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March 3rd, 2004, 10:26 PM
Hi all -

I am a fairly organized guy. I like all my socks folded neatly in one drawer, my underwear folded in another, and my jeans all folded and stacked on the same shelf in my closet. I don't consider myself anal, but my sweaters all hang on one side of the closet, not mixed in with the rest of my shirts. Wait wait, there is a point to this, and yes it involves writing (if you would like a detailed description of my clothing inventory, email me at .. err, n/m). Here we go..

I have found lately that I do my best writing the old fashioned way: pen and paper. I can type incredibly fast, I am able to write on my laptop, and I hate having to copy all of my work onto my computer after it is completed. I am, however, more creative when I'm holding my pen and looking at a single lined sheet of yellow legal paper. My problem is with organization of thoughts or ideas. On my laptop I can simply open ideas folders (I don't own one of the expensive writer's programs, mores the pity) and save various tidbits there, with fairly decent success of recalling that information when I need it or desire it again. With the pen/paper method, I lack the organizational skills to save this information and actually have it handy as needed.

Anybody have any clever systems for saving clippings, snippets of conversation, ideas etc. using an old school filing method? I have the space and equipment, but I find myself getting lost in the paper dump. I've thrown away some very useful research material, simply due to irritation at the mess. Somebody help me!

The best I've come up with so far is to write on paper, but use the laptop for ideas etc. The flaw is having to carry the laptop with me everywhere - a possibility, but cumbersome and difficult.

Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks for replying.


P.S - I don't really have an inventory of my clothing! And I don't store my clothes based on colors etc. :P Although looking across the room, I notice all my books/dvd's are in alphabetical order by author/title. Interesting. *looks up the word 'anal' in the dictionary* *//sighs//*

March 3rd, 2004, 11:03 PM
Well met DRW (I hope that's not short for Dr. Watson)

I hope you didn't find your picture in the dictionary. I also hope you donít' hang your sweaters. My wife would have a fit if I hung/stretched out my sweaters in such a manner.

Myself, I throw socks and under things into the drawer. No folding, no matching. If someone wants to see my socks, they can stop me and pull up my pant leg. Argh!

Enough about wardrobe.

Myself, I used to also use pen/pencil/crayon and paper method. If I had an idea, I jotted it down. If I thought up a scene, I jotted it down. I kept one notebook strictly for ideas and a second for the story of the moment I was working on. At times I also had a multi-subject notebook and that also worked well. I no longer carry paper as I've got a palm. I read and to a very minor extent, write on the palm or type with the thumb keyboard. I also love the fact that there's a button to allow me to record those snippets of thought as I drive down the road.

But nothing compares to sitting in front of the computer. If I'm working on something and an idea pops up, I have one (yes one) word doc with all my ideas. I print it weekly so I have a physical copy to gander at just in case my computer gets hungry and decides to eat it. I have it sorted by books (Sci-fi/Fantasy/other) and Short Stories (Sci-fi/Fantasy/other). This one word doc has become invaluable. I keep my computer well fed with other trash like my sock inventory (huh?). Ok, I'm kidding.

But I have two methods for organization. One for on the go (Palm) one for a fixed location (computer). Am I techno geek or what?

I looked at my shelves and just realized that my movies are mixed with my daughters. What is Harry Potter doing next to LOTR! Sacrilege!

March 4th, 2004, 11:02 AM
Big thick spiral notebooks with dividers may be the way to go -- not the filing kind, but the ones you'd take to a college lecture. You can outline, draw maps and have a section just for research.

Another way to go in pen and paper are index cards, especially for research. You can get a plastic box or other container and write ideas and bits on the index cards, organizing them with dividers again. When I was in college and researching a paper, I'd take index cards to the library, sit in an egg chair and jot down notes on the cards as I read. Then I could organize them in order. This might work with plot outlines. I also have friends who use color coding with markers, highlighters, files or paper to organize it. Of course, you still have to carry around the notebook, files or the index cards.

So another way to go is the Palm Pilot or similar hand-held computer device, as Maus suggested. You can jot down notes, then download them into your computer and back again.

March 5th, 2004, 05:22 AM
I'm a neat freak - most of the time - I like to have things organised nicely though sometimes I just throw things on my floor - though after a few days it bugs me tons and I HAVE to clean it.

As for my writing I have tons of disjointed text files that I need to put together one of these days. I keep backups of them though.
As for my bookshelf I've got it organised by authors no matter what size the book so that the authors works are all together plus a seperate SW section and LotR section.

