“I really must get organized.” says Sammy D. every day of the week
I fear that will be my epitaph.
Actually, I’m Capricorn-esque Organized. Came out of the womb with a big ‘O’ on my forehead.
Nothing falls through the cracks. Taxes filed, library books returned, work projects completed? I ‘git ‘er done’ ahead of time. Keys, insurance policy, ID from college, photo from 1955? I can put my hands on it within five minutes.
But my blogging mind and blogging-related paper piles?
Utter organizational failure.
I am a paper person and information hoarder: scribbling notes, compiling lists, snipping magazines, printing online articles – a pen and scissors are my BFFs.
We bloggers discuss the difficulty some incur channeling our thoughts into cohesively constructed posts. I can’t tackle that challenge until I stop blocking myself by searching the same piles repeatedly.
Thus my 3-step mission:
- Categorize note taking and list making
- Create file/purge system for articles
- Design mapping schematic for constructing blog posts
After researching multiple ‘official’ note-taking processes, tools and apps – none of which appealed – I created seven categorized notebooks for recording and retrieving information.
My notebook of choice is the standard 8 ½” X 11” lined, spiral. It’s the right size, right price, flexible to modify, and comfortable to use – like a pair of broken-in shoes.
In each notebook, I reserve the first 10 pages for Index. I number the remaining pages in the top right corner and complete the Index as I use the pages.
When I begin a page, I ‘guesstimate’ how many pages I should reserve depending on whether I’m starting a list, recording notes or writing a draft. (It’s a work in progress; ask me about a specific notebook if you have questions!)
- Info on bloggers I follow – URLs, locales, interests, notes on our interactions. Enhances my blogging relationships.
- Writing craft URLs; books recommended by writers; my notes on writing craft tips; info for online classes
Visits and Explorations to Consider:
- Upcoming calendar-specific or ongoing events, exhibits and activities
- Shops, buildings, trails, neighborhoods, parks, towns
- I handwrite a draft only after I have composed it in my head. Composing in my head is hard. So is trying to write it on paper without first doing so in my head. Hence my decision to experiment with mapping schematics (future post)
- Future draft material I need to remove from current brain clutter.
- Includes aspects of previously published posts I forgot to include or couldn’t rhythmically incorporate; musings about trends, technology or society; interesting websites or triggers from reading other blogs.
- Flash thoughts or questions occurring out-of-context. Again – get it on paper out of my head. I might research, ponder or simply cross them out at year end
- Prompts, words I like, words I’ve never heard, active verbs, foreign phrases, ditties, clichés, slang, mis-used words, made-up words
In addition to seven notebooks, I’ve used this journal for years:
Quote Book with a beautiful antique Parisian-style cover and handmade paper pages. Along with the typical quotes, I record quotes from you or me – phrases from posts or comments that resonate (with proper attribution, of course).
One month after Notebook Launch, I’m very happy with my system.
I’ve gained significantly more focused bandwidth for composing mental drafts by using separate notebooks for Drafts, Snippets, Thoughts and Words.
Better yet, I use the Indexes to quickly retrieve previously recorded information.
What’s next now that I’ve organized my extensive note-taking?
A File/Purge System for my articles-hoarder-habit.
I know …
It’s called Read Once to Recycle Bin.