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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why Writers Need to be Organized

We produce. 
We produce. 
And we produce some more. 
We get inspired and write; 
some things get finished, most do not. 
We set pieces aside with the intention to return to them, 
but often, 
when we try to go back, we can’t find them.

There are journals and stories and poems and growing piles of great ideas. Before we even realize what is happening, we suddenly find ourselves in a tangle of storylines, as if being choked by weeds.

Yes, weeds
All those things we write, no matter how great they are, become weeds when they turn into piles that cannot be deciphered. Eventually they grow up around us like an untamed garden. The very life of our work can be choked by the sheer volume of our wonderful productions. Where is that masterpiece I was working on two years ago? Where are my roses??

Let’s run with this garden and weeds imagery here for a moment – would you ever plant a tomato and a rose seed in the same hole? No. And yet, we write grocery lists and poetry in the same notebook. That’s OK, but only for a short time being. We have to maintain our garden – pull out the weeds, throw them away, and prune our vines. We have to because that is the only way visitors will want to come. And let’s be honest, don’t we ultimately want to attract “visitors” (readers)?

So rip out those old “to do” lists and throw away the ramblings that once helped to clear your head. Put finished stories in labeled folders, works in progress in easy-to-reach files, works ready to submit on top of your desk to serve as nagging reminders to send them out. Put poetry in folders categorized by themes and ideas in a special “IDEA” container.

Spend the time to do this and keep up with it regularly so your mind can be supple and sponge-like to absorb new ideas. Free up your physical space so you can free up your mind because 
a writer with a free mind is most productive!


  1. Wonderful advise, River. You have the key to success for sure. The garden imagery works well.

  2. Have you been snooping around my house; sniffing out all those pieces of paper I wrote half baked ideas on?

    Can you help me find my lost ideas? They're on the back of a WalMart receipt :)

    I know, I know. I give myself this advice every once in a while. Sometimes it works. Maybe your post will put in perspective for me once and for all.

    Now, you turned off that skype feed, right?

    Have a good evening River. Lovely and timely post here.


  3. Donna - LOL - no, I haven't been snooping around your house, but MINE, for sure! I hope this does indeed inspire some organizing energy! Good luck and keep me posted, R