Mean Writing Power

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

“Bark-bark!”

“Someone at the door, girl?” Ah, UPS.

“Hey, how you doing?”

“Delivery from Springhill Nursery, sir.”

Perfect, time to get the yard into shape…

Killer Kahlua

If you are like my family, the great outdoors is where you spend a lot of time. Because of that, I keep my yard looking quite nice. After all, when we bought the house, we were forced to spend $15K on landscaping. If I spend that much on anything, I like to keep it looking good.

Well, April is here and along came the rain. Great for my lawn, but not so much for my golf clubs and mountain bike:( However, we can turn those rainy days into a writing opportunity. If you were planning to play outside but the rain stopped you, then turn to your computer and get some of your novel finished. After all, you had the time booked for fun, and what is more fun than writing? Spring cleaning? Yeah, right!

As I write this, it is a rainy Saturday, and my wife and I are in the office glued to our computers. I turn any change in plans to an opportunity. Considering ‘Time is the fire in which we burn.‘, then let’s not waste those precious hours pining for our mountain bikes, golf clubs, or gardening tools, but use it productively to pursue our writing dreams.

Last month, I gave you the idea of creating a novel template for your manuscript that varies from your traditional manuscript format. Since we are writing a novel, let’s make it look like a novel. I told you how to resize the paper, set the margins, and configure the headers and footers. This month, we are going to continue building that template by adding the book front matter. When done, you will only need to fill in the story.

Go back and open the file, BookTitleDRAFT-1.doc, from last month so we can complete its configuration. First we must create the front pages that contain the various matter required within the publishing industry. If you have a publisher, they will do all this for you, but if you self-publish, you need to get familiar with this matter.

On the first page, enter the title of your book at the top of the page in Times Roman 24pt font. Make the title all upper case and center it on the line in Bold font. This is the only thing that should be on this page, so make sure you don’t add page numbers or any headers/footers. This is important, do not enter a page break for the next page. Instead, use Insert | Break | Next Page. This ensures different header and footer formatting on these pages.

The second page can contain your additional published works. Please make sure you don’t list anything that has not actually been published. At the top of the page, I center the phrase Also by Authorname: in Bold font. Now, enter two line feeds and list your books, left-justified. I prefer 16pt for the also by line, but 14pt for the book list. Again, use Times Roman. You can use different fonts, but be aware that may cause the publisher some problems. If you haven’t any other books, leave this page blank.

Insert another Next Page to create the third page. This is another title page, but contains your name as the author. At the top of page, enter the title of your book, centered in the same format as the first page. Add two line feeds, then enter By Authorname using a slightly smaller font size, like 16pt or 18pt but still in Bold. Great, now insert another Next Page to continue.

At this point, you are wondering why so much has to be added before the actual book itself. Part of it is the industry standard, and part is to give appropriate credit where credit is due. Have patience, and follow the rest of the directions.

After the second title page, you must create the copyright page containing the information about the copyright and publisher. I place the following on this page, left justified, standard font (11pt):

  • BookTitle, all upper case, in Bold font (change this to 14pt)
  • Copyright 2010 by Authorname
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.
  • This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
  • Publisher name and address
  • ISBN number (pbk)
  • Printed in the United States of America
  • For more information about this book or the author:
  • Author website address

I place two line feeds between each item of data on this page to provide readability. To support the industry standard, you must have a copyright page that also contains the ISBN of the book. Insert a Next Page to continue.

This next page is the dedication page. At the top of the page in standard font, write whatever dedication you would like. Thank your family, your writing group, your mom, whatever. I keep my dedications short and sweet, but I have seen the page filled. It made it sound like an Academy Award acceptance speech! “And I want to especially thank my neighbor’s sister’s gardener who kept the flowers outside my office window so beautiful.” Sheesh, I’m going to cry.

Okay, insert two Next Pages to leave the first one blank so that the first page of your book appears on the right page with a blank page opposite it when the book is open. Insert about five to six line feeds before you enter Chapter 1 in a large font like 20pt. If your chapters are titled, then replace with the title of the chapter. make sure it is left or right justified and Bold.

Add two line feeds and you are ready to begin typing the novel. After this point, let the automatic page insert create pages as you type. These will all be part of the same section, thus having the same headers and footers.

Unfortunately, I will defer the headers and footers until next time, but you can still download the template to begin using it. It has headers and footers already created with page numbers. Use it, enjoy it, and remember this is the finished product you are trying to create. Nothing is quite like holding that novel in your hands. With this formatting, you are that much closer.

