The week (and year) started well, working on the second novel in my fantasy trilogy, and adding the final polish to a couple short stories in preparation to market.
The first book of the trilogy, The Returning, which I’ve mentioned a few times, is currently with my writing friend, James, who has the task of critiquing the 3rd quarter of the 125,000-word tale. I am also critiquing his novel, and as I’ve written before, the process is an enlightening experience.
I stopped working on the novel (and any short stories) Monday evening. Halting my work was a conscious decision.
The Holiday Season and New Year had nothing to do with not writing (though there were extra events and happenings), nor was my decision caused by the mythical Writer’s Block, or even that the current novel project hit the dreaded lagging middle: I stopped writing to get organized.
The need to organize began innocently enough. I decided that in 2018 the Knights of Writ will include more to assist readers during their writing journey. I determined links to a variety of writing sources (agents and editors, magazines seeking stories, grammar assistance, and anything else to do with the craft) would be an invaluable addition. The problem was my bookmarks were a mess.
Whenever I see an article, blog post, or news story that catches my interest, I bookmark it with the intention of revisiting and studying the ideas and platitudes at a later time. Several folders are in my Bookmarks drop-down menu (Writing, History, Odd-Ball News Stories, etc.), and each have sub-folders to break the topics further. Disarrayed is how to best describe the bookmark menagerie.
Tuesday I tackled the History folder as practice—hundreds of places to visit awaited me. After a moment of panic at the sheer volume, I decided to organize the sub-folders by time reference (Ancient, Bronze Age, Medieval, etc.), areas and world civilizations (Greek, Egypt, Roman), or generalized topic (Science, Timelines, Miscellaneous, etc.) and shifted the individual bookmarks into the appropriate folders.
Some did not immediately offer a particular placement; I followed the link, quickly perused the content, and determined where it belonged. There were links that did not work or were old or were wrong and no longer interested me—those I discarded. Bye-bye.
Wednesday I wrestled with my largest inventory and the reason I chose this course of action—the Writing folder.
I bookmark a great many writing sites (many are also in my email folders, but that’s for another day). This is where the real work began.
I determined my folders: Agents and Publishers, Novel and Short Story helps (How-To’s), Reading, Markets, Writing Quotes (a new writer quote will accompany blog posts beginning in 2018 as well), General Writing, Organizations, Grammar, Blogs, and a few other less specific ones.
Each bookmark was given a home: special ones were moved to the top, others fell to the bottom. I added a few sub-sub-folders, which became my next job—as I said, I’m organizing; having the bookmarks entirely random in a general folder does not satisfy the task goal.
I worked most of Thursday, and Friday finally finished the Writing bookmark remapping—it was tedious work, but necessary. Months ago I did the same with all my Word doc writing files—it was also tedious.
What did I learn, and what can you learn from getting organized?
- Organization speeds up accomplishment, and adds confidence you can find what you need when you finish the allotted writing time. The last thing you want to do when writing is stop the flow to find some minutiae clarification; it’s always better to do it after writing. Make a quick note and come back later.
- It’s necessary to move bookmarks to their designated area promptly after saving it in the first place—seconds at the beginning over thousands of instances would have saved me hours and hours of organization this past week.
As I’ve written before, research is critical in all aspects of writing, and having the information location readily available saves time, effort, and frustration. In the future, locating the necessary research will be far easier.
I also reacquainted myself with a few interesting forgotten topics, and used them to make notes on new ideas and plans.
New for 2018 at Knights of Writ
Links to worthy writing sites
Writing Quotes, because we all need a little inspiration
Offers are not mine in most cases, but those of value as I search the internet and my in-box. Last year I received an offer from Writer’s Digest for a deeply discounted subscription of only $8 a year (10 issues, currently $19.99 or about $40 at the newsstand) with an offer to extend another year for $8, which I did.
I should have shared the offer, but neglected to in a timely manner. This year, should an offer brighten my door, I’ll let you know. There could be several, and not all will appeal to everybody—they don’t all appeal to me, for sure—but I’ll let you make those decisions.
There will be other additions as the year progresses, and I hope they will be of benefit in your growth to become a better fiction writer.
Below are this week’s links and a writing quote.
See you on the next page,
“Every hour you spend writing is an hour spent not fretting about your writing.” Dennis Palumbo
Links: Having learned a great deal through the critique process, I’ll start 2018 with a list of critique groups. Read how each operates and see if any appeal to you. I have participated in the first one, though it has been awhile; at the time I found the help valuable. So, wrap yourself in what James Scott Bell calls the Rhino Skin and dive right in, and remember, growth hurts sometimes.