Ranting and Organizing


The first few paragraphs are posted on my three private blogs. Man. I have three other blogs… I gotta cut down. Anyway, after that, it’s all new, with a few things just for us writers…. 

This is a rant. Well, not in the sense that normal people have rants, with hair-pulling, cursing, maybe throwing things. No. This is a quiet rant. With all the angst coming out my fingers, draining out of my body, like a deep, cleansing, yoga breath, or that first lack-of-strain breath you get when you finish a hard hike and are standing on the top of a hill, the king of the world (or at least king of the hill.)

Why am I ranting softly? Because I am still so full of tension at the horrid weekend I just finished, that if I ranted loudly, I’d just multiply the tension. And the weekend is over. Tension should start draining away because the past is behind me. Yeah. Right.

Reason for rant? Other than the weekend at the lab, where I work to get benefits? Which writers over a certain age don’t have access to for less than the cost of an arm or leg, or both, because we are money losers to insurance companies. (Another rant, already posted on the group blog.)

This rant is because I lost my address book. I started a new address book in 2006. And I have known for ages that I need to get it keyed into my PC, in case I lose it. One of the many thing I need to do and yet there is no time for it. And now I have lost it. Not the time, but the address book.

I *know* I saw it Friday. I know I moved it from my desk on Friday. I know I took it with me to the mother-in-law’s doctor appointment. What happened to it after that? I do not know. Why? Because it isn’t in one of my books on the PC. Yeah, that’s right. If it’s in a book I can always find it. I can pull up every single book and scan for anything I want. But my own life is far less organized. It isn’t written in stone, on paper, or even on bytes, making my own life a jumbled uncertainty.

All this to answer the question posted to my email by Melanie – how do you keep track of the spider web of minutia you need when you build a world and a character’s life? All the logical trail of necessities that have to fit together to make the world work out, well… logically.

Every writer will use a different method, but for me it works out like this:

Each series has a master folder. For the series about Thorn St. Croix, it is titled MAGE. In that folder are other folders, one per book, giving me BloodRing, Seraphs, Host. Not in a book folder, but simply listed under the MAGE folder, are files for things I will use for every book in the series, and I will give you a listing of some to give you an idea what I am talking about: WorldTimeline, BookOfWorkings, AngelsDictionary, Stones, BookOfEnoch, HinduProphecies, Scripture, BirdAnatomy, EmbassyInfo, MoonNames, SeraphicHierarchy, Einstein, Swords, Vocabulary, ThingsToWorkOut, ProblemsPointedOutByFans, and a dozen others. I can find anything I need instantly.

As to the things that occur to me in the middle of the night or when I am working out other problems? For things that wake me up from a good sleep, I have a lighted pad and pen by the bed (which I honestly haven’t used in the last 6 books but used to use all the time) and lots of color-coded sticky notes, which I stick all over the desk as I work. These are things that have to be dealt with fairly quickly, like within the next work week. If it a long-term organizational need, it gets a file on the PC.

I back up every changed file daily. Yep, daily. And I burn a disc of the entire BOOK folder every 6 months. My writing life is very well organized. But my real life? No organization to it at all. So, what do I do about the lost address book? I ask my hubby. *Hey, will you please help me? I can’t find my address book!*

And in the time it took to finish this blog, he has found it. And my stress is halved… I thank God for this man I married… Last night he gave me a foot massage. Today, he helped me get stress free. Well, stress freer.



6 comments to Ranting and Organizing

  • Judy

    A FOOT MASSAGE!! You’d better keep him, he’s a gem!

    I know how it is about insurance. I’ve often thought about taking a part-time job at Starbuck’s because they offer insurance to part-timers. I’m really allergic to working for a living though, too many years of being self-employed. I have insurance and I could feed a small village on what it costs me each month! Let’s hope this next election changes things for the better.

    Glad you found your address book. I switched over to a Palm a couple years ago and have never looked back! I back it up weekly to all the computers and I never leave the house without it. I’m so anal that I actually bought a second one on Ebay, JUST in case the first one crapped-out on me. I once spent a looong night in the emergency room with a friend, with nothing to do but sit and stare, and try to fall asleep on the sticky plastic chair! From that point on, the Palm is with me where ever I go.

    I keep pictures, notes, addresses, audio files and BOOKS on mine. I probably have a couple hundred saved on an SD card, which gives me lot’s to read if I need it. It’s also great for travel; why carry a bunch of books on vacation when all you need is one little Palm Pilot!

    Relax and enjoy the rest of the week. Springs is just around the corner, you can really feel it today. Tulips and Daffodils are on their way up and I saw some mosquito’s today. You’ll be paddling on the river before you know it.


  • Hi All. Love the site. I need to take your cues on organizing books to heart because right now, its all in my head and I’m not getting any younger..;)

    I wish you all the best of everything and tons of success!

    Lisa Trevethan

  • Glad hubby found the address book, Faith. Good news, indeed.

    I’m a bit of a luddite when it comes to background info on characters and worlds. I use note cards and notebooks and other hand written things. I find it easier to look stuff up from a physical source when I’m in the middle of working on a word file. Don’t know why. I just do.

  • Wow! I started hating weekends when I found out that the whole family is in one room all the time. I ignored the first month or so, but now it’s just ugh. Too crowded and I need personal space.

    I understand you in matter of organization. I organize my writing perfectly ina structured file system and then you see my heap of scattered sheets of paper, which represent my school work and notes and what not. Just messy.

  • Right now I would do almost anything to have somebody else organizing the details of my life. Unfortunately I don’t even feel organized enough to get something set up so somebody else COULD organize the details!

    *flings self in pit*

    -Catie 🙂

  • Do *not* fling yourself into a pit!
    I am loving too much your latest book and looking forward to the next. Do not deprive me of that!