Now, where are those gardening gloves?

Advertisements

An Autumn eBreak

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

“Honey!”

Now what?

“Yes, dear?”

“Did you get my prescription?”

Whoops, I knew I forgot something. Sigh…

The Comptroller

The Comptroller

Ah, the sweet sounds of home life. No matter how many times I stop at the store, I never seem to get everything necessary to buy me some writing time. It is the never ending line of the American Consumer. Perhaps I should move to another country, one less affluent. Nah!

Last month, I promised to begin the process of how to use Microsoft Excel to manage your writing tasks within a spreadsheet. I lied. I didn’t purposely lie, I simply was distracted by a bright shiny object! Okay, not a shiny object, an electronic object. eBooks to be exact.

Now, don’t misunderstand, I already publish all my books as eBooks, so this isn’t something new to me. In fact, future blogs and future editions of my non-fiction book will contain detailed information on how to publish eBooks. No, this month I would like to discuss an incident that occurred at the recent AuthorFest of the Rockies writing conference I presented at.

This was my third year in a row presenting at the conference, and at each event, I have a wonderful time networking with aspiring and established authors. While I am not always welcomed into the inner circle of established authors, I am self-published, I do have an occasion to discuss various aspects of writing with them. I garner great information from them and hope to give them something they haven’t always thought about.

Well, this year was no different. I presented how to create paperback books for proofreading using the free online services at Lulu.com, and sat on a discussion panel with my writing group discussing how our group functions and all its benefits. It was a wonderful time, and as always, I am already planning what I will present next year.

However, the interesting part of this event was during the author book signing. I was seated next to an established author traditionally published with fourteen mystery novels to her credit. Now, I am not here to bad mouth her, I bought one of her books and can’t wait to read it after Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, but the incident underscores the dramatic shift in publishing that is gathering speed.

This author, who shall remain nameless, because again, I am not here to put her down, refers to herself as a mid-list author, and is quite happy to live in that comfort zone. She is still actively publishing novels and having a very successful career. Kudos to her, but she is an anachronism. She represents an older, shrinking world of publishing that many still work hard to penetrate. All right, enough rambling, let’s talk about the incident.

This author was talking with another author during our book signing, and since I had no one currently seeking an autographed copy of Why Can’t I Get Anything Done?, I took advantage of the calm to look this author up on my Amazon Kindle. This seemed innocuous at first, but what ensued was an interesting dialog between myself and this author.

After she completed her discussion with the other author, I leaned over and showed her the list of books she had available on the Kindle. I asked her which of the books listed would be the best one to start with. She responded by asking me what the device was. I told her it was the Amazon Kindle eBook reader, and she showed surprise that her books were available on the device (note author’s lack of information about what her publisher does with her books).

After describing the device and service Amazon provides, she told me she was against eBooks, and technology in general. I told her that I published eBooks and that I believed it was the future of writing. Her comment was that it was a fad that would soon end after everyone discovered the damage it was doing to their eyes. When I remarked that I had been working with computers regularly since college (20+ years) and still had perfect eyesight, she changed tact and chastised me for stealing royalties from authors by buying a reduced price eBook.

I love technology, so I must admit I was bristling at her obvious disdain for anything technological. I suppose, in hindsight, I should have let it go, bought one of her books and dropped the conversation. But I couldn’t, because I love my Kindle and want everyone to understand the power and beauty of eBooks. So, I explained how eBook publishing has virtually no cost to the publisher, thus more royalties to the author. However, I doubt that is the case with her publisher.

Now, I am no expert on publishing contracts, so please comment and correct me if I am wrong, but I believe they get a straight percentage of wholesale sales regardless of how or where it was sold. In this case, she was right, I would be stealing royalties from Dan Brown’s book I bought for my Kindle at $9.99 instead of paying the full hardcover price on Amazon.com of $16.17. You can see that 20% of 10 is less than 20% of 16. Add this up over many thousands of books, and it is a sizable chunk of change.

But wait, I wasn’t stealing this difference from Dan, his publisher was! The publisher, at least an honest publisher, should be paying authors higher royalties on eBook sales because of the reduced cost to produce (no cost). But unless the author has a savvy agent, I doubt that is the case. Maybe for Dan Brown, but not likely for the author at the conference.

I’ll stop retelling the rest of the conversation with the author, because we didn’t come to blows, and it ended amicably. But as I said earlier, it underscored the tremendous shift in publishing that is sweeping away the old models of how authors publish and get paid. As an author, it is a very exciting time, but also very frightening. Unlike any other time in human history, our writing can now find an audience around the globe as long as the person has access to a computer and the internet.

