Saturday, January 30, 2010


                            


   Organized ~ Schmorganized

 

Clutter ~

makes my heart flutter.

My desk a mess?

I must confess,

Sometimes yes.

I’ve been buried alive,

Yet no matter how hard I strive

To clean up this crap

 and get my life back

The cause is lost,

Tis like peering though a window covered in thick frost.

As I dillydally and carve patterns into it with my nail,

Behind me, breathing down my neck is a mountain of unopened mail.

The path before me is a maze,

My mind... clearly trapped in a daze.

I’ve lost my keyboard and my mouse ran away

It’s like searching for a needle in a stack of hay

I’m not much of  a fan

Of coming up with a daily plan

I’ve read all the blogs,

Hoping to clear some of the fog

But alas ~ I’m left all alone

To grip, grumble and moan

I’d love to find the time

To do something other than this silly rhythm

But tis not meant to be.

Not today, not tomorrow

Anyone have any suggestions I can borrow???

Help me... (squealed the voice from the movie, The Fly)



Jaclyn

On a joyous occasion, my first book, Eden's Black Rose, is now available to pre-order as an early bird special through the Wild Rose Press :)

www.thewildrosepress.com

www.jaclyntracey.com

 

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Organization for the Unorganized

This month we have all been talking about organization and while there are a lot of excellent tips on how to get organized, the simple fact of the matter is that not everyone can do it. I am one of those people and while I can appreciate the beauty of a well-organized room, it is not something that I can, in turn, create.

To be completely honest, I enjoy being unorganized.

Yes, organization is grand. I know, I've tried it but there is something thrilling about the opposite. You know the shiver of dread that courses down your spine as you look for those car keys. You're late for your meeting but instead of finding your keys on that dusty old key rack, you are searching frantically through the house. There is an adrenaline boost, the inner dialogue that if you just find those keys in time, you swear you'll be more organized.

It can be quite addictive and I can only blame this excitement on long forgotten instincts passed down from my hunter/gatherer ancestors. I mean, what else could explain the loud shout of victory as I unearth the keys hidden in the vast jungle of my living room and parade them through the house; a hunter after a successful hunt.

But I digress, this post is not about me but is about how to become organized while still being unorganized at heart.

The first thing to do is to accept that you are unorganized. Go ahead, say it, you will only feel better after you do. I mean, there are things in life that aren't organized and sometimes that's okay. My socks are not going to be upset because I shoved them into the drawer with my t-shirts and if they are, they aren't going to say anything to me about it.

Once you have admitted it, think about what areas of your life can be organized and what can get away without being organized. I find that I can organize my kids' schedule like a drill sergeant, however, when it comes to my office...let's say it's far from organized.

But that's okay because you can learn to live with it and you can learn to cheat. That's right, I used the word. Being unorganized is all about cheating to make it look like you're organized and here are a few things that you can do.

One: Color code your notes

This may seem organized but if you saw my color coding system, you would probably run for the hills. Generally, when I am working on something, such as research, I keep several different colored pens handy. I find that my thoughts come out in any order and as I am jotting one idea down, another idea will pop in my head. Instead of flipping to a new page, I simply pick up a new pen and jot it down before returning to my work. All I have to do is remember that red is for character A, blue for character B, gold for plot lines, pink for subplots and so on. It is a form of organization but it doesn't look organized.

Two: Purge the system

Without organization, comes clutter. It is the nature of the beast and most unorganized people will simply shuffle that clutter into a drawer and then ignore it. Before you get too embarrassed, remember this is fine. The key to cheating on clutter is to purge it every few months. Spend a day or two shuffling things into folders, throwing out things that aren't needed, and then tidying up your work area. It may seem easier to do it as you work so you are organized but if I file something away now, I won't be able to find it when I need it, honest.

Three: Make a note

List keeping seems to be great for being organized but they don't always work. I hate lists and the best way to keep me from doing things is to give me a list. I tend to ignore the list and think, "Well, it's on the list so it will get done," without actually doing it. To cheat on list building, you simply make one or two notes of important things that need to be done. So, for instance, I may have a note stuck to my computer screen right now that says, "Sirena, make sure you write about being organized for Black Rose."

Four: Goal set

I have never set a goal to be more organized, because, let's face it, I won't reach it. However, even the unorganized can set goals but it should be done in much smaller increments. Sure you will have that big goal, "I want to publish x amount of books in x amount of years," to strive for but you generally have small steps that don't have any rhyme or reason. Instead, they are daily goals like, "Today, I am going to edit one chapter of MS," which will get you closer to realizing the "BIG" goal but in as unorganized a manner as you can muster. It also lets you cheat at goal setting because you are being organized without realizing it.

