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Apr 22

S is for Sort your shit out!

…sift through all your shit and get it sorted.

Pronto!

Actually you can take your time with this; I just really wanted to say pronto.

There is never a bad time to stop and sort out your work/hard drive/time, and you will always find it helpful – if you do it properly that is. Good organisation can help you turn a worn out routine, procrastination-filled days, and lack of motivation into a shiny new outlook on life and writing. After a wordy colonic you’ll feel right as rain! Although you may walk with a limp. Now, how do we get this party started? Hmm, I’m gonna need a little help here…cue montage!

*80s inspirational music*

*clips of me working*

*clips of me sorting files*

*brief comedy clip of me asleep with paper stuck to my face*

*more clips of working*

…did it work? Am I a professional yet? Am I famous? Did I make it?

No?

Fuck.

Anyway, if you feel like organising your writing life here’s a few things to try and sort out:

Paper files – how many notebooks and bits of paper are flying around your office/house? How many are hidden down the back of the bookcase, or lost under the sofa? How many scraps of cereal box or cigarette packets with the premise for the next big blockbuster are scattered about your life? Collect them all up and give them a good read. At the very least stick them all in one drawer. But if you have more time, sort them into ideas, stories in progress, character profiles, beat sheets, garbage, etc. And before you ask…yes, you bin the garbage!

Time – are you really making the most of your time? You might not have a strict schedule but if you try and write at the same time every day it will be a lot easier than sneaking time here and there. If you can’t commit to a rigorous timetable then try and set a specific time period or word count to hit each day. Targets may not be your friend at the moment but you’ll be amazed how quickly you adapt. They say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit so give it shot for at least that long. You might surprise yourself.

Hard drive – close Solitaire, clean out your browsing history (you dirty bastard!), and have a good sort of your bits and bobs just like you did with your paper files. The best thing about computers is you can have as many files and folders as you want without taking up any space in your office. Although try to limit the amount of folders or you’ll end up with a labyrinth of files, folders, ideas that you’ll never be able to navigate…even poor Minotaur will be sulking in a corner because he got lost creeping down a dark passage of character names and plot lines.

Brain – This is the tough one, and it’s almost impossible to sort all the shit out in there. I can’t tell you how to clean your brain out (but I’d avoid using an ice cream scoop), you’re the only person that knows what will work for you. Hell, even you might not know that, but hopefully with a bit of perseverance and a lot of elbow grease, you’ll manage it. Once you try some of the above ideas you might find your brain runs a little smoother, your writing life a little simpler. If poor old Mr/Mrs Brain doesn’t have to work as hard, you might even free up some time to try and remember where you left that half eaten Easter egg from the weekend.

Good luck and Godspeed!

You’ll bloody need it!

S

Anything that belongs in the fourth drawer gets burnt…

5 comments

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  1. susan

    I notice how you spelled “organisation” are you British? I notice cause I’m a canuk
    and yeah I’m terrible at time managment
    oh look – a spider on the wall

    1. Steven Chapman

      I’m as British as Stephen Fry and Shakespeare making out in a red telephone box.

  2. susan

    Well I know Hugh Laurie – not personally – is it a threesome with the Doctor also?

  3. Christine Rains (@CRainsWriter)

    Great advice. I could use that filing system from that pic you posted for my desk.

  4. Julianne Snow (@CdnZmbiRytr)

    Very good advice Steve (hoping we’re friendly enough for me to call you Steve at this point…). I spend one day a month getting myself organized and I find it helps me a lot. Haven’t tried the ice cream scoop on the brain yet, but at some point I think my physical organization with help out with the mental organization. Hoping anyways…

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