This story converges with a presentation I saw yesterday about 21st century literacy and how it impacts education. As a teacher, I am always looking at how technology will affect our children and how best to harness it to educate them to deal with our changing landscape. The presenter, Karl Fish, is a technology specialist for a school district here in Colorado. The presentation, there are different flavors, is called Did You Know?/Shift Happens.

The take away for purposes in this discussion is the fact that he describes the change in publishing. As he put it, we were originally a filter then publish world where publishers and agents filtered what would be published. Now, however, we have changed to a publish then filter world, where everything is published, for good or bad, and the consumer must filter what is valuable, good, or correct. Yes, I am afraid you can find inaccurate information on the internet:)

Shift does happen, and I remember the famous quote from Ken Olson, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation who said in 1977, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” Wow, talk about missing the boat! But it sounds so similar to the author I spoke to at the conference who told me eBooks were a fad, or somehow dangerous to our health. Really? She missed the boat with Ken Olson. By the way, Digital Equipment Corporation is no longer around. Hey, shift happens!

Look, I am not saying all readers should abandon their dead trees in favor of an eBook reader, but the next generation will. They are hardwired to our world, for good or bad, and they will demand eBooks instead of dead trees. After all, despite being a renewable resource, how long can we keep killing trees to fill libraries and book store shelves with something that will turn yellow and smell bad after a couple decades. How may people still buy albums? How many still buy CDs? Our children don’t, they download it all from the Internet.

When Amazon announced the larger version of their Kindle eReader called the Kindle DX, it was a solid line in the sand for the future of publishing. Now students could read textbooks and non-fiction on this larger display. Next, they will have color, and the circuit will be complete. What kid will want to lug around 30lbs of books when they can lug around a few ounces of an electronic device? Oh yeah, and you can play games on it, access the Internet, call your friends, publish, … Yes, it is coming.

I went on this diatribe to show you that a shift is happening and you need to understand it and be prepared to publish within this new paradigm. In the coming years, I will help you along the way through this blog and my book. It is both exciting and frightening, but a journey we can take together. If you are a technophobe like the author I spoke with, seek help, because unless you plan on dying soon, technology will be subsuming every aspect of publishing.

Before I rush off to Target to get my wife’s prescriptions, I want to assure you that I will be back on track next month. I will spend Nov and Dec describing how to use my spreadsheet to help you manage your writing. It will be a great way to end the first year of this blog. However, I want you to think about this blog and how it will impact your writing.

I’ll further leave you with this interesting statistic from Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. He recently reported that for all books they sell that have both paperback and Kindle versions, the Kindle purchases have gone from 32% of total sales to 48% of total sales for those books.

“Okay, honey, I was just heading over to Target to get that!”

Oh joy, perhaps I’ll stop at the DMV while I am at it! Sigh…

Tsk-tsk, So Many Tasks-tasks

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

“Daddy!”

Ah, let the parental games begin…

“Yes, sweetie?”

“Kahlua’s gots Tori’s sock!”

All around the mulberry bush, daddy chases the puppy! Sigh…

Empress Erika

Empress Erika

Considering a neighbor of my mother-in-law had to have a sock surgically removed from their Corgi, our family must be vigilant in what gets haphazardly thrown to the floor. For some reason, socks are the favorite house prey of the Corgi, perhaps reflecting a deep seated desire to stay overnight at the vets.

Reflecting back across my myriad blogs I have imparted to you, I realized that it is a bit overwhelming to see so many tools at your disposal to simply manage your time. But I hope you’ll take away from this a greater understanding of its importance. If we allow our time to be dictated randomly without purpose, we will fail in all our endeavors. Again, don’t be the “What could have happened if…” and be the one who can say, “I did this!”. Patience.

Indeed, patience is a rare commodity in today’s culture of now-now, me-me, but that is what makes it precious, too. Starting down the wrong path will eat away at the precious time you must manage. You likely have heard the saying that there is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over. Let’s do it right from the outset, and spend that extra time devoted to doing it over on your writing.

As promised last month, we will look at the task management capabilities built into Microsoft Outlook, an email, calendaring, and task management system sold as part of Microsoft Office. It has several advantages over calendaring in that it supports a single view (all) along with various filtered views you can sort. Add to this that it also supports reminders and you can see it is a pretty powerful tool for managing your writing tasks.