Five: Find a little order in the chaos

The last tip that I have is to find just a little bit of order. The way that I do this is with my computer. Each project I am doing has its own file folder. In the file folder there are other folders such as contract, NDA, finished work, work for editing, works in progress. It can look a bit messy but it does give you some direction in the chaos. In addition, your schedule can be ordered simply by using other people's schedule. I know I have x amount of hours while the kids are at school to do certain tasks. I also know that during those hours I will need to take the dog out x amount of times. They have a routine and a schedule and I can parody a schedule of my own simply to accommodate them. Because I am working on their schedule, I start planning those few hours in my head while I am taxing the kids or making lunches. When I get back, I am organized enough to sit down at the desk and get working.

And there are a few tips on how to be organized when you aren't.

Sirena
www.sirenavanschaik.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do you have psychic ability?


I’m truly curious about how many authors can claim psychic abilities. I’m going to be on a panel addressing this area and woke this morning wondering if I have to admit I have some psychic talent.
It’s like rattling my closet skeletons. I’m so nervous. People will think I’m weird. I’ll be pointed at on the street and have to move or change my name. Boy, am I going off on a tangent.
Writers are the most accepting people in the world. We understand what makes people different and value all the quirks. It all adds to the characters and plot we create.
I use psychic abilities to round out my characters, but it’s usually a secondary part of their personality. Annie knows her child is threatened. Rachel senses her twin’s feelings. That’s recorded and researched ability. Lily sees auras, but not on everyone or even when it will reveal the villain.
I don’t share those talents, but I do know how it feels to have that unexplainable episode occur. I am puzzled, even confused. For a minute I question why the people around me didn’t see or hear that ‘other’. I always have a lag time. My reality has to accept the unreality as real.
Confusing? Oh yes. I think my mother had a talent, too, but she died young and I didn’t know enough to ask. She always explained to me that it was all right. I remember once waking from a vivid dream of a recently deceased person who grabbed my arm. I had a finger pattern of bruises on my bicep. Mom said I was the only one she could reach and to pray for her soul. Scary now that I look back.
I have vivid dreams that sometimes do come true. I also dream my story before I start writing. Along with a few other things I didn’t mention.
Let me know what you think. Do you use psychic abilities is your stories? Do you have one?

Author Barbara Edwards is a featured panelist at the RTBookReview Conference in Columbus, Ohio April 28 – May 2, 2010
The panel is named PSYCHIC AWAKENINGS: Walk through the light of hope, healing
and love. How does psychic awareness develop characters, add layers to your story and provide that wonderful happily ever after?
PANELISTS: Barbara Edwards, Elysa Hendricks, Jade Lee, Melissa Lopez, Susanne Saville, Elissa Wilds

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Organize Your Files

Organization is a state of mind. As long as I can catalog everything around me, I feel in control of my life. That’s important because my husband and kids leave me feeling awash in their rush to go from one thing to another leaving things half finished.

As I’ve posted before, I make lists to keep me on task. My husband has done the computer geek thing and setup a network calendar with Mozilla Sunbird so when I add an appointment it shows up on his calendar too. (Before we were keeping three different calendars and missed things.) And I have piles of stuff. Stuff I need, stuff I need to go through, miscellaneous stuff we don’t know what to do with….

But what I really want to talk about are my Files. Yep, an exciting topic. I keep both hardcopy and virtual copies of everything writing related. I use manila folders with the title of the story written in pencil (You never know when the title of your story will change) and the green hanging folders. I print out each draft of the story, every round of comments from critique partners and my own, and any contract paperwork (original and my filled out copies). This may take several manila folders but usually you only need one or two green hanging folders to keep it all together.

Electronically every story has its own folder. It will be housed in a designation folder (In Progress, Needs Edits, Finished, or Published) and have all the subfolders (Contracts, Covers, Edits, Promotional, Reviews, etc.)



This way all the work for one story is together and I can cut and paste things as I need them. I prefer having a tree system for keeping the files separated as opposed to just one folder with a bunch of files. I freeze up looking at a huge list of files. There is too much information to quickly find what I need.

I also participate in a lot of online workshops. Each workshop has its own folder and all the class lessons, photos and other files under that. I print the lessons and then put them in pressboard report covers (dissertations used to go in these – two prong fasteners between two covers) by subject (plot, characters, GMC, world building, etc.) and alphabetized by workshop title. These sit on my bookcase with all my reference books. So anytime I need something I can look in one place.

