Let’s be honest, writing a novel is hard. When I was writing my first novel, Dante, I had the same struggle many beginning writers have: a million ideas and nowhere to go. When you’re starting out, it can be hard to keep everything straight. You’ve got multiple characters to order around, plots and subplots to keep straight, and for those eager beavers, you’ve got the added challenge of intersecting story arcs.
How the hell is one gal supposed to keep it all straight?
Luckily for you, I’ve been there, done that, and bought the baby tee. I’ve collected the top four methods available to help get those ideas from your beautiful brain and onto that blank page— all with minimal sacrifice of your sanity.
Why Is Organization Important Anyway?
In my personal life, I adore organization. I’ll bullet journal until my god damn fingers bleed, but organizing a novel has always been a different beast to me. If you’ve never done it before, it can be a daunting challenge to put thought to paper— which might be why so many people skip this step. The truth is,when people are able to draft a plan, they’re more likely to succeed in the activity. Keeping organized, writing down your thoughts in a meaningful way, will help you draft a more concise novel.
My Top 3 Ways to Keep Your Novel Organized
- Kick it Old School: If you haven’t been over to my Instagram before, you might not know my absolute adoration for the written word. From journals to stickies, I am all over long hand, so maybe that explains my love of penning a novel first.
If you’re someone who wants to go no-tech, you’ll be a fan of this method. Before I get started on outline, I love to do a brain dump in my handy writer’s journal (a notebook I keep in my purse). Get that word vomit out, polish it up, and you’ll be well on your way to a best seller.
- Use an Outline: I am a notorious outliner, and I will sing it from the rooftops. Outling took me from an aspiring writer to an egotistical author overnight. Sometimes, you’ve got a thousand ideas for scenes kicking around and no where to put to them. Outling can help give you the space to plug your ideas in, revealing what your missing and what you’ve got too much of.
My advice? Check out this perfect outline from Gwen Hayes, a romance author’s holy grail.
- Scrivener: If you’ve been an author for more than 45 seconds, you’ve probably heard of Scrivener. Come November, it’s all over the god damn place— mostly because the company is a huge backer of projects like NaNoWriMo. That being said, Scrivener’s been around for a good reason.
Scrivener is a software that allows you to organize your novel, link your ideas, and plan your latest best seller out all at once. It’s the love child of a pad of sticky notes and Microsoft Word. If you’ve tried the above options and they don’t work (read: you need more freedom), give this baby a try. Download their free trial here and give it the good ol’ college try!
You Got This
Getting organized doesn’t have to be hard. Whether you’re a mess of ideas or stuck on just one, there’s an option for you. Once you’ve got all your thoughts in one place, you’ll be ready to run. Spread your wings a bit, give some of these methods a try, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Did I Miss Anything?
Got an organization method I missed? Let me know in a comment below, or, better yet, reach out on Facebook and Twitter!
As always, be good to yourself and never stop writing!