Hey, beautiful people! A huge key to staying focused and engaged on a project as big as writing an entire novel is organization. We want to keep every part of the creative process as organized as possible, giving our mind as much freedom to generate ideas & the confidence to always have access to those ideas. So, let’s get into this quick guide on staying organized while writing your novel – and I’ll give you the tea on a free checklist you can gain access to that is super helpful with this topic as well!
But first, a super brief update. I don’t have much to update you all on! Majority of my time goes to working on Fragile II. When I’m not compiling the pieces for that, you can find me on TikTok playing! lol. Follow me there for more book content and a peek inside my life outside of posting writing & creativity tips on my blog. I also want to have another guide + checklist put together for you all by the end of this month, right on time for New Years resolutions revolving around everyone’s writing goals! But, don’t quote me on that. It’s on the to-do list, so if it doesn’t happen by the end of December, it will definitely happen at the top of 2022.
Now, let’s hop on into what you came here for.
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There are two major pieces we want to call attention to when it comes to staying organized for the creation of our novels: our thoughts & our goals. We need both of these elements on this journey; one gives us the story, one gives us something to aim for, and both allow the process to steadily move forward.
How to Stay Organized While Writing: Our Thoughts
When writing a story, it is so easy for our minds to float in several different directions at once. One minute you’re outlining a scene, the next minute you’re jumping to thoughts about a potential ending, and the next minute you’re doing character aesthetic boards on Pinterest. We don’t want to lose any of these ideas, by either deciding to stick to what we’re currently attempting to focus on or by falling into the temptation to jump around. So, we need to have tools available to note all of our ideas and keep them accessible / easy to locate and return to later. This is where good notebooks and stickies come into play!
I love the look of this SETTINI writing journal. It has a hard, faux leather cover which is perfect for taking on the go. I love not needing to worry about my notebooks getting too worn out, so the ones made highly durable are my favorites. And this one also comes with a pen! You know I love a nice pen! The SETTINI writing journal is available now on Amazon for $29.95! Click here to view today’s price and purchase.
I also love sticky notes and use them for many different things. One of those things being sticking notes on top of my notes in the notebooks. It sounds chaotic, but believe me, there is always a method to my madness. Now of course, you can get stickies from many places, and they can be many different sizes and colors. I usually like mine to be beige and either large or small. Here is a set of 6 packs of 3×3 stickies on Amazon that have a similar look to the ones I go for!
Another key to staying organized is giving ourselves the space to stay as focused on the story as possible. Especially in the midst of writing that first draft of our novels. We discussed here how the goal of this stage is to simply tell ourselves the story. That is obviously imperative and extremely vital to the creation of the book. We don’t want to be forced to exert too much energy and thought toward anything other than building that world. And although sometimes we feel compelled to clean up our writing as we go, this can be distracting and interrupt the flow of amazing ideas. So, I highly advise having an editing program that can perform those pesky line edits for you.
ProWriting Aid is that girl for the job. This program offers grammar and writing-style checks seamlessly as you’re writing, and also provides reports and many other helpful resources you can review later on. This way, you can primarily focus on the story without being distracted by small errors as ProWriting Aid fixes them, then when you’re ready to get into the editing stage, you can review reports and suggestions ProWriting Aid provides from analyzing your grammar and particular writing style. Cool, right? You can also get 20% off their premium package if you’re a student. Check them out here!
I also have a tool available right on this site. Your Novel-Writing Guide is a digital download you can use electronically or print out to help organize all ideas regarding your novel. There are distinct sections dedicated to characters, plot, key takeaways, etc. and plenty of space available to note everything you need! You can purchase Your Novel-Writing Guide here, for just $7.99!
There is also Your Novel-Writing Checklist, available for free when you sign up for the A. ERIN WALKER email list! Or, if you don’t want to join the email list (why wouldn’t you want to, though?), you can purchase the checklist here for $5.99. It’s just like Your Novel-Writing Guide but it breaks the sections into tasks, guiding you through all the steps necessary to bring your novel from an exciting start to an exceptional finish. Pretty much the roadmap to success, created by a writer for writers.
Related Post: Undeniable Process: Writing the First Draft of Your Book
How to Stay Organized While Writing: Our Goals
The purpose of this area is to set long-term, big, scary goals for your novel that are important to you, as well as small, less intimidating goals you can attack daily that pave the way toward the ultimate goals of what you want your novel to become.
I like to write my big, scary goals somewhere naturally visible to me. I have this Russell+Hazel acrylic board on my desk, and written on it are my goals for every project large and clear for me to always see. The days where I may be leaning into self-doubt or questioning all the work I am doing, it helps when these goals catch my eye just from walking by my desk. It is a reminder of what I want for my art and my life and what I’m capable of when I truly need the reminder the most. I also love this particular board because it’s kinda different! The clear acrylic with the white dry-erase marker is such a clean look that adds a modern touch to my desk space and is just nice to look at. The current price on Amazon is $31.99, and you can check today’s price and purchase here!
And as for the less intimidating, day-by-day goals that help us reach the big goals, I like to use planners! Planners took over my life when they would give them to us in high school and have had a hold on me ever since. Nothing beats the satisfaction of planning out your day and crossing each task off the list as you go. I always feel so proud of myself after a day of conquering small goals and watching how far those small goals take me over time. Of course, you can get planners from a number of places. I usually like to grab mine from Target because they always have a nice selection with plenty variety of designs and setups.
Bonus: Organizing Our Space
It is so important that I emphasize to you all how monumental it is to do your writing / creating in a space that is free of distractions. Do not cheat yourself by trying to focus in an environment that fights your focus. And if you can’t change your environment, use whatever tools you can to bring your preferred ambiance to you! We dive deep into this topic in this post about having a creative space. For me, minimal clutter is best with nice sounds, smells, and lighting. Consider what you like to do to put yourself in a good mood and use whatever you need to cultivate that energy in your space, and let the inspiration fill you. A space that is organized for the benefit of our art puts us further in alignment for magic to happen.
Let me know your tips & tricks on staying organized while writing novels! I hope this post was helpful, if so, please leave a comment and share with your friends! xo