Remember to always backup your files. You can use a flash drive, remote system, another computer, or paper. If it’s important enough to keep-then it’s important enough to have multiple copies. You never know when the dog will eat your homework….or a worm will corrupt your files.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Organized Chaos

For the most part, I am a very organized person. As soon as I’m done using something, I put it back where it belongs so I can find it easily the next time I need it. This is something I’ve learned from my grandmother and I can still hear her wise words whispering in my ear, “Every item has a home.”

But, I don’t live alone and those other members of my household didn’t grow up listening to my grandmother repeating life’s instructions over and over again. Adding two toddlers to the mix and organized chaos is a very good description of my house.

Clutter might be another one.

To the untrained eye, those might look like piles of papers overflowing on my desk but, truly they’re story ideas I scribbled down and tossed into a file. A file which the children then opened and scattered all over the floor. In between changing diapers and running to the store, I simply had the children help me put the papers in a pile on my desk so I could go through and sort them properly later. Later tends to encompass a vast expanse of time for me. Later could be days, months, or possibly years. But, when I’m looking for that particular story idea, I know it’s on my desk among those other papers.

Luckily, I have better control over my books. Working as Assistant Manager in a bookstore for several years, I learned how to categorize my book collection. Yes, I have my nonfiction shelved in sections. History, over there, starting with ancient times to the present day. Biography, here, alphabetical by the name of who it’s about. New Age, religion, psychology, travel, and it goes on. This really helps me when I need information for a story I'm writing. Easy to find, easy to put back to use again. My fiction is, of course, alphabetical by author, series within that author are organized in order. I even have a children’s section for my kid’s, but I can’t say those books remain alphabetical. They don’t even remain upright and on the shelf, to be honest!

Those are the books I have displayed on my shelves in my library/dining room/computer room/playroom/work-out room. (My house is very small so, we had to combine a lot of rooms!) Even in the boxes of books I have packed away, I have them organized. This box is filled with authors of the last name A to C, and so on to Z. And those (many!) boxes I have stacked very neatly in my closet. To my husband’s dismay, I have claimed the closet as a sanctuary for my boxed books until we win the lottery and I can buy my dream home that has a room for a huge library, all for me!

My books are probably the only thing in my life that I could call organized at the moment, my writing might be a close second. I have files on my computer sorted with story ideas, current projects, research items, character sketches, among other things. Those are the files the kids can’t get to yet. I do stress, yet. Organizing everything else in my house is sort of a daily project that gets put on hold every so often when the kids are sick, I have to work, or other major events that happen in life occur, like washing dishes and folding laundry. Most of all, its time I need to learn how to organize. Time is that elusive file that just doesn’t want to fit into the cabinet. But, I’m working on it. A work-in-progress, shall we say?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goal-setting isn't enough!

One thing I've learned from a career in real estate (and an "in progress" attempt at writing) is that goal setting isn't enough!
This year, I have a more refined, thought-out goal. I divided the year up by the number of manuscripts I would like to have "out" (i.e. submitted), divided the year by that number then divided said number of days by word count so that I know about how many words I need to pound out of my poor little brain daily or weekly.
Here's my example: This year I would like to have 3-4 shorts out to publishers/editors at 20k-30k words per manuscript. (This way I was easily able to break the year into quarters.) Each quarter, I need 30k words, so I divided the quarter by 8 weeks. Yes, I know a quarter is 3 months (12 weeks) but I'm trying to leave room for revisions, critiquing and the anxiety attacks. In 8 weeks, I need to get out 3750 words per week or just a smidge over 500 words per day. Suddenly, I have a goal that actually feels attainable! Now, remember the aforementioned real estate business?????
I'm sure someone wealthy, wise or martyred once said: You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you have been. Hmmm...
So how can I apply that to my writing? Well, for me, the short answer is that I want to see myself achieving my goal, so each week, I create a 'time block worksheet'. This is a graph that has the days of the week across the top and the days broken down by hours on the left side. (I start with 8 am and end with 8 pm to make it easier.) Then I color in with a highlighter my hours spent in the office, appointements, time with family/friends and yes, my writing. I know it sounds terribly "strict" but it's not. If I need to change something I do it. I don't run to my time block to ask permission, but if it impacts my writing time, I make a note. That way, at the end of the week I know I need 3750 words, and if I dont' have it, I can adjust my numbers accordingly. If I do have it, then good for me; it means more wiggle room.
The important thing is that I suddenly know where I'm going and I know that I'm on track to get there!
Personally, for me, it proves helpful to be able to see that I CAN do it, I CAN meet my goal, I CAN accomplish what at first seems like an insurmountable expectation on top of an already hectic life. However, like most of us, I want my writing to be my main source of income someday, and I'm having to teach my self to commit to it, but I can't commit if I don't see progress.
This is the first year I've tried this system so I'll let you know how it goes, but so far, second week of January and I'm ahead of schedule. (Conversely, I didn't accomplish a single writing goal last year so I think I have a pretty good start.) :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SKHYE'S ORGANIZED?

