Once again a huge thank you to Melanie for the invitation to join you here today! She’s been such a wonderful supporter, I can’t thank her enough.
One of the biggest joys in blogging is in learning something new from the readers via their comments. As a prolific writer, I struggle to keep a working system of everything I have ‘in progress.’
It’s easy enough to keep a folder on my desktop for each book and then keep manuscripts, back up notes, cut pieces (we all keep those don’t we?) and anything else inside. But how do you keep the projects clear and at your fingertips so you don’t get confused in your head?
It’s not a problem for everyone. If you have only one book you’ve been working on for the last year, your problem will be keeping track of your most recent copy – especially if you take long breaks in between writing. But what if you have several books in progress that you are writing, several books in progress that you are editing/revising? That complicates life. Then there is the additional complication of working on several computers depending on the day or even the time of day. Do you keep the files on a USB key (flash drive) or do you email the material back and forth? Or something else altogether?
See what I mean? It doesn’t take long before versions can get swapped out and projects can get lost on that ‘other’ computer and you end up making revisions or rewriting something you swore had already been done.
I currently have seven manuscripts in various states of work. I just finished writing a book for NaNoWriMo and have 150 pages of changes to input into that manuscript. I am trying to get a YA ms out the door for a contest I’ve had my eye on for several weeks now and I have the two ms I put into the GH that really should be gone over – you know – just in case I get that call!
Then there are the others – more YA and more RS. How to get organized and stay current?
Well, I don’t have a magic pill to give everyone a perfect system, but the system that I have is one that works for me – at least when I use it! The problem is I’m always looking to improve it.
So let’s take a look. In digital, I have a folder for each book. All books that I’m working on are in a folder called – yeah what else? – In Progress. Every time I open and work on a project, I save it by date and where it’s at in life cycle. I’d love to be one of those people that chart their productivity every day but honestly, that would only cut into my productivity. I do have a notes page inside each folder, where I try to keep track of the date and where the manuscript is at, which only works if I actually put something down there.
Then when I’m ready to revise, and I don’t revise on the computer, I print off a complete manuscript and put elastic around it until I’m ready to revisit that project. When I am, I go through and make whatever changes need to be done in hard copy and soft copy. Then I print off a second copy and put it in a binder. This gets put off to one side for a breather while I work on another book. I even use coloured binders depending on the book I’m working at. I do find it much easier to read the book when it’s printed off this way and the binder makes it much easier to keep around for awhile with kids and cats all through my space. I also tuck a simple notebook in the cover of each binder for those times when something comes to mind in regards to that story. This means I actually have a place to job down those notes where I’ll be able to find it again.
Right now on my desktop there are two binders and three manuscripts with elastic around them.
At least I won’t run out of things to do any time soon!
What about you? How do you write? Suggestions? One book at a time? One book and revise it before starting a second book? Do you use writing software to stay on track? Or are you so lost that your desk is heaped with things to take care of?
Please note: Dale Mayer is a finalist in the Brava Writing with the Stars Contest. Voting is open HERE until January 2. Good luck, Dale!!