Inspiration Station: How To Organize Your Novels

How To Organize Your Writing

If you’re like me, you have many novel ideas swirling around in your head. These ideas are written in various Word documents on the computer saved to your flash drive, Dropbox, Google, e-mail, desktop, etc. They’re written in so many different notebooks that it’s hard to keep track. Or you just have loose papers all over the place with notes scribbled on them.

To start 2016 off right, I want to organize everything I have when it comes to my writing.

My reasons for doing this?

1. To have a neater work space. I have four areas where I have notebooks and file folders of novels and notes. That’s not including what’s on my computer. This way, I’ll know where everything is.

2. To prioritize my writing. I have to go through all the ideas I have and check off which ones I like best. Some novels I’ll write eventually, others I may never get to. Some will be published, some will be written but never see the light of day.

With that being said, here are five ways to organize your writing.

Organize Your Writing1. File Folders

I have a filing cabinet in the corner of my office filled with too many file folders to count. Each folder is its own novel and includes all the information on the novel such as summary, plot notes, lists of characters, etc.

It also includes my progress on the novel such as the date when I started it and date I finished it. Start edit, end edit dates, as well as page count, word count, chapter count, etc.

2. Accordion Folders

Most accordion folders have seven pockets or 13. I always buy the 13-pocket ones. When a novel is completed, I print it out and put it in the accordion folder because 300 or so pages of paper is just too thick to put in a file folder.

This is great as you edit because you can put each draft in a different pocket. Plus, the file folders fit perfectly in the pockets. So you can have all the information for one novel in one place.

3. Utilize Shelf Space

I have built-in shelves to the walls in my office. I have two next to my desk where I put notebooks. There are two more shelves in the closet where I keep even more notebooks.

I also have bins filled with notebooks. I have no idea where all these notebooks came from, but they’ll all get used up eventually I’m sure.

4. Keep Lists

I have a list of all my novel ideas. Series are color-coded and the list is broken up into genre categories. It’s a great way to keep all your ideas together. I also try to remember to write small summaries for each idea, too. I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve had that turned out just to be a cool title because I couldn’t remember the idea.

Organize Your Writing5. Keep Your Info Together

I have two eight-pocket folders. I keep various information in each pocket such as characters and names, lists of agents, publishers, and self-publishers, rejections, awards, etc. It’s great to have many resources available right at your fingertips.


How do you organize your writing ideas?

11 thoughts on “Inspiration Station: How To Organize Your Novels

  1. Thank you for sharing these very useful tips, I put everything in excercises book :), for example I have one ‘Inspiration blog carnet’, another one for ‘poetry’, another one only for passwords, I try to keep the notebooks the more organised as I can.

  2. Oh gosh. I am the most unorganized person. I have a single binder filled with EVERYTHING. I’m scared of it…but it’s also like history. There’s stuff in there from when I was in junior high. I smile when I look at my progress.

    I recently broke down and downloaded novel writing software. It stores my characters and settings… Helps me keep chapter/plot ideas straight. Now, this works only for individual projects, so I keep a single journal for my miscellaneous ideas.

  3. Terrific ideas! I only have two novels floating in my head and they each have a binder. I keep printing each edited version and putting it in there. I have notes also in it. It is funny to read the very first version. 🙂

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