Writing a book is messy.
Writers keep notes around, papers and clippings, and God only knows what's in that teacup on the corner of our desk...
Plots, character arcs, tension graphs, photographs of our characters, scenery inspiration, etc, all of that is in our heads and all over our desktops.
But writers do much more writing than just on our books. We do queries and synopses and flap copy and then there's all those bits of inspiration, funny or amazing photographs, tons of inspiring quotes that we've collected over our writing careers. So how do we keep all that stuff organized? Here's ten ideas.
1. Dry erase boards or Acrylic sheets. The classic big white dry erase boards that are used in hospitals, schools, and offices the world over. Also use clear acrylic sheets with dry erase markers, they can be written on while not obstructing the background color of your walls, perfect for those that share their writing space with others. Bonus points if you use them in a folding screen that can be tucked away when company comes over.
3. In the shower, use these Crayola Bathtub Markers to jot down bits of inspiration. Alternatively, use 3M hooks to hang a sheet protector on the wall. Store a dry erase marker in it and when inspiration strikes, you can write right on the sheet protector, then unhook it when you're clean and dry and take the notes with you to your office. If you've got glass shower doors, you can also write right on them, but those are tricky to take back to your desk.
4. Mirrors. In the bathroom, or with small decorative ones in your office, use the dry erase markers to keep notes or inspiring quotes nearby.
5. On the go, keep a small voice recorder handy. Sometimes they are included in cell phones and can be programmed to use by pressing just one or two buttons. Alternatively, call yourself and leave a voicemail that you can pick up later. if you do a lot of waiting in the car to pick up kids, break out those dry erase markers and use them on the windows. But don't put them in places that can hinder your ability to drive. Sit in the back seat and use those windows.
6. If you're not at home and can't make a noisy phone call, keep a small pad of paper and a pencil in your bag. Those little IKEA pencils are awesome and are practically indestructible.
7. Scrivener or Evernote. Even if you don't decide to use Scrivener for actually writing your book, you can use the drag and drop features, the color coding, the corkboard, and all of the other indexing and organizing tools to keep your scenes and chapters in order and to re-order them easily. A free alternative is Evernote, which can be used on computers and most phones, and also on other mobile devices like the iPad. Save notes, music, voice messages, photos, snippets of conversations, anything that strikes your inner muse.
8. Broke? Get a few strips of clear packing tape on a bit of cardboard to use as a board and use dry erase markers to write with. You can fold the cardboard so it stands up on your desk, too. Awesome for less than $2. Even better, write on the glass in your windows. Notes and a view. Perfect.
9. Desk mats. They come in colors and in clear plastic, or you can get a piece of beveled glass for your desktop. It looks classy and you can erase your to-do list with one swipe of a finger.
10. Chalkboard paint. Cover an entire wall or just a few feet in an empty frame and use chalk to keep your notes handy. They come in many colors now, and can even be used over magnetic paint so you can use magnets and things too!
How do YOU organize your book?