Me organized? Let me see if I have any crazy habits that just might work for you.

1.) I must possess every book that has anything of value, including a table or graph. One would think I could just photocopy that page... And, yes, value is in the eye of the beholder. But finding a great reference book is like striking it rich with a gold mine. Buy them. Neatly stand them somewhere. These books are your friends and springboards to your imagination. Or I need therapy.

2.) I've had wicked migraines for at least 4 months. They come and go whenever they please. But I find if I just rise before the 4 year old and write/revise until she wakes up to toy with me for 12 hours, I actually get something done before the headaches set in. My productivity has only begun to creep along since the new year. But the system is working for me.

3.) I store all my really wonderful research links on my blog or website. :) People like to find them. So, if you post the links in an organized fashion, people will come. And I don't have a million bookmarks. Just a website/doman to keep paid in full.

4.) I blog about my reference books because we have hurricanes tear through the Texas Gulf Coast (down here) and I want a detailed list of what's on my shelves. So, I blog about my treasured research library whenever I have the time. With my migraines, I've kind of slacked off on the posts. But I do have quite a list--everything from geology to cultural history, science, and writing books.

5.) You don't have to do as much laundry or prep for public display if you plan your errands all on one day each week--kind of the only way I can avoid really bad migraines instigated by trips to town. The rest of the time I can just hang in my jammies and write. Or rework scenes in my head until I can write when my 4 year old is asleep. ;) My alphasmart keeps me working on a wip when I'm waiting on my 4 year old to finish her science or art class. I haven't managed to type up a scene while waiting in line at the post office like I hear some writers do. ~Skhye

Skhye's books

"Intense, original, suspenseful, and dramatic... an unpredictable topsy-turvy romance... the suspense builds with every page in SACRIFICIAL HEARTS. In a world where symbols mean everything, magic is the way..." ~Snapdragon; LASR

www.timeguardians.com
www.skhyemoncrief.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Organization

As a new mother and an aspiring author, I say aspiring because even though I have published I’m always seeking to achieve more; I am constantly challenged to find time. Time to write. Time for my family. Time for myself. The key is organization.


Almost every aspect of my day is planned around my baby’s schedule. I do chores, check emails and blog while he’s awake and entertained by his mobile, jumperoo or swing. I write when he’s napping.


Simple, right? Probably, except being the compulsive obsessive project manager that I am, I have to see and track my progress.


Excel is the way I do it.


I have a spreadsheet for my daily time. It includes columns for dates, times and descriptions. I keep the entire year on one sheet. In the description column, I track what I worked on and how long I worked on it.


On another sheet, I keep track of the time per story. It includes columns for titles, dates, time, total writing time (includes editing), total time (includes submission, emails with editors, publication documents), and a description column (to track whether I was writing, editing, etc.)


In another spreadsheet, I track stories. I have columns for titles, heroines, heroes, total writing time, total time, dates and descriptions. The dates are for when I submit and receive correspondence with publishers. The descriptions describe what action was performed…submitted query, submitted revisions, received line edits, etc.


I’ve also keep notes on each story. I’m still working on the best format so I don’t really have any suggestions.


Is all of this really necessary? Well, if the IRS ever comes knocking on my door to perform an audit, I’ll have a detailed account of my time to prove writing isn’t a hobby. But, most importantly, it serves to prove to me that I’m accomplishing my goals even if I don’t write as much as I did before the baby was born.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Organisation and chaos

Okay, we're 8 days in, but close enough to the 1st that it makes no difference :)

January is always an interesting time of year, new beginnings and fresh promises. A time for thinking about everything you failed to get done the previous year, and everything you hope to accomplish in the year to come.

For me the year had been an interesting one already (I know only 8 days in).
I've got a release date for 'Human with a Twist'. Keep and eye out in August people!!!!