March 5th, 2004, 05:33 AM
I just scribble in a notebook as and when the impulse takes me. About as unorganised as a human can possibly be and stay alive.

I thought I was anal until I sat and wrote a list of all the reasons I'm not... :D

March 5th, 2004, 05:34 AM
Originally posted by maus99
I looked at my shelves and just realized that my movies are mixed with my daughters. What is Harry Potter doing next to LOTR! Sacrilege!

You keep your daughters on a shelf with your movies? You barbarian! ;)


March 5th, 2004, 04:31 PM
For all my general writing ideas, random thoughts, scraps of poetry, etc. I use a big spiral-bound notebook. I also have taped pictures in there that I find inspiring; LOTR artwork, pictures of nature scenes and the like. Although this notebook contains all my ideas, I would hardly call it organized. But it is fun to look through sometimes for inspiration.

For my current project, which is a three-novel series, I have a three-ring binder containing detailed plot outlines, character sketches, character and place name ideas, maps, and general information about my world. All this I printed out from my computer so that it is nice and neat and ready to look at whenever I need it. I'd rather not have to be opening new files on the computer while I'm writing to look something up. At the back of these pages I have lined paper on which I scribble my thoughts about the story and characters.

I also have a box for file folders containing hardcopies of old stories and chapters of my current work. I would never allow my stories to exist only on my computer--it's too risky!

This system seems to work pretty well for me. :)

Lucky Joe
March 6th, 2004, 03:20 AM
I can't image keeping written notes. My handwritting is so bad there are times when I can't even read it!

I find having it all on the computer does the trick for me. Even if I was to write by hand (Which I almost certainly never will) I think I'd still organise on a computer.

I do have one note book that I use to write things in during the day when I don't have access to my computer.

I seem to remember seeing a post - a very old post - somewhere on the writing forum, offering free organisational software to download.

March 9th, 2004, 06:25 AM
I don't know about you, but I try not to go anywhere without my pen and a tiny notebook or index cards when I'm away from my computer. I really hate getting that really great idea but have nothing to write it down with.

I've got binders and covers to hold stuff I've written or printed but don't get so caught up in getting yourself organized that you forget to write.

March 9th, 2004, 08:03 AM
I wouldn't say I'm anal about organising things, but I don't like clutter and I'm not the overly sentimental type who keeps everything anyone has ever given me.

My books are stored on a few shelves, mostly ordered by author rather than alphabetical.

My cd's are arranged according to genre & artist (and I bleedinwell hate it when people borrow them and leave them lying around without putting them back in their cases).

My shoes sadly do not all fit into my closets, so I have this rack thing that I use for those. Unfortunately my boots do not fit there so I have to kind of balance them atop everything.

My underwear is folded and packed into some drawers, I have to be rather strict about how they get folded because otherwise they do not all fit in.

I hang my clothes in a certain order - skirts & dresses in the back, then the pants arranged according to type of pants & colour....the denims go according to the shade of black / blue. Then the shirts - long sleeved first then short. T-shirts, shorts, tracksuits, PJ's, jersies / sweaters all have their own racks. My sock drawer is an absolute nightmare because I always forget to pack socks when I go away and end up buying new ones. Did a count the other day because I was trying to make a bit of sense of the mess - I have 42 pairs of white socks only! That doesn't even include the number of other colours and patterned socks, maybe I was a millipede in my previous life???

My perfumes get sorted according to size of the bottle and whether it's a day / night fragrance, summer / winter and strong / light. All the other toiletries are arranged with shampoos & conditioners on one shelf, facial products on the next and soaps / creams / powders / deodorants on the next.

My accounts and bank statements are filed in lever arch files according to institute and date received. Whatever other paperwork I have decided to keep is in a separate file according to date received.

On my PC I have different files for just about everything and I create separate folders on my e-mail for different contacts, which I clear out once a month or so. All backed up to another PC and in some cases to discs as well.

.............erm...I'm going to stop now & not tell you how I arrange my jewelry and even my hairclips or that I have four different bags for my make-up (one for foundations & powders, one for eyeshadows and pencils, one for lipsticks and lipliners and another for the brushes), I'm starting to think that maybe I am a little anal :rolleyes:

Edit: And as you can see it's useless to ask me for any help on organising thoughts and ideas because I have no clue how to do that, I have this nasty habit of posting (and writing) the first thing that pops into my head without deciding on a sensible order first. But I used to find brainstorming and charting helped a bit.