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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

IWSG: Organization Or WTF Is That?

Today is the first Wednesday of the month and it time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, an amazing group started by the superhero to writers and bloggers everywhere, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Here we air our fears, insecurities, doubts, etc. while offering encouragement and a friendly ear to our fellow writers.

This time I am talking about getting organized, which I am clearly not. Say the word to me and I'm like WTF? The truth is organization is a process my brain just can't seem to grasp unless I am at my day job. I can't think without a mess around me outside the office. I have clutter everywhere. The only thing remotely organized about me are my research notes.  I said research, not plot notes. Did I mention I am a total pantser who wouldn't know how to do a plot outline to save my life? I try and try, yet I end up a dismal failure. It must be the Sagittarius in me, contrary to the core. I start an outline, then go in precisely the opposite direction. Methinks I should write an outline in full just so that I can do the opposite of what I wrote.

How do you all organize your writing? I start thinking scene cards and I get the chills. And I have to get organized somehow because what happens is I write only when I am inspired to, so there are days that go by with nothing. Then I pull all nighters when my deadlines get closer. Can't do business like that. My plotter friends all say that keeping story/plot notes, scene cards, etc. all keep them thinking about their stories and they write every day. Is it the same for you? I sure would love to be able to write more than I do. My muse is such an elusive bitch sometimes I can't always pin her down. I should hog tie her, but she whacks me on the head, then disappears.

HELP!!!!

19 comments:

  1. 1st commenter. Awesome. That never happens. I think part of the excitement of writing for me comes from the spontaneous journey I take my characters on. Usually I plan out the end point, where I want my characters to end up. Then I jot down major plot points as I think of them (that always end up evolving and changing). Finally, I let my creativity run with the idea. I think being too organized can sometimes hinder the creative process.

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  2. Well, I think you've seen the pictures of my storyboard but despite how organized that looks, I'm still pretty much a pantser. Everything that ends up on my timeline calendar is stuff that's already happened.

    I've had my fair share of muse problems. I even try bribing her with chocolate and still... nothing.

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  3. I'm the same as you - I can only write when the muse strikes. I embrace it, because I know I wouldn't be able to work any other way. I always make sure I've got another, editing project in reserve that doesn't require my muse. I know that doesn't answer your question, but I'll come back to read what other people say.

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  4. Plot boards and all that scare me, Melissa! I just write out a basic outline, one similar to Cliff Notes.
    I'd started to wonder if I could do another book since I took so long off in between projects. But now I'm on a roll with the next one. Just had to wait for the right time.

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  5. Looking for the same advice. My best friend is my notebooks a big one and a little one that I can carry around with me and then transfer the notes to the big one later. Also highlighter pens...LOL! I have only a basic plot and a main character and then my ideas and new characters come along and adapt during the writing process.

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  6. I didn't used to plot but after ending up in a great big steaming mess, I've started to plot, plot, plot.

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  7. I'll have to look up what "pantser" means but in the meantime, I identify with the disorganization plight. One friend suggested carrying around index cards for plot and character ideas whenever they come to me. Great idea, but this involves first buying a bigger purse, another source of stress for me. Then again, so would buying a new notebook. I don't buy a new notebook, because I have plenty of other notebooks lying around, most purchased with the specific intent of being used to carry with me AT ALL TIMES should I get a brilliant idea...

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  8. I'm extremely organized, and always know what should be!

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  9. Do we have the same muse, Melissa? Or maybe our elusive bitches are twins. I don't believe in expelling formulas for how to do it (i.e., anything) right. Girlfriend, you've published how many books? What you're doing IS WORKING. Sometimes we just need chaos to feel grounded, ironically. And when I'm my most organized self, I'm also my least creative self. I could go on. Mainly, I just want to say you're awesome. Keep doing what you're doing. One of these days we'll go out for drinks. It'd be a blast.

    xoRobyn
    xoRobyn

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  10. I was very organized with my memoir, but writing a novel - a whole different ball of wax. It's coming in fits and starts and it's driving me nuts.
    Karen

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  11. As always, tremendous advice, Melissa! Organization is a compulsion for me. It's one of those traits that's both a blessing and curse. But the benefits, as you astutely contend, far outweigh the negatives.

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  12. I'm not organized - much. And I use deadlines as a muse. *sigh*

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  13. I have stacks of papers with handwritten notes on them. In short, I'm a mess.
    One of my crit partners told me she uses OneNote which keeps everything organized. I haven't tried it though.

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  14. Melissa, don't knock it. Sometimes clutter can spark imagination.
    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

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  15. Melissa, I am afraid that I write in waves. I can sit and write for hours, it literally just pours out and then at other times I just don't get around to it. But in those times my mind is full of ideas churning to be written!

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  16. By the way I have posted the 7x7 award. Once again, thank you for passing it on to me.

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  17. I'm strange at blogging. I sometimes start 2-3 reviews on one day, and finish them many days later. Other reviews are done in 1-2 hours.

    oh btw, I have a rate-o-meter in my head which goes up and down while watching a movie, e.g. when a movies starts out pretty shitty, the rate-o-meter goes "Meh, 3/10".
    Then suddenly a good scene - "Oh! 6/10!" etc. etc. :-D

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  18. I carry around a composition book with me when I can and I find if I get a good idea and write it down in the book, I automatically start brainstorming and get inspired to write. I'm inconsistent, but it's never because my story isn't floating around in my head. I have trouble getting myself to go down into my office, and I love my office. No idea how to improve that. I try and try to make it a daily routine, but something always gets in the way of that. Ugh.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, road tripping through the #atozchallenge participants!

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  19. I feel your pain. Organization isn't always a good thing--when I outline too much, I lose all steam for my plot. After all, kind of takes the fun out of writing if there isn't any wiggle room. However, what's helped me is giving myself the barebones of an outline. I'll give vague titles for each scene to come, like "Kate gets attacked," and then work from there. That way, I have freedom to go anywhere with the scene (who attacks her? Her mother? Her dog? A zombie? Does she live? Does she kill them?), but I at least know what direction I want to take so I'm not face-to-face with a complete white page. But don't take my advice--you're the published one and I'm the one who can't finish a story to save her life. Maybe I should try a little LESS outlining!

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