Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Craft of Writing: Organize it ALL! (Part 2)

Hi there, everybody!

I said that I was going to share with you some pages that I have put together for my own bullet journal like notebook. I do not have those pages ready to share yet. The reason is because I am having a rather difficult time winnowing down just what I am going to put on these pages. Having a creative mind is awesome, because you can come up with tons of great ideas. Having a creative mind is difficult, because you can come up with tons of great ideas. It is hard to pick what to focus on.

All of that said, I have decided on a few things. First is that I am going to keep my editing work separate from my organization work. This may sound a little silly considering how other people have organized their stuff. I, however, recognize that I need to keep my editing such that it is more portable than my organizing work. I have a nifty little red steno pad that I use. Each manuscript gets its own tab divider and then I go through and write down all my line edits with page and line number. As I make the changes, I check them off. It is a terribly dull system, but it works well for me.

Secondly, I am going to have all of my language developing notes in their own notebook. That one is something I'm still in the process of dividing up into sections. The wild idea that I should develop languages is something that came to me back when I wrote the very first rough draft of book one. (That would be way back in 6th grade. It was two pages. I still have it. It looks nothing like the final version. I still take it out and look at it from time to time though. Just to remind myself how far I have come.) Scattered through my various notebooks are bits and pieces of this language development stuff I have done. This new notebook is going to be divided up by languages. It is also going to be where I do things like develop the different scripts for the written version of the languages. It is one of those notebooks with grid style pages in it. (If I had realized I could have gotten a composition notebook in this style, I suspect I would have had an easier time learning linear algebra.) This is something that I will be doing on my 'downtime' from other writing projects. It is a long term thing that I am not going to pressure myself to do all right now.

I am going to be setting up pages for plotting out blog posts separate from my novel writing work. This is for two different reasons. First, I have different things I am trying to do with this blog and what I am trying to do with my novels. I need these things separate so that I don't confuse the details. It is less a concern that I will be confusing you, gentle Reader, and more an attempt to keep myself from getting confused. Life is complicated enough with what I have going on right now. All of this organization effort is an attempt to make things less complicated.

It is my hope that next week, I will have the pages for novel development put together. And I think I am going to have my pages for blog post development taken care of by sometime Friday evening, barring any unpleasant surprises. (It is stuff that would have been done last week, except I had a child home sick with a norovirus. These things are horrid and I sincerely hope that you or your loved ones don't have to suffer them. Gastrointestinal misery is not anyone's idea of a good time.)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Craft of Writing: Organize IT ALL!!! (Part 1)

A wise person once told me that to be successful with a large project, it is best to organize it like the storming of Normandy. I have to say, my Grandfather was right when he made that suggestion as I look at just how disorganized I have been over the last year with this blog and my other writing projects. As a result, I am spending the month of January organizing and planning how I am going to approach the rest of the year.

I am a bit late to the party with bullet journaling. That said, I am finding a modified version of this is helping me organize the rest of my life, so I am working out how to implement it in my writing. There is a staggering array of ways to do it and it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed with just all the different facets that you can customize. Just a quick search yielded over one million results. There is some schisms within the bullet journaling community on what the best type of notebooks to use are, how pretty you must make it, and what type of pens are best (among many, many other details).

I narrowed down my search to looking at how others were just dividing up tasks and such for their writing. That also netted me over one million results. (Google, you have a tremendous ability to find ALL THE THINGS. Don't stop being your glorious self!) I looked at the following and have developed something of a working understanding of how the process works.

Bullet Journal for Freelancers & Writers - Belle Cooper (Boho Berry)

Ms. Cooper set up some very nice examples of how she uses her bullet journal for her writing work. I was particularly impressed with how she kept track of all of her deadlines, invoices, and the publication status of her freelance work. It made a lot more sense than my pile of post-it notes and little scraps of paper taped to strategic points on the desk. She also mentioned something called 'sketch notes' which I thought was somewhat interesting. It is basically a combination of written text notes with small sketches associated with them. I like how it engages both aspects of the creative mind: visual and literary.

Bullet Journal: The (Writer's) Answer to Getting Thing Done - Jenni Myburgh (Jenni Myburgh)

Ms. Myburgh's post on bullet journals is fantastic. It is fantastic for two reasons. First, she gives very clear and concise descriptions of the concept and provides beautiful photos to illustrate them. Second, her examples show how they are truly very flexible tools and can be used for more than just staying on task with a single writing project.

Bullet Journal DOs and DON'Ts - Susanna (Zealous Mom)

Where the other two ladies gave very good advice on how to set up one's bullet journal, Ms. Susanna shares with us just what the experience of using one is like. It really was refreshing to see her very homey take on the topic and I also highly enjoyed how she was not shy about sharing what worked for her and what did not. It was good to see that people do have some difficulty starting out with this and that perfection is not the same thing as progress. And that your bullet journal needs not be Pinterest worthy to be effective.

I am still in the process of developing my lay outs and such for my own bullet journal-esque efforts. I will share more about that next week. I can tell you two things, however, about what I am doing. My first focus is on functionality and what is going to help me be most effective. I am saving artwork and other fun stuff for after I manage to get the whole process I am going to be using figured out. Secondly, I have a binder/folio/soft briefcase that I am using for my blogs and a separate one I am using for my novels. I am not going to limit myself to a tiny notebook that I can stash with my knitting. This is not because I need portability as much as I need something to keep track of everything and I have a whole lot of moving parts to keep track of. More space to work with is better for me. I have enough smaller notebooks I can dedicate to individual elements of things.

I may still be in a position where I must consider if buying stock in 3M and Mead (the people who make Post-It notes, notebooks, and filler paper for binders) is going to be something I should do or possibly get some sort of bulk rate on these things in a few months. But, I may have something more organized and easier to work with than the four inches of paper stacked up on and around the desk right now.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


A visual pun, if you will.

This Website!

I am in the process of making changes to format and a number of other things here. My plan is to have everything completed by the end of the month. I will be moving some material around to make things make more sense. Don't worry, the serial stories and the various themed content is not going anywhere. I am just going to try to reshuffle it so that it is easier for me to work and and for you to navigate.

Please, drop me a note if you have any suggestions or questions.

Thank you for taking the time and being so patient to come along with me on this journey as I muddle through 2017.

Happy New Year everyone. Let's make it a great year despite what ever gets thrown at us, eh?