I've also got a new job -- good for the wallet, not so good for organising writing time. Which brings me nicely to the topic for this month. Organising things.
Some writers are pristine and organised, others exist in a state of chaos. I'm somewhere in between, or moving from one end of the spectrum to the other on any given day. This kind-of-chaos, kind-of-organised state covers pretty much all aspeacts of my life. From my desk, to my filing system, to my time mangement. I always wish I could do it better, but it could always be worse :) Some peopel have called in 'organisation in chaos', which I think sounds quite fun.

I hope you all have a wonderful new year, filled with the best of organisation and planning, and the most wonderful side of Chaos.

--Louise D

Thursday, January 7, 2010

About Organization

Organization is good any time of the year, but do you think more people are inspired in January to think about this and implement changes? Perhaps it’s the fresh, starting over state-of-mind, part of New Year resolutions.

We all have to organize our workspace in our own way, of course, because what might work for someone might not work for others. Oh, how personality comes into play.

Personally, I'm a huge fan of history. Above my computer I have a couple of rows of bookshelves built into the wall. I have my research books there, which cover many eras of history. To the far left, are titles on the Romans. Next is a research book on the Anglo-Saxons, then the year 1000, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Elizabethan history, the 18th, then the 19th century, with Victorian history on one hand and the old West on the other (I live in the Western part of the United States), and onto the 1920s and through to the present, all in chronological order. I ran out of room for my books and so have to store some. If only I had room for more books.

Behind me, I keep my historical romances in a bookshelf, not in order of the author’s last name, but rather in chronological order according to setting, from the Stone Age to the near present. Shows you how I think, I guess. Some people might just toss their books randomly onto their shelves or file them according to title. It really does depend on what you’re comfortable with. And history is my thing. In the grocery store, if I hear the total: $18.37, I say, “Hey, that’s the year Victoria ascended to the throne of England.” You get the idea.

As far as organizing my time, I work at a school during the day and write and edit at night. I usually just look at my list of things to do and tackle one at a time in order of importance or what has to be done first.

Promo is not my thing. I probably don’t do enough because I don’t enjoy it, so others would a better choice of someone to discuss this with.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now. I hope you find all the time you need to do everything that makes you happy, and I hope you find the perfect way to organize that will support your success.
-Corinne M

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twenty One Days


Now that 2010 has a few days under your feet, let me ask you something… Have you stuck to your New Years Resolutions? If you vowed to lose weight, have you exercised more than once in the last five days? Have you cut back on all those ‘trouble foods’ or have you only stocked your frig with fruits and veggies that are destined to wilt and morph into un-detectable bits of sludge stuck to the drawer of the cold box?

I worked for a leading ‘weight loss clinic’ for five years of my life… many years ago. And one of the things that stuck with me over the years is this: It takes twenty one days to make or break a habit. I’m not saying that after twenty one days of eating healthier foods you’ll never go back to burgers and chips, but, you can certainly put you and your body in motion of doing what will work better for long term goals.

Many of us on this site are writers. Some of your goals for 2010 may be to be more productive in your writing, or maybe spend more time promoting your work. Maybe you want to spend less time on line chatting and more time writing new stuff. Time management for many of us is an ongoing challenge. Dayana Knight has written many a blog on this subject that have been helpful to me.

My challenge to you is this: Whatever your goals are for 2010 are, pick one part of the entire goal to work on at a time. Work on
that one little bit for twenty one days then add on to it. If you want to lose a few pounds, cut out that fast food lunch for twenty one days and add a fruit or veggie snack. Then work on adding more exercise… even fifteen minutes three to four times a week for three weeks will help move you in the right direction. If you want to crank out more manuscripts, start by dedicating time each day putting something on paper. Don’t fire up the internet until you’ve written for thirty minutes. *news flash, your e-mail will wait for you!!!

Old habits die hard! But if you give them a run for their money for twenty one days in a row, you’d be surprised how easy changing a habit can be.

Happy 2010!

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's a New Year!

It's a new year and I still haven't finished writing the sequel to Out of the Darkness. Ordinarily, I'd be really depressed about that but since I spent some of my writing time editing a historical manuscript set to be released from The Wild Rose Press sometime this year, I guess I can't complain. Slightly Tarnished is going to be an English Tea release and I can't wait to hold the hard copy in my hand!
Still, I thought I would have finished writing Into the Light, the sequel to Out of the Darkness by now.


I started researching and writing Into the Light, the day I signed the contract for Out of the Darkness...way back on Mother's Day 2009. A year later in May 2010, Out of the Darkness was published. So, why in that year's time hadn't I completed the sequel?

