Writing Journal 59: How to Get Organized

Writing Journal 59: How to Get Organized

My writing journal for Friday, October 10, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another good session on the mystery novel this morning. I can’t believe my luck. I managed 2,700 words, so it’s zooming along like an express train. As I said yesterday, I’m trying not to get too excited. If the express train derails, I need to be prepared to deal with that too.

Rather than going on to nonfiction, I dealt with email. Lots of messages, so I spend some time on those. Then Honey’s breakfast. I ate my own breakfast while dealing with the email surge.

Next, the two nonfiction books I’m ghostwriting. With 2,000 words done, I feel good about the project. It’s a little behind, and I’ll try to catch up on it tonight.

Next, my walk. It’s a bright, sunny morning, with a hint of coolness in the air. I love spring, it’s my favorite time of the year. You can tell that summer’s coming however.

After my walk, I chat to a couple of writers who are interested in the content marketing project. I’d like to get three writers onto this, but one writer convinces me that she’ll make this her priority project, and will get the material to me next week.

Lunch out, thank heavens. I enjoy our Friday lunches, with hummingbird cake. After I lunch, I need to stop in at the library to dive into databases again for a client’s project.:-)

Back again…

My coaching clients tend to have challenges with organization, so let’s look at that.

How to get organized

Organization is a challenge for everyone, especially for creative business people. You’ve got work/ client interactions to track and phone calls and emails to which you need to respond; you’ve got creative materials, and products you’re in the middle of creating; archives; website and blog content; tasks and projects… It never stops. How do you keep everything organized?

Start by deciding whether your creative soul embraces clutter, or abhors it. I like clutter. Other creatives can’t work in cluttered spaces. To each his own. Either way, you need to organize your materials so that you know where everything is. You need space for your archived material, for current project materials, as well as an “idea station” where you can just play around.

It’s my dream to not only have one room for my library, but also another room to use as a creative studio, with whiteboards on at least two walls. One of these days. :-)

When you consider organization, your primary aim is to be able to lay your hands on anything you need within 30 seconds or less.

Can you do that?

Aim for less paper: use Evernote to manage the paper blizzard

Sadly, the paperless office is pretty much a myth. Yes, companies are forgoing paper, and are sending digital invoices, but there’s still lots of paper. In my office, I have many notebooks I need to keep organized, as well as reference materials for my own, and clients’ businesses.

I use Evernote as a digital filing cabinet as much as I can. I snap photos of my corkboard and whiteboards, as well as journal pages, and pages I use to make notes, and diagram websites, books, and content. Evernote’s perfect, because I can erase my whiteboard, and still call the material up from Evernote within a moment or two.

Everything that’s paper, from contracts to business cards, gets snapped into Evernote. That means I can file away “legal” paper, like contracts, but can call them up with a click or two in Evernote, rather than hunting through an archives box.

It’s possible to get organized — not perfectly — any system you create needs to be updated and refined, but with a little effort, you can relax, knowing that you’re sufficiently organized to be able to work without stress, and create, too.

Friday afternoon review

It’s Friday, so that means blogging, reviewing client projects, and creating client reports.

That takes a couple of hours, and then there’s some housekeeping admin chores.

With that done, it’s another writing week over. I’ll need to catch up with my schedule on the weekend — it’s been a busy and satisfying week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 54: Sunday Planning

Writing Journal 54: Sunday Planning

My writing journal for Sunday, October 5, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I usually get up at five in the morning, to write. Today, I didn’t get up until six. Or at least I thought it was six. It was seven, thanks to daylight saving. (Sigh.) Usually, I’m well aware of the date the clocks move forward; this time I missed it. Not to worry.

So, I decided to give the mystery novel a pass this morning. I wrote memos for yesterday’s coaching students, and sent them the links to their MP3 files. I love coaching; it’s wonderful to give students a new perspective on what they’re doing, to inspire and motivate them.

I fix Honey’s breakfast, and my own. Since there are lots of student exercises and short stories to review today, I read them while I eat my toast. I scribble a few notes for Julia, so she can write up the feedback for the exercises.

After a short walk, I come back and do more on the company history. The words won’t come; it’s a real hassle. You get days like this; there’s not much you can do. So I create a couple of cluster diagrams to sum up the material for the next couple of chapters. I’ll need to speak to the client again, so I create a reminder so that Julia can organize it.

It’s time to head out for my Sunday commitments. When I get back, I’ll need to focus on clients’ blogs, as well as my own. I’m creating a new website/ blog of a my own, so I need to map out a program of content for that, too.


Sunday Planning

Back again. It’s late afternoon, and time to plan the week’s projects, and blog posts for clients. I checked my own blogs last night, and have enough blog posts lined up for them. Nevertheless, I create several more draft posts.

Most of my planning happens in Evernote, as we looked at yesterday. I’ve created a “client blogging” notebook for clients’ blogs.

For some clients, where I need to chase up lots of information, I create a shared Evernote notebook. That means that the client can dump images and information into the shared notebook, so they’re ready for me to use. If you’re not familiar with shared notebooks, here’s some information on them.

Evernote has a a limit of 250 notebooks, so I delete shared notebooks when a project’s done. I like to keep my note count down, too. Theoretically, you can have up to 100K notes in a Premium account, and 500K notes in a Business account. In practice, I like to keep the note count under 10,000. Occasionally I’ve had to restore an account, and it can take a long time with many thousands of notes.