I already hear your thoughts through my dog’s barking: If this is so good, why do you keep saying Microsoft Excel is the one you use? Good question, but one that is complex to answer. First, I actually use Microsoft Outlook tasks to manage my tasks at school. Considering the vast number of things I manage as a teacher and the fact I use Outlook for my email, it seemed a natural fit. However, it lacks portability with the exception that I can synchronize it with my Crackberry. Without Outlook installed and setup with my personal store, I cannot access these tasks.

All right, enough talk about what it can and can’t do, let’s talk about how you can use it to manage your Appointment to Write. I prefer the following basic fields to help me manage my tasks:

    TaskName of the task
    DueWhen the task should be completed
    Status Is it in progress, stalled, what?
    Comment Any specifics you need for the task (ie. web address, contact, supplies, etc)

It is a basic list of attributes, but simplicity is sometimes the best approach. The question is, can Outlook support these basic attributes? The answer is yes. In earlier versions of Outlook, you had to modify the field structure of the underlying task object, but with Outlook 2007, the basic task object has pretty much everything you need. Considering a new version of Microsoft Office is just around the corner (2010), I highly recommend you update to Office 2007 now.

However, as mentioned last month, you first must take your decomposed list of writing tasks and sort them by any order you wish to perform them in, or that makes logical sense. Once you have completed this, you must assign how many appointments it will take to accomplish each task. This is the duration of the task. Now, you are ready to enter each task into the system.

Open Microsoft Outlook and select Tasks in the left-hand menu. It should be the last item in your menu at the bottom of the menu pane. Notice that when you click on it, you get something eerily familiar to the email and calendaring view. This is one of the Outlook 2007 changes where the views are more consistent between the different services provided.

Now, in the To-Do-List Pane, double click on the Type a new task. Dialog Box. This opens the Task Edit Dialog which is remarkably similar to the Calendar Edit Dialog we looked at last month.

Outlook Edit Task Dialog

Outlook Edit Task Dialog

In the Task Edit Dialog, enter the following information for the first task in your task list:

  • Subject: – Enter the name of your task
  • Start Date: – Enter the appointment to write date you will begin this task
  • End Date: – Enter the actual due date for completion (duration)
  • Status: – Leave as Not Started until the start date
  • Reminder: – Select checkbox if you want a reminder and set the date to your appointment to write

In the open dialog box at the bottom, you can enter any comments, notes, web addresses, or supplies you need to begin or work on the task. The following image illustrates an example task created for my Appointment to Write.

Sample Writing Task

Sample Writing Task

Save and close your new Outlook task. In the main Outlook task pane you should see your task listed in the To-Do List. Click on the task and the preview pane will display the details of your task. The following illustrates this.OutlookTaskPane

Enter all your tasks into the system one by one and you will soon be managing your tasks to pursue your publishing dreams. The beauty is you can sort the To-Do List on any field you wish, you can filter using the left-hand menu items, and you can track your progress as you work on each task. Now, when you keep your Appointment to Write, you can open Outlook tasks and see what is currently due and then work on it until you have completed it.

With so much power built into Outlook Tasks, it still begs the question why I don’t use it for my writing tasks. Well, first, I must admit portability is less important today than in the past, so I could use it on my home computer where I normally write. Second, it does require less skill than Excel, so my task management could become less burdensome. However, I think ultimately my problem with it is I simply have too many things to manage.

In fact, I actually maintain three separate task lists in Excel for Publishing, Marketing, and Sales. Although each on their own are manageable, having all three combined in Outlook might be overwhelming. If you are starting out and only have writing tasks to contend with, I highly recommend Outlook tasks to manage those tasks and your time. Between the power it provides and the reminders to keep you on track, you can’t beat it for free if you already purchased Microsoft Office.

However, as you pursue your publishing dreams over time, you will find you need something more powerful and flexible as the number of your tasks increases. Not only do I use a spreadsheet for managing tasks, but it manages my sales, my web site statistics, my contacts, my web addresses, my future goals, my ideas, etc.

Next month we will finally discuss how you can use the companion spreadsheet to manage your tasks. In the meantime, if you do not own Microsoft Excel, you might want to purchase it and install it.

“Okay, Erika, close all the doors so we can corner Kahlua!”

Time…

Clickety-click clickety-click clickety-click…

“Honey?”

Uh-oh, now what?

“Yes, dear?”

“I think there is something wrong with Kira.”

