Organizing Your Story Ideas

If you were to ask me right now how many projects I was working on, I’m not sure I could give you a straight answer. It just brings up too many questions.

Questions like:

  • What qualifies as a “project”?
  • Are you asking about what projects I’m actively writing right now?
  • What about projects I’m editing?
  • What about projects I’ve outlined, and keep meaning to write, and think about almost constantly, but haven’t actually started writing any scenes for yet?
  • What about the novel I wrote a few years ago that I keep meaning to go back and edit?

The answers to these questions could change my answer from one project to four.

And that doesn’t even include all the other ideas I have for stories that I want to write, but just haven’t had the bandwidth to sit down with yet.

Inspiration can be a time suck. And I don’t got time for that!

At least, most of the time when I’m focusing on any of those one-to-four projects I have going on.

And those little story ideas can certainly make my one-to-four projects seem less shiny…so what is any overstimulated, idea machine author supposed to do with all these ideas floating around in their head?

The answer to this is simple and should come as no surprise: write it down.

Duh. We’re writers, aren’t we?

But. But.

It’s important to also organize these ideas so that you can come back to them. Someday you’ll want to write that novel or combine a few ideas into one book, or base a short story off a certain memory.

So an organization system helps. And you all know how much I love organizing.

So I’ve rounded up a few techniques to best organize your growing story collection. Pick one that works for you, and let the ideas flow in!

Without the overwhelm and distraction for your one-to-four projects.

  • 3×5 Cards in a cute box
  • A Google Drive document that is constantly updated
  • An Excel worksheet
  • A big piece of posterboard covered in:
    • Post it notes
    • Stickers
    • 3×5 cards
    • Drawings
    • Notebook paper
  • A notebook dedicated only to new story ideas
  • A section in your planner
  • A secret Pinterest board
  • A private WordPress.com blog where you can flesh out your story ideas
  • A small jar of pieces of paper, each with a different story idea
  • A filing cabinet with a folder for each idea

Really, the possibilities are endless…find the system that works for you and call it good!

 



Alexis Truitt

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