Welcome to Writers Talkback. If you are a new user, your account will have to be approved manually to prevent spam. Please bear with us in the meantime

Being organised

edited August 2015 in - WM and WN
I'm just wondering how everyone stays organised? At the moment I have three files with stories in first draft and rewrites and finished. I did start a diary and write down when I wrote but that didn't last for long. I have set myself a goal to finish 4 first drafts in September.
How do you organise your stories (I don't type them all my laptop files are worse then my paper files) and how do you keep record of your writing?
Or do you?
I'm always trying to find something thats works for me when it comes to finding ways to keep record of stories I've written or started or ideas I have. A diary doesn't work so I'm trying to think of what I could do to keep a record. I prefer paper as if I turn my laptop on I might end up online and then nothing will get done.


  • Hi Jen.
    I think that if you work on a computer, the organisation is pretty much done for you.

    I have a folder marked 'Writing', but within that are large categories (Admin/Adult/Children, for example) and within those many, many sub-categories.

    So, if I click on 'Adult', I see folders called Books, Short Stories, Flash, Poems and Scripts (and, of course, within those are further sub-categories, too!).

    But you asked about short stories...
    When I click on Short Stories, I can look at the titles alphabetically, or by date written, etc. I have also started a folder within that which contains stories for a new collection, and another which is labelled 'Ideas'. I usually only work on one story at a time, and keep editing until it is the best I can get it.

    Personally, I only keep the final edit of stories, unless I have two versions of different lengths. I work in Word. I don't know if this is the case with other programmes, but if I open a story, I get a band across the bottom where the word 'Tags' appears. If I click that, I can write a note of where and when I have submitted a story, and what became of the submission. That way, I don't double submit. You can also keep a word count here.

    I do print out my short stories as well, and I have several A4 files where I keep them in date order, so the most recent are at the front. Each story has a title page with word count, and each is kept in its own plastic wallet. At the front of each physical file is a contents page which I update and print each time I add a new story to it. Each story is separated by a file divider, the tabs of which are numbered to correspond to the titles listed.

    I also have a notebook where I write each month on a new page. Underneath, I will jot down any writing submission that I have made that month and when the results date is. When the date has passed, I put a diagonal line through it if it got nowhere, and I highlight it if it had a placing.

    I think you have to prioritise which details are important enough to you to note down. I have to be ultra-organised in everything as my memory is incredibly poor.
    I don't really understand your line 'I did start a diary and write down when I wrote but that didn't last for long.' Is that really important?

    Maybe you'd find it all a lot easier to handle if you did use your laptop more - and just be strong and limit your flirtation with social media to a time when you wouldn't necessarily be writing. Just save everything clearly and it's all there to find again when you're ready to get back to it!
  • I have various projects named as what they're called and/or draft number, or if it's for a specific competition.

    Then they go into folders every so often, so I have a folder each for any documents relating to the novels. Another for unfinished short stories, another for ideas, one for useful info. I even have a folder that I keep the Talkback magazine and OWC messages in.

    Notebooks are on the shelf by my desk- they're ideas I'm developing.

    I have a large A4 book that I keep a record of what I've entered in a competition, or submitted. Date, what it is, where it's gone, and any response.
  • I do everything on computer.

    Stories are kept in different files depending on the stage they're at. Unfinished, ready for submission, published are the main ones.

    I use a spreadsheet to record what I've sent where and when, what the response was, payment owed and receieved etc. Another spreadsheet keeps track of writing related finances so my tax return is quick and easy to do.
  • Computer files but also print outs in folders: one folder for plays, one for articles, one for picture books and one for each novel. Plus submissions records in private pages on my blog.
  • Org-an-ised? Am I saying it right? What the chuff monkeys is organised?
  • I'm on my way, br.

    *makes extensive and detailed packing list*
  • Writing is the only part of my life which is organised.
  • I'll pop the kettle on, TN...if I can find it!
Sign In or Register to comment.