Part of becoming an author is knowing how to organise yourself.
Some people prefer to work in a cluttered environment with books and papers stacked one upon the other with a drawer full of stationary items they’ll never use, others prefer papers stacked neatly with pens poking out of a pot in one spot. While some prefer to write any time of the day or night, as the imagination works, others prefer to allocate a particular time-frame and feel unable to work outside those allotted hours.
Either way, you will need to sort yourself into some kind of routine that will help you focus.
Organising your time is the most important aspect of being able to focus.
If you know what time of the day suits you – shade that section in your diary and focus. Even if it is for only 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, you could write three paragraphs. If you wrote 6 paragraphs in 15 minutes a day, in 3 months you would have written a 160-page book! Of course, you can aim for more or less.
Ideas enter into an author’s mind at any moment of the day, so to organise yourself you need your preferred equipment to hand to capture those thoughts when they come. You may prefer to have one of the following to hand:
- a note pad or book
- trustworthy pen
- digital tape recorder
- pocket camera
- laptop or a desk PC
You will need these things to help you capture whatever ideas come into your head at the moment they do. The reason you need to capture them in the moment they appear is that they have a tendency to never return.
Idea, outline, and construction
To begin your book you need an idea. In fact, a whole host of ideas and a way to capture them.
The first way you normally do this is to put all your ideas down onto the paper, without worrying about the writing itself. You probably make notes. Hundreds of them on yellow stickies which are stuck to the fridge, the TV, the notice board, the diary, the calendar. In fact, everywhere there’s a blank space.
Fact or Fiction – persistence, entertaining, signposts Read through the relevant sections above to see where I’ve used my three words. Since writing those words you’ve just read, I’ve weaved in other words, so many in fact they’ve probably gotten lost in the 700+ embedded around them.
These are simply to get you started. If you find metaphors help, it’s like building a house by hand, brick by brick. You know you can’t begin to build it without laying the foundations first. Then you need to build the structure then you need to fill in the details. Without organising yourself, you won’t be able to achieve what you set out to do, write.
Here’s a method to help you capture those ideas that come to you:
- Write a list of topics onto postcards
- Arrange the postcards over a large table or on the floor and you’ll begin to see an order
- Once you do, organise them into that order and, again, type this order into your PC
- Under each of those headings, type three words on the same topic
- When you return to each heading, you’ll use each one of those three words in each paragraph.
- On your postcards, create headings – headings are the signposts.
Each signpost leads the reader on the journey through the book you’ve created.
Get a special notebook or a digital recorder. Put your notes and thoughts in or on those. Once you have your notes, in a special place make it a habit to spare at least an hour a day typing them up.