Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 • No Comments on Gotta Get Organized
Okay, so I’m the queen of to-do lists. I have many, many lists. I keep lists in notebooks, I keep lists on my computer, I use Mac’s cool Stickies program to make lists, I write lists on the backs of my page-a-day calendar pages… I’m drowning in lists. And while I will never give up my lists, I need a better system of organization for my writing.
See, I have all these writing projects with bits and pieces all over the place but no real organized system of keeping track of them. Suggestions? I don’t like Excel—spreadsheets give me hives. I suppose I could just write it all by hand, but that seems tedious. I know some authors use counters to keep track of their works-in-progress (and Wendy’s list of projects is impressive!), but do those work? I mean, a counter will tell me how many words I’ve written and the % of a project that’s complete, which might be fun (and cool to post on my blog for motivation), but what about due dates and goals for those projects?
I’ve been wasting too much time in the past week or so. That’s not a huge chunk of time and I’m not panicking, but I know where this is headed if I don’t crack the whip on myself. I am relatively caught up on anthology deadlines through the end of July, which means I should be working on novels, novel proposals, some essay ideas, a couple of literary pieces I’m working on, etc. I’m writing, but I’m not putting in the kind of time I would if I had concrete deadlines.
I realize I need to impose deadlines so I’ll get more done, but then it just feels so arbitrary to say, “I’ll finish X by X.” Not to mention, easy enough to put it off. However, if I had an organized system, perhaps I would be more inclined to write the way I write when I’m under a deadline—which is fast. Failing that, I have to create the atmosphere in which I will finish projects instead of working on three different things in one afternoon and only managing to write 2,000 words in the process and not finish any one of them.
I can be an incredibly disciplined writer—but once I slip, I tend to go to the other extreme. I have about eight weeks left of summer (before I have to worry about classes once again) and I would really like to have some serious numbers to show for this “free” time. So, thoughts? Any good organizing programs for Mac? Should I give the counters a try? A giant wall calendar? I like visuals. Better yet, anyone want to offer me a contract?