Writers are notoriously scatty but you’ll find your writing life easier if you can get yourself organised a little. Here’s a few tips.
Sort out a Writing Schedule
Set aside some regular time to write. It doesn’t have to be every day (although every day is best if you can manage it) but it should be at least a couple of times a week. Whether you can spare an hour a day, or two hours twice a week mark that down as your writing time.
Find a Quiet Place to Write
If you’re lucky enough to have your own study to work that’s great, if not the kitchen table, the conservatory, a corner in the lounge, your bedroom, the garden will all do providing you are undisturbed. You could even try a café, it worked for J.K.Rowling.
Have Achievable Aims
Set yourself a weekly aim but keep it achievable. Aiming to write 10,000 words in a week is probably unrealistic if you have a family or day job, aim instead to write character profiles, a plot outline, the first draft of a short story, a poem or a chapter of your novel depending on how many hours you have to spare. Then you’ll have a sense of achievement when you accomplish it. Unrealistic aims leave you feeling disappointed and a failure.
Folders are ideal for organising your work. Use the cardboard envelope folders for print outs of stories, research materials, letters, guidelines etc. Write clearly on the front what’s inside them. Create folders on your computer to keep your digital files in, e.g. short stories, poems, competitions, publishers’ websites.
It looks unprofessional if you approach a publisher or agent twice with the same piece of work (unless they’ve asked for a rewrite) so keep records. Jot down in a spreadsheet or notebook the title of your work, when you submitted it, who to, any contact name, the date of any response and any comments made. Keep a special folder for rejection letters and another one for work sold. As soon as you’re making any money from your writing start keeping receipts for research materials, ink cartridges, stationary, etc as these can all be offset against tax.