Oh no, what can it be this time? Sigh…

Krazy Kira

Krazy Kira

Unfortunately, this time, the problem proved unsolvable. We have sadly lost our two dogs to cancer in as many years. For anyone who has seen Ol’ Yeller, you know the pain and grief of losing a dog. Time affects us all, both in our lives and in our work. While I bid farewell to a Krazy, but wonderful dog, I may soon welcome a new puppy into the family. So goes the chain of life.

Time is such a fitting title for this month’s blog. Stealing from one of our finest Star Trek movies, ‘Time is the fire in which we burn…‘. Because this statement is so true, we must be vigilant as writers to ensure we manage our time effectively. Let time control us, and we will watch our aspirations fade into the dust we must all eventually become.

Okay, enough melancholy, let’s get down to business. Last month, I gave you a job of listing all the tasks required to complete your writing project. This month, I wish to discuss the tools available to help you manage those tasks, thus managing time. The difference between those who succeed and those who do not is typically time management–sometimes luck plays a role, too.

You have set an appointment, you have listed the tasks that must be completed, now you need only manage these things in some product that is easy to use. Well, in today’s market of electronic gadgets, there is a plethora of tools at your disposal. I have used several, but certainly not all. In this blog, I will try my best to discuss each in turn, letting you select based on your needs and preferences. However, please note I have provided a free download of my favorite tool to use, so I am biased. More later.

Your tasks, like so many things in life, have a start, a middle, and an end to them. You would like to capture and track this aspect of your tasks using some tool. Databases, spreadsheets, task management, and time management tools abound to help you accomplish this. The challenge is finding the right tool to assist you in managing your time without taking all your time. To that end, I provide a little insight into each type of tool for you to consider.

Databases are useful and downright powerful tools to manage any sort of data. The downside is they take time to setup, have limited interfaces for using them once they are created, and tend to be a bulldozer when only a shovel was needed. However, Microsoft Access is one database that has it all in an easy to use package. It is less portable than other tools, but if you are into the geek factor, this could be a great way to manage your tasks.

Spreadsheets were once designed for nothing more than accounting tasks. Not true anymore. Now they are useful list management tools with powerful, database-like features in an easy to use and understand interface. My personal preference is Microsoft’s Excel product, and I have a template spreadsheet ready for you to use on my website (Template Spreadsheet). Feel free to use it for managing your tasks. More on this later.

Not ready to enter the world of databases and spreadsheets yet? Don’t worry, many email packages also include a task list management system in them. Microsoft Outlook is one such product that contains a task list management system within it. I actually use this at work for managing my tasks related to teaching. It is not as powerful as Excel, but has an automatic notification system that is quite nice for those of us who forget to look at our lists frequently. It requires a little computer savvy, but isn’t too difficult to customize for your writing tasks.

I realize some of you would prefer to avoid the electronic age in accomplishing such a simple task, and for you, there are still great tools available. One such tool is the DayPlanner. I prefer and have used extensively the FranklinCovey DayPlanner system with great success. If you go that route, which I do for managing appointments, you can also manage your tasks and their timelines. If you do this, get the weekly planner as that will fit your writing appointments best. If you wish to use it for more than your writing, then get the daily planner packs. Hey, no need to waste it if you can get double duty out of it!

As you can see, I use three of the tools regularly, but prefer the spreadsheet for managing my writing tasks. Not surprisingly, I also use the spreadsheet to manage sales and royalties, expenditures, marketing tasks, and contact information. It is very powerful with advanced features such as sorting, filtering, and column/row hiding, and yet, it is easy to learn and displays all your data in a single interface. Few tools can match that combination of power and ease of use.

Before you decide which tool will work best for you, research each of the different types I have outlined. Download my spreadsheet and look it over, then choose a tool that will work best for your situation. Heck, if you have an iPhone, there is probably an app for that. And if you have a Blackberry, I am pretty certain they also have an application for managing your time and tasks. I prefer electronic, but hey, I am a computer geek!

Speaking of computer geek, some of you are probably sneering at me because of the Microsoft Office products I have proposed. Look, I used to work for Microsoft, so I have a little leftover loyalty. However, if you don’t want to fork out the money or have hidden or overt hostilities towards Microsoft, I recommend checking out OpenOffice. Yes, I have used them and find them very excellent for a free product.

Next time, we will look at how we can use these tools to manage our writing tasks and our weekly appointments to write. Documenting and managing your time is an important step in pursuing your writing dreams. Do not skip or shortchange this process or your writing may not find the traction to move towards completion. Your mission before next time is to research and select one or more tools to help you manage your time!

Goodbye, Krazy Kira, you were truly loved and will be sorely missed…

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…