Monday, December 22, 2014

Organizational Behavior

Organizing Office Organizing Writing Tools S. R. Karfelt
The Glitter Globe Copyright 2014

Do you have a system? I have a system.

It's how I keep my stuff organized. Every book I write has a box of index cards with characters, places, names of things, and every book has timelines written on long 24" x 3" sentence strips.

And every book has various versions of Microsoft Word documents ranging in size from 30,000 words or so up to some that are over 600,000 words. I wrote quietly and in the closet for many years.

Every other random thought gets jotted onto small bits of paper and paper clipped together by dates or subjects, but some always escape to litter my office, and the best ones get scotch taped somewhere.

Do you see where I'm going with this? My organizational skills need revamped. At least I thought so earlier today when I spent two hours searching enormous old documents (which miraculously did not crash my computer, thank heavens).

I used someone's name in a different book, and remembered choosing another name for the old one, but couldn't remember what it was, or find anything with it written down.

You can't just change a name, even if you can’t remember it. I knew I had the perfect one someplace. At least I can't change a name. It's like renaming one of my kids, and I only did that once. Kidding, it was just a nickname.

Eventually I dragged out all my index boxes and dug through them. The work that goes into a novel astonishes me, but of course I did take my sweet time with them. Did I find the name? Not in the index boxes either.

That left the random bits of paper that I’d clipped together in cryptic patterns that only the muse can understand, and when I start hunting for something the muse abandons me like fans of a disgraced Hollywood actor. “You so on your own, sweetheart.”

And I found it. Yep. It reaffirmed my trust in my broken organizational skills too. Sure, I could have found it quicker if I had a better system (maybe). But a better system would take an epic revamp, and just think of all the stories I could write instead of reorganizing my office!

Pretty sure what I’ll do instead is just try to make the mess I’ve already created a bit more sensical (which isn’t an official word yet, outside of the Urban Dictionary, which doesn’t work for me. I mean if nonsensical is a word, why can't we have sensical?)

And that is why one of my New Year’s Resolutions will be simply, be neater, rather than, get organized. Baby steps, right? That’s why my health resolutions also sound like, eat healthier, rather than, make your size six jeans too big again, and, put your headphones on an hour every day and move, takes precedence over, run three miles before breakfast every day.

I’ve decided I like myself too much to torture myself. That job is for editors, accountants, and the blue state I sometimes live in, right? How about you? Are you torturing yourself with New Year’s Resolutions? Or are you going to be kind to your awesome self this year? Dish. 


  1. El oh el. I love this. I don't know if I'm organized. I tend to just change the document and not save a new one. Which I know would kill you.
    New Year's resolution? I make those sometime in March, but can't remember when.
    Seriously I never make them. I just fail them.
    Haven't for years. Not seriously anyway.

  2. I'm constantly in need of a newer, better organizational system.

    But note cards aren't a bad idea.

    One time I used post it notes (color coded) and hung them up on my wall while I tried to figure out a plot. It was great.

  3. Hey, that sounds like what Ally Carter does!
    She has like, boards dedicated to book plot with colored notecards meaning specific things.

  4. Why did you stop doing it that way Katie? With the colored post-it notes?

    Since I'm a pantser I tend to write, and when I get stuck I'll go do something mindless (like the Stairmaster) and think about it, and usually the next scene (or how they'll connect) will come to me. It works for me, but it also means that first drafts require me to unplug from the rest of the world until I get the whole thing down.

    I like having my notes in a tangible form rather than in a program. For some reason that just doesn't work.

    (And Kelsey--you know it--changing the same document freaks me out. A lot of times I'll use bits and pieces of old stories for new ones. :) #StoryHoarder )