Pam Jantz ~
Benjamin Franklin once said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” When it comes to writing, being organized plays a major role in the grand scheme of things. With a lot of notes, books, and internet sites to glean information from, how does one go about organizing it all to help produce a book?
When I was growing up, my mom called me Pamela Perfect. Making my bed and straightening out my dresser drawers was part of my wiring. It made sense to me. Being organized has always benefited me, especially when I had a residential cleaning company. But after my cleaning days had come to an end, organization played a different role in my life when I started writing my first published work, Over the Rainbow, going from a stormy past to a future full of color.
Now, I realize, not everyone is bent toward being organized. Some might be into free expression and can operate quite well in chaos. I’ve been known to get into trouble when I have organized other’s spaces without their permission. But when it comes to writing, give yourself permission to start the process with a little organization.
When I sat down to write Over the Rainbow, it was a huge undertaking, something I had never done before. I didn’t really know where to start, but I knew I had to start by organizing. When you break your work down into small, bite-sized organized pieces, it’s easier to stay motivated. For me, it was as easy as looking at my space, choosing a workable software, and keeping it all simple.
Having an organized space in which to write was important for me. It had to be neat and tidy, be inviting, and create positive energy. An overabundance of clutter, with piles everywhere, only creates negative energy and complicates the creative flow. My office space had to be clean, with minimal decorations distracting me, and have a simple desk with only a few items on it: my laptop, my notes, a pen, and my water bottle. Creating a peaceful dedicated space enables you to relax, helps those creative juices come to the surface, and keeps you focused.
I also know of many people who love to write in their local coffee shops. For me, this would create too many distractions with people shuffling around, the noise level, and the music playing in the background. But, if this is what would breathe creativity into you, do what you need to do for you to produce that amazing book!
Choosing a software, in which to organize your book, is vital as well. It’s important that this software works for you. Scrivener, Google Docs, and Evernote are just a few out there on the market. I organized my book, Over the Rainbow, in a Word document. Microsoft Word has numerous tools within it to help the writer keep organized. One example is a tool that is under the View header. When you click on the Navigation Pane, it allows you to put your book into chapter headings, which helped me to organize my information in chronological order by chapters. I was amazed at how much a Word document can be organized and once you learn the tricks, it’s simple. Google Docs was also a valuable software product I used to edit my book, as it allows you to upload Word files and enable more than one person to see and edit your book.
One Note helped me organize my minutiae of notes for Over the Rainbow. As thoughts would come into my head, or when I was reading something, or even talking with someone, those “ah-ha” moments got typed into the Memos in my phone. I then took those Memos and transferred them into One Note. Here, you can organize different thoughts or themes into different colored tabs. It’s reassuring to know that all your information is in one place.
Keeping it simple is the final key to organization. There are a million different ways to organize your thoughts to put into a book. But if the tools to help you get organized aren’t simple for you, then you’re likely to just feel even more overwhelmed. Writing Over the Rainbow in a Word document proved to be the easiest, simplest way for me to organize my thoughts and finish my book well.
Whatever system you use has to be simple for you so that you can curb feelings of frustration when it comes time to putting the pieces of the puzzle together. That was how I viewed much of writing my book— as gathering pieces and putting them into an organized, flowing fashion. In fact, I would even print out pages of notes like puzzle pieces, put them on the floor, and organize them the way I felt they flowed. I’m a visual person, so it helped me to see and move the pieces of Over the Rainbow around accordingly.
Organized thoughts save a great deal of time and frustration, having all the information at your fingertips when you need it. Looking at your space, and what feels right for you, choosing a software product that is not intimidating and doesn’t have a huge learning curve, and keeping things simple makes writing a dream! And I would much rather spend a bit of time organizing up front, so I have more time to do what’s important…write!
— Pam Jantz
Pam Jantz is an author and speaker who is passionate about sharing her story to encourage those who struggle with emotional dysfunction, who strive to find happiness, and who long to have freedom in their lives. Her book, “Over the Rainbow”, has come out of a personal experience, sharing her story in an honest and vulnerable way, to inspire and bring hope to others that life doesn’t have to stay the same but can be improved through personal healing.