I brainstorm blog post ideas in Evernote, then write blog posts directly into WordPress’s editor, via Markdown. Over the years, I’ve looked at many different desktop editors. However, it’s very hard to get the SEO right outside the WordPress editor. And, I blog for lots of blogs, which inevitably leads to the desktop editor choking, sooner or later.

When I draft directly into WordPress, I can upload media in advance, so that images and PDFs are ready to insert into posts in the draft stage.

Upcoming programs

With the blog planning, and other scheduling done, I look at our upcoming programs. There’s a couple I need to complete, so I do some work on those.

Finally, it’s time to close things down for the day. Everything’s ready for the coming week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 53: Evernote for Everything

Writing Journal 53: Evernote for Everything

My writing journal for Saturday, October 4, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

It’s the weekend. Saturday and Sunday are both short writing days for me. I try to get something done on longer projects, as well as winding up the short projects I’ve been working on during the week.

As usual, I begin the day with fiction.

The client for whom I’m writing the mystery got back to me; he’s happy about my choice of sleuth. Unfortunately, I’m not. I woke up this morning feeling distinctly uninspired. I ended up just reading through the material I created, and making some notes. I’ve no idea why I was pleased with the sleuth yesterday, and not today. If I don’t get a better idea, I’ll go with what I have.

I hope that is “meh” feeling will pass. No publishable words, just notes. I don’t count those in my daily word counts.

Onward to nonfiction: the company history; I manage 1,800 words, and do a quick reread of a couple of chapters.

Breakfast. First breakfast for Honey, and then my own, while reading email. I’m still a little behind, so I spend a couple of timer sessions responding to students.

Time for my walk. It’s supposed to be 27 Celsius today; that’s 80 degrees in Fahrenheit. Lots of birds around, mainly Eastern Rosellas.

Back from my walk. I need to prepare for a couple of coaching calls late this afternoon.

Then it’s time for my Saturday errands.

Back again. Just a few minutes until the two coaching calls.

Once they’re done, it’s late, so Saturday is done too.

Evernote for Everything

A reader ask about Evernote for writing. When I say for “everything” that’s what I mean. I use it for writing, of course. I have a Drafts notebook, which contains all my draft ideas, draft writing, and writing for client projects. I can work on projects anywhere. Since I write in Markdown, HTML is just a copy and paste away, as is MS Doc, and PDF.

Evernote would be a perfect writing environment if there were a visible word count. As things stand you have to open a note’s information panel to check the number of words.

Try it yourself, if you like to have everything you’re working on in reach, no matter where you are. I love Evernote; I’ve used it since 2009. The more you use it, the better it becomes. You can start a note, and Evernote will show you related notes. This can be amazing; it surfaces material you’ve long forgotten.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 28: Copywriting, Fiction, and Apps

Writing Journal 28: Copywriting, Fiction, and Apps

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 9, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I didn’t get to my novella last night; I spent the evening reviewing students’ stories, then chatted with two students about their writing. It was huge fun, but I felt guilty for not working on the novella.

So, with all the guilt, I put my head down and WROTE this morning. I managed 2,800 words. With any luck at all, and with a couple of long sessions, I should manage to complete the novella by early next week.

Amazingly, the nonfiction book flowed well too — 1,600 words. I received responses to some research queries I sent the client. I’ll add that material in the next draft.

Honey’s arthritis was bad this morning, but it’s supposed to be a warm day, so that should help. The cold weather’s been hard on her. She had breakfast while I burned through email. It was reasonably light this morning. I made notes for Julia to respond to important messages.

The new-product website

I need to get this Web content done. Julia managed to schedule a couple of calls to subject matter experts for this morning, so that’s great. If we can get the research out of the way, I should be able to complete the content within the next couple of days. I’ll be busy with the calls this morning, so I had to move the work on the pitch presentation to this afternoon.

The perils of beta software…

Eeeek! I should know better. I installed the latest beta of Evernote as soon as Evernote told me it was available. Horrors… it decided that it needed to migrate my notes to the latest version. Judging by the progress bar, the migration looked as if it would take HOURS. Thankfully, it only took 15 minutes — just long enough for me to panic. :-) Note to self — install software at the end of the working day.

I wrap up email, and head out for my walk.

I’m back, and the phone calls are done, so I need to dive into the product launch website.

Lunch at my computer today, then the pitch presentation.

Pitch presentation

I’ve done the research, so I create a couple of cluster diagrams to develop some inspiration. I’ve got a great tagline, and theme. This means I can move right ahead on it.

Mid-afternoon, it’s time for email again, and to catch up on phone calls.

Then, some reading. But…

Newsreader software: the pain…

I tried to open ReadKit; no luck. Ditto with Reeder. (Sigh). I need a newsreader which isn’t a royal pain; I’ve tried various apps since Google Reader died last year. Feedly’s good, but messy to read in a browser.

So I downloaded Leaf (Mac.) So far, so good. I like the minimalist interface. Time will tell.

I’ve just checked the list of non-urgent emails, and they’re mounting up. Please be patient if you don’t get a response immediately.

Slow on email, sorry

If you’ve sent me a message, please be aware that I’m running some 72 hours behind on non-urgent email. If you’re a client, or a student, and neither Julia nor I have replied to you within 12 hours, please resend the message. We’re using a combo of Gmail, Mac Mail, and Mailbox. A message went missing on the weekend, so if you need a response quickly, please resend your message, or call.

And we’re at the end of the working day. After the daily review, I tot up my word counts. Not overly impressive, but I’m pleased.

Tonight, I’m reading the Christmas short stories I’ve done so far. I’m aiming for 25, for December 25. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.