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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Getting Organized

by Dena Dyer

If you have a resolution to "get organized" with your writing, here are a few tips that have worked for me:

1. First, know your organizing personality. For example, don’t try to use notebooks if you’re not a notebook person. If you love doing everything paperless, go paperless. Don’t try and fit yourself into someone else’s mode.

2. Keeping number one in mind, set up a system which you’ll want to work with. If you love bright colors, use them in your file folders. Why spend so much time on something if you’re going to dread it? Play your favorite CD’s when you’re going through receipts—or watch a funny movie while you’re organizing your calendar and notebook.

3. “Backwards plan.” My hubby learned this tip in a Church Administration class at seminary, and he passed it on to me. It’s simple but VERY effective. You take a deadline (or set one for yourself) and put that on your calendar. Then you take all the tasks you’ll need to complete in order to meet the deadline—interviews, outlining, writing a rough draft, revising—and decide how much time you’ll likely need to complete them. Then you plan backwards, and set yourself mini-deadlines to meet. This tip has saved my sanity—and my family life—on several occasions. I used to wait until the last minute to write, but things came up, and I ended up missing several deadlines and having to get extensions. It wasn’t professional—and it stressed me out. I now swear by backwards planning!

4. Set aside a few minutes of each writing session to delete old material, backup files, tame paper piles, and throw out trash. You’ll be glad you did!

If you'd like more info on becoming organized this year, check out my “Organized Writer” online class at

Happy 2007!!!

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