Monday, March 14, 2011

Organization, Interpretively

This is half of the pile.
These two images paint the portrait of my writing life, as of now. And, this is relatively tame. I wish I could say that each of these notebooks was designated a different story or a different genre even, but no, this is not the case at all. All piles of paper here contain bits and pieces of the same two works. There is no segregating projects here. I might have pages one through three of my current short story (I'm always working on one lately) in the Moleskine and pages four through six in the spiral, next to an outline of the painstaking novel I've been working on for the last six months.

I'm posting this because I'm not sure, entirely, that this is normal. It seems far more efficient to carry one decent-sized notebook and contribute to it daily, and then, when ready, type up the best sentences and begin the real work: revision. But, my idea mill happens chaotically. I get an idea, write in whatever is nearest, then have to search for it later. Not to compare myself to the organized, but I can't help but to wonder if I'd be getting far more done if I were to streamline. 

Note how I made sure to include
two images, so as not to show the
depth of my problem
So, how does a scattered writer streamline?  It's not as simple as just doing it because I've tried. Again and again. Is there such a thing as a writer's tool belt? A contraption just big enough that there is space for a pencil, pen, mid-size Moleskine and laptop?  And if there were such a thing, would I have the discipline to use it?  

I have begun to realize that the amount of time I take to find all the bits of writing I've recorded and piece it together like a puzzle is extensive. But, maybe it's adding something to the process... What about you? Do you write in the same notebook each time, or only on the computer? Or do you find yourself constantly looking for little pieces of scrap paper or receipts where you jotted that last outline?

Today, over the next few hours, I will consolidate. We'll see how it goes... 


  1. Great post, Jen. I have several notebooks going at once. My ideas are scribble in no discernible order at all, but at least they're not on scraps of paper that are going to get lost. I actually love looking through my notebooks and finding ideas I'd forgotten all about. I could take a very similar photograph! :-)

  2. At least I'm in good company :) I do wonder how much time we'd save though...

  3. I scribble notes on scraps of paper and in notebooks all over the place, at least I did until earlier today when I (at the risk of sounding like an advertisement,) found this amazing ap for my phone! It's called . . .thinkfree (?!) or something like that? And it allows me to brainstorm and document all ideas and notes in one place. So far I'm loving it. Just hope my phone doesn't crash!!

    Steph x x x

  4. That's a good idea. I don't have a smart phone, but I somehow I don't think it would work for me. I love longhand for rough drafts. Maybe I'll come around, if I ever get the iPhone for Verizon.

  5. Jen i write in traditional notebooks, and on the ipad/ touch and phone note books, plus i have several note books everywhere throughout the house and one in the car, plus the bag, so when an idea comes i write it down. So i have stuff everywhere. Seems unorganized but its not really, as i know i can scribble down anything when i can. So i go through all of them when sitting at the computer to type it up, books everywhere but each to their own I say.

    But I like writing on paper. One day all these papers will be turned into a book. I hope.

  6. They will, girlie. Just keep at it.

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