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Organisation is a key life skill .
Being organised as a writer is a pretty useful thing to be - especially if you don't (yet) have an agent to keep you in line. Some authors manage it, but I don't recommend it. If you're organised,
...Tidying your desk (like JK Rowling) and you won't lose that poem you worked so hard on.
...You won't burst in late to a 'meet the author' session.
...Friends and family *may* start to understand you do hold business hours for writing - and you stick to them!
...You won't forget where your story is going.
...There will be no rushing for a deadline of a competition or publishing date.
As a result, you'll be writing more, maybe faster, and potentially better.
Control is an entirely different, but again, key life skill.
This skill is something which compliments being organised very well.
If you are controlled,
...You won't get distracted from the job in hand (e.g. that blog post you need to post by lunchtime).
...You will be much more likely to finish what you started.
...Poems with structure and prose with word limits will manifest themselves more constructively.
...You'll stay 'on-theme' and not drift into off-subject articles/blogs etc.
...You won't take on more than you can handle - there's only so many hours in that day!
I am definitely guilty of taking on too much sometimes; running a writing group, writing a monthly column for MK Pulse, along with weekly postings here on my writing blog and my travel blog 'Born to be a Tourist' ... It can get a bit much sometimes!
However, I do have an organised way of writing, and I stay firmly in control of my writing business.
How do I stay organised and controlled?
My diary is my best friend. I go nowhere without it and use it almost hourly for something or other. If there is something I am especially keen on attending or submitting to, I mark it in my diary and give myself a two week warning on its approach too.
I hold two blogs and I try to keep them separate. They are on different subject matter, after all. Sure, sometimes they overlap, like when I highlight travel literature I've enjoyed on my travel blog, or share a photo I found on my travels as a prompt on my writing blog, but I try to keep the two worlds separate. This helps me to stay on-theme (controlled) and I rarely miss a posting deadline (organised).
All my Word documents are named appropriately. I am pretty obsessed with this - all my documents ('day job', writing or personal) make sense in the way they're named so I can find them easily when I need them again. I've also started putting the publication date of things which make it to press or web (e.g. my MK Pulse articles) which helps organise my ever-growing harddrive. I'll never again wonder which issue of MK Pulse a specific article appeared in - brill!
I'm a big fan of To-Do Lists. Always have been. I'm currently in the throws of a wedding planning To Do list - and the jobs are growing in number! It's still so satisfying to cross something off my list, though. This tactic helps me to 'kill the frogs' or prioritise your work better too, whichever method I choose that day.
Wearing a watch really helps. I never really wear a watch unless I am going on a journey or I'm going for an interview, but something to keep track of time is essential when I am running a workshop or participating in an event. No one wants to be an out-of-control, tardy guest speaker who can't keep to the evening's schedule!
For more tips on how to be more controlled and organised as a writer, take a look at Jeff Abbott's blog on 'Creative Planning'. I found it a useful read, even from underneath my pile of To Do lists.
****A note to my dear readers****
I will be in Costa Rica for the next two Fridays on a wedding planning 'holiday that's not a holiday'. I doubt I'll be posting (to many things to check off my To Do list 'in country'!), but do stay tuned - I'll be posting something exciting again the first week I'm home.
Hasta pronto! (See you soon!)
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Born To be A Tourist
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean