Getting Organized. Day 21. Phase two.

Yesterday I found a little note book full of short stories I wrote a few years ago.

The day before I found ten purple document wallets in a box, each with a label such as; “poetry”,” notes for ‘Berthe’ story”, “notes for ‘Garden’ short story”… etc. Each contained handwritten notes on paper, backs of envelopes, space on leaflets; anything I could get my hands on, I guess.  (I was more prolific in my late teens and early twenties than I realized!)  This was obviously an earlier attempt to get organized which I boxed up and abandoned.

It was not a bad idea though.  My current plan of typing everything up and organizing into folders on my new USB stick is still working, but it means spending more time cataloging  and sorting old material than working on completing something.  By sorting my handwritten notes into clearly labelled purple document wallets first, it means I can type up all the notes from one project at a time, thus allowing me to finish something, and stay on top of my ‘getting organized’ project.

There were a few short stories in my small notebook, most of them completed in a rough draft.  I picked one and typed it up yesterday and made a few changes.  It just needs a few more re-writes before I’ll be happy with it, but it’s well on its way to being a finished story.  Finally.

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Finding Time to Read

Like lots of people, I’ve always got a book on the go. But my problem is that I always seem to read several books at the same time. This is very disruptive to each story and it can get confusing. The most confusing time was when I was reading Dracula on my lunch breaks in work and The Historian at home (also about Dracula). Reading a book just on lunch breaks during the week means it takes a long time to finish. If it starts getting un-put-down-able I will take it home; which then puts my ‘at home’ book on hold.

Why don’t I just read one book and take it the work with me? I think the reason goes back to the days when I didn’t have a car. I enjoy walking so rather than take a bus I walked to work, so the less I had to carry, the better. That’s why my locker in work was stocked up with food and books to save me carrying them every day. Good plan – then. Now I drive to work but my reading habits remain the same (thankfully my eating habits have improved!). In fact my reading habit has become worse. I now have a ‘car book’: A book that lives in the car for when the person I’m picking up from work (boyfriend) isn’t ready and I’m waiting in the car. I sometimes have two books for home; a heavy reading for downstairs when I’m alert and my brain is working, and a lighter one for reading in bed. I can add yet more to this. If I’m going on a long coach journey by myself I take an audio book (for planes and trains I prefer to read a print copy). That’s potentially four books at any one time. It’s no wonder it takes me an age to finish reading any one book.

This has to stop, hasn’t it?

So today I took my bedtime book to work (sorry H.G. Wells, you’ll have to wait). And I will also read this books if I’m reading downstairs (sorry too, Emotional Intelligence, you will have to wait for a weekend when I can give you more attention). James Thurber I will keep in my car for now. There will for certain be times where I will be stuck in my car waiting for boyfriend to call it a day and let me drive him home. I’ll probably have my reading book with me – that’s the plan. But if for some reason I don’t, Thurber’s hilarious short stories are short enough to keep me occupied until my car can start moving.

The first time I tried to become the type of person that carries the same book with me, it didn’t work out too well. I started with Slaughter-house 5 because it was small enough to carry in my bag. For that fact alone Slaughter-house 5 became my ‘bag book’ – a book only to be read when I find myself without my regular book, as this book will always be with me (as long as I have my bag!).  But this time it will work.  What can possibly go wrong?  Watch this space…

Getting Organized day 10

For over a week I have been transferring files and typing up notes, a little each day.  I am still a long way away from finishing.  I am sticking to the plan by typing up any notes I made earlier that day, before moving on to attempting those long forgotten notes that amount to years and years of writing.  I have emailed myself most of the work that I’d done on my phone and tranferred that onto my stick.  The  top drawer of my bedside table is full of notes I wrote just before going to sleep, or first thing after waking up (usually detailing a strange dream).  I have typed up about half of these now, but I know there is still a bag that is stuffed with paper with ideas from years ago that I still want to develop.  Not to mention the locked metal box on top  my wardrobe, and an envelope in another drawer, and forgotten bits of paper in handbags and coat pockets.   This is going to be one long job, but I’m looking forward to the day all my writing is together so I can work on completing something. Once that happens all this will be worth it. 😉

Getting organized. Day one

Today I have decided to finally get all my writing together.  I have lots of little ‘bits’ here and there, but hardly any finished pieces.  Part of the problem is that I’ll start writing something and save it to USB memory stick in a clearly labelled folder, then I’ll try to finish it when I don’t have that stick so I’ll save it on a different one, or save it to documents.  I might have another idea for the same project when I’m out and about so I’ll save it on my phone.  Sometimes I’ll think of more to add to it when I’m in work or when I’ve just woken up so I’ll grab a bit of paper and jot it down.  I like to do research when I’m in the middle of a story, to ensure I’m getting all my facts straight.  When making notes from books, journals or online I quite often like to use OneNote.  I’m hard on myself for not finishing work that I’ve started, and worked so hard on; but the real problem is that I don’t put everything together.  I’m sure I do have ‘almost finished’ pieces – the components of which have just never met each other.

This is going to change…

First, I bought (another) 16GB USB stick. Then I put it on my keyring so I’ll always  have it to hand.  Next, I will have to add any notes I made on paper, phone, OneNote etc. to my stick, THE SAME DAY.  In the meantime I will be transferring everything I’ve done so far onto this new shiny stick.  I’m already organized within all my memory sticks: I have folders within folder, categories and sub-categories, clear headings, research separated from original work, every draft numbered etc.  The hard part will be the transferring.  Word docs and emails will be easy.  But typing up my scribbled notes  – that will be time consuming…