Blog, How to Write Fiction

Fiction Writing Tips: How to Organize Your Writing Practice

Feel overwhelmed when you try to make time to write? Does your to-do list already overflow daily? The trick is to make writing easier by getting better organized. Today, I’m sharing an easy, free technique that will get you better organized. By spending a few minutes once a week, you’ll gain much more time for writing fiction.

Most creatives struggle with organization. There’s a lot of great information out there these days on the right brain and its importance in our creativity.

It’s hard when you depend on that right brain though, to do things it’s not meant to do. Organizing, planning and scheduling tasks are left-brain activities. Rather than getting frustrated and angry with yourself, because you’re not naturally well organized, try this instead.

First, take a big, deep breath. Remind yourself of at least 10 things you’re great at. Or at the very least, stop beating yourself up for missed appointments, notes, or a desk that looks like a bomb has recently gone off. (Remember, cluttered desks can be a sign of genius.)

Try this:

Next, I’m going to ask you to set aside 10 minutes. During that time, make a list of every writing-related task you can think of that needs tending to. You’re list might look like this:

  • Research deep-water sea creatures
  • Finish outline for novel
  • Create character bible
  • Contact credit card about weird charge (book ad?)
  • Write chapter three of novel
  • Start short story for anthology

When you have a limited amount of time to write your novel, it means things need to be as streamlined and easy to complete as possible. That’s where my weekly planning system comes into place.

Imagine this: instead of frantically searching through your materials, emptying notebooks and cursing yourself for being scatterbrained, you calmly pick up your Weekly Goal Sheet and decide which writing task or tasks you can take on in the 10 minutes you have before the kids wake up.

The Weekly Goal Sheet is something that I’ve been using for years as a novelist. Writing thriller books takes a lot of focus and attention to detail. Without having my list, I’d be swimming upstream a lot of the time. And that, guys, isn’t very efficient, is it?

Here’s what this free tool will help you with: getting a handle on the “must do’s” in your fiction writing practice, helping you prioritize the myriad of tasks that you have to tackle and streamlining your process, making it so simple you won’t procrastinate. Sound good?

The Nuts and Bolts

Here’s how you can benefit from the Weekly Goal Sheet.

Start with your highest priority tasks (these are listed in the first and largest column). Here, you’ll list everything that you’d like to accomplish this week. Let’s use the list above as an example. On your list you had:

  • Research deep-water sea creatures
  • Finish outline for novel
  • Create character bible
  • Contact credit card about weird charge (book ad?)
  • Write chapter three of novel
  • Start short story for anthology

Which of these is top priority? For me it would be the last two things on the list: writing a chapter of your current novel and starting a short story. Production is where it’s at! It’s hard to be an author and share your work with others if you don’t, ahem, have anything written.

So, under the Highest Priority Tasks, I’d list those two items. Another might be #4 above: “Contact credit card about weird charge (book ad?)” because being on top of all your financial stuff is important.

Next on the goal sheet is a section that I labeled, “It would be awesome to complete these tasks”. Again, pulling from our list above, I’d add maybe #2 and/or #1. Research is important in your fiction writing as is an outline (or not as the case may be). My book for writers, The 15-Minute Novelist: How to Write Your First Novel in Just 15 Minutes a Day, covers things like outlines, breaking writing rules and research more in depth.

The last section of the Weekly Goal Sheet is titled, “I don’t want to forget about:” and here I’d list the creation of the character bible. That’s an important task, but it doesn’t rank as highly as writing new work or dealing with a sketchy credit card charge.

Free Fiction Writing Gift for You

So, ready to plunge in and get better organized this right away? Here’s a free copy of my Weekly Goal Planning sheet for you to use. I know you’ll find it useful. Please let me know in the comments how it’s helped you to get better organized and experience a better writing flow.

Note: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Published by jpchoquette

I am an author and lover of Gothic books and movies. I enjoy reading, spending time in old cemeteries, visiting junk shops and drinking hot beverages...just not all at the same time.

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