I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly organized person, but now that I know how much time and effort goes into planning, writing, revising, and promoting a book, I realize that old me had NO idea what real organization meant. I’m happy to report that the organizational techniques I’ve developed in writing have started helping me in other parts of my life ,too.
BIG NON-WRITING NEWS TIME!! I’m pregnant with my first wee one, due in April! Hooray! That means there is LOTS of planning to be done. Here are some of the writing techniques that I’ve found amazingly helpful so far.
Spreadsheets. I’ve been going through what will become the nursery and sorting the stacks of books that I need to decide what to do with. Just like I would do for a novel after finishing a first draft, I’ve created spreadsheets of which books I’m getting rid of, who to give them to, etc. Not only does this make those stacks of books easier to organize, but it also forces me to consider where the best home for each book might be.
Research. The next step has been deciding how to set up the nursery. As I would do with any book that contains things I don’t know much about, I’ve been Googling what we need, where to get it, pictures of things to give me a sense of what they are/how they work/etc. And, of course, I’ve been keeping a document full of brainstorming notes, just like I would with a new novel project.
Maps. Now that I have a sense of what we need for the nursery, I need to figure out where it’ll go. That’s where map-making comes in! Yup, just like I’d create a map for a story to figure out the setting, I’ve created a little diagram of the layout of the nursery to get a sense of what needs to go where and the scale we’ll be working with. (I’m also working on doing this for our kitchen since we need to rethink the layout in there.)
Mentor texts. In the past, I’ve talked about re-reading novels you admire and that you can mine for techniques to help guide you in your own writing. Similarly, I’ve started accumulating books on a variety of topics to help guide me through pregnancy and beyond (What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Baby’s First Year, 7 Steps to Raising Your Child Bilingual, Childproofing Your Dog, etc).
I know this must all sound unbelievably nerdy, but I have to say that if I’d been trying to get ready for a baby even five years ago, before I really got into the swing of this whole writing/publishing life, I think I would have been pretty overwhelmed without all these strategies to help me. Now I’m just excited to see things coming together and looking forward to welcoming a Human Baby into the world next year, alongside my Book Babies.
How have you found writing techniques useful in your everyday life?