The sad truth is I sometimes prefer research and editing to writing. There's this sort of fear factor thing with me. I love the research. I love coming up with stories in my head. But I absolutely despise writing that first draft. It's like all the words come rushing at me all at the same time and I fear that when I try to get them on paper, I'll screw up. So, then I try to write without an outline. And that's when the problems arise.

In my first draft of Into the Light, I made it to chapter 7 before realizing the premise wouldn't work. And I had written myself into a corner. The heroine wasn't going to work. It took me awhile to realize that some people just don't belong together. So, I had to change the entire plot and add new characters I had no intention of adding. I actually wrote an outline draft of the story!

And as I started to write, the first twelve chapters came pouring out. But then things started to slow down. My characters wouldn't stick to the script or the plot! They started taking on lives of their own.

I let them have their way for a while, but then I realized I had a lot of sub plots I'd have to tie together at the end. Could I do it? Was the story too plot heavy? Had I added too many secondary characters.

And now, those old writing fears have surfaced once again.

So, I went back to my plot. And changed some things to fit the new direction my characters had taken me. And I started researching again. Getting a feel for the new plot line. And once again, things are starting to flow. And I can hardly wait to get to the editing phase.

So, my New Year's resolution is to finish writing Into the Light. And if it is possible to resolve oneself to liking something more, then I resolve to like writing that first draft better than I do now. After all, I can't edit and bring my characters alive without that first draft.

Here's to hoping 2011 is a wonderful writing year and that I finish not only Into the Light, but the sequel to Slightly Tarnished. I'd also like to start a third book in my vampire saga  but maybe that's a bit too much for me in one year. But I can dream!


What are some of your resolutions and how do you propose to keep them?

Organization-What Organization?

I know I’ve mentioned my anal retentive qualities before. There are times when I think I’m OCD. I’m practical and punctual. And on the surface, I’m organized and detail oriented. I make lists all the time. Lists I usually misplace or lose. And if you look beneath the surface, you’ll see I’m not the left brained thinker I appear to be.

My cabinets and closets are cluttered. My office is a mess, though I try to organize. Then I find myself unable to throw anything away for fear I might need it later. I’m not a hoarder, but I have stacks of research folders in stacking trays, and I’m not even sure what the folders contain because I have no system for identifying the information. I just write on the folders with a Sharpie and chunk it in the tray.

I also have stacks of note cards stuffed in drawers and ideas scribbled on Post-it-Notes. If an idea comes to me, I write it down so I won’t forget it, but I don’t stop what I’m doing or take the time to organize the information.

I’m impetuous and imaginative, which is a good thing for a writer, but it leaves my office a mess. And sometimes, it’s weeks before I get around to cleaning up the clutter left behind from a week of inspired writing—or a week of goofing off on the computer while ideas percolate in my brain. But I guess that’s the right side of my brain at work, the part responsible for creativity and imagination. It’s also the part of the brain that apparently hinders me from being overly organized and allows me to make excuses and blame neuropsychology for the mess in my office.

That creative side of me has always been disorganized, but I’m trying to improve. Before I joined my local chapter of RWA, I wrote by the seat of my pants and spent more time revising than I did writing. Now, I plot out my stories first before sitting down at the computer. I even purchased a writing program, called Write It Now that allows me to write an outline, character descriptions, an overview of each chapter before I begin writing. That way, I can see potential flaws in logic and areas of weak motivation and conflict before I get to the notorious sagging middle.

I’m hoping the new software will help as I write the sequel to OUT OF THE DARKNESS. So far, it’s shown me my original idea for the sequel isn’t going to work. Last week, I trashed the six chapters I’d written and am pretty much starting over. I have a great blurb written and I’m working on the outline before putting fingers to keyboard.

Trashing six chapters was tough, but getting to the middle of a book and realizing you have no where to go is even tougher. Had I still been writing by the seat of my pants, I would have struggled through until the end, making changes as I went and forcing things to fit, and then revising when I reached the end. And the revisions would have been extensive.

So my best advice on organization is to organize first before starting to write. As for office clutter, maybe it’s just a sign of a right-brain dominant person with a highly evolved imagination hard at work on something creative.

And what about self-promotion? Well, I suck at it. Until OUT OF THE DARKNESS is released May 28, 2010 and I figure something else out, this is it. Blogging. And my shameless promotion of my webpage, which I will beg you to check out now.
www.lillygayle.com