If you love to write, you probably have lots of word documents on your computer. While that’s great, over time these items will clutter your desktop and make things harder to find.
Don’t. Be. This. Person.
You should work to organize your writing projects in the best way you can. While it might be tempting to save everything to your desktop, over time you won’t know what’s what. You also might have lots of other things on your computer such as photos or videos you won’t want to get mixed up with your writing projects. Here’s some tips to help you organize the writing on your computer.
Why Organize Your Writing?
Did you know that staying organized can actually improve your mood? Organized individuals tend to be more productive and live happier, healthier lives. When you’re organized, you aren’t wasting time finding what you need and can dive right into your projects.
Organizing your writing can help you reclaim time and find the productivity you need to get working. You’ll also have the added benefit of using these techniques to organize other files on your computer, too!
Method 1: keep a separate flash drive for your writing
If you’re serious about finding ways to organize your writing, consider investing in a flash drive to store your work. A flash drive is an external device that you can store files on, from documents to photos to videos. Most flash drives only cost a couple of dollars at the store. Flash drives most commonly use USB ports to link to your computer.
The benefits of using a flash drive:
- It ensures you won’t lose your writing. If your computer malfunctions, you won’t have to worry about losing everything you’ve written.
- It can easily be taken anywhere. A flash drive is small enough where you can store it in your backpack, purse, or pocket. Consider using a flash drive to take your writing with you anywhere.
- You can think of it as your space to put your work. You won’t mix up your writing projects with work or personal files, so you can think of a flash drive as a hub for your writing!
One caution to using a flash drive
If you lose the flash drive or it somehow stops working, you’ll lose everything you’ve done. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to backup your writing on a second flash drive or even on a file on your computer called “FLASH DRIVE BACKUP.”
You should make regularly backups of your work every week or so; that way, you won’t lose your progress.
Method 2: A separate Cloud Storage for Writing
We live in the digital era where you can use an online cloud service to backup your files on your computer. Gone are the days where you had to make sure everything was manually backed up; now, software can do this for you.
The benefits of using a cloud:
- You’ll never lose anything. If your computer breaks, all you’ll need is the username and password to your cloud.
- You can edit your documents in real time. This prevents you from having to worry about re-uploading the work you’ve done since you’ll always have the latest version on hand.
How to find the right cloud
While there’s an increasing amount of cloud storage services with every passing year, it’s important you choose the provider that works best for you. Here’s the names of a few reputable cloud storage services.
- Google Drive. Most people reading this article are probably familiar with Google, but did you know that they have a cloud service? It’s called Google Drive, and if you already have a Google account, you have access to it. Try using your login and start organizing your writing projects today! If you don’t have an account, it’s free to make one.
- Office 365. This is a storage system provided by Microsoft Office. This allows you to store your word documents and other projects all in one easy-to-find place. The best part is they update the versions of Microsoft Office, so you don’t have to worry about incompatibility!
Caution of using clouds
While clouds are great for backup, there’s a few problems with them.
- If the company’s cloud system breaks, gets hacked, or is shut down, you’ll lose everything. Nothing’s perfect, and there’s a risk that the cloud you use to host your writing won’t exist one day.
- How much information about you do you want these companies to know? If you write steamy romance novels, do you really want some corporation to have access to those files? It’s a fact that they collect data about their users whether we like it or not.
- Hackers could steal your work. This is most likely a worse case scenario (especially if you go for a reputable service), but there’s always the potential for someone to break into your account and steal your work. While it’s true the author owns everything they’ve written, it could still be a hassle to deal with someone that instantly uploads your work to Amazon publisher.
Think about how comfortable you are with uploading a backup of your writing on the internet. There’s no right answer on which is the right approach, but you should organize your writing wherever you feel most comfortable.
How to Organize Your Writing
Okay, so now that you’ve figured out where you’re storing your work, how should you organize it? Here’s a guide for you to organize your writing projects.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing your Writing
- Identify the categories or books your files fall under. Are you writing short stories and books at the same time? If so, it might be beneficial for you to have a short story folder and then a folder for your books.
- Name every project. The names you choose your writing doesn’t have to be permanent, but try to call every project something for organizational purposes. Avoid generic names like “my story” or “work in progress” because they don’t say anything about the work itself. Remember, you want to be able to find what you did!
- Subdivide in ways that make sense. Keeping with the example above, let’s say you write short stories in the “sci-fi,” “horror,” and “contemporary” genres. It would make sense to house all the stories of those types under those respective folders. For the books, every book should have its own folder with the chapters inside.
- The way you divide will depend on the genres you write in. Think about what you’d categorize your writing based on the type. Try to make a list of the most common genres you write in and then divide from there.
- Further divide based on version history. Let’s say, on average, you end up with seven drafts of your writing projects. You won’t want to delete older versions in case you want to go back and revert back to something you wrote before. That’s why you should have “draft 1,” “draft 2,” and so on of your projects; this will help you keep track of everything you’ve done.
Other Organizational Ideas
There isn’t one-size-fits-all when it comes to organization, so here’s some other possible ways you can organize your writing.
Group by Date
If you don’t want to group by category, some people might find it helpful to group by date. You can put everything you’ve written on a month-to-month folder basis if you have a general idea of when you’ve written something.
Organize your writing by idea
If you’re someone who has lots of different idea documents, you might find it helpful to group writing with similar themes together. This can help you identify the genre/niche you’re going for and give you direction in the future. Who knows, you also might be able to combine some of these works together to make a larger one!
Are you ready to get organized?
While there’s no single way to organize your writing, hopefully you’ll be able to start decluttering all the writing you have on your computer. After all, once you find out where and how you want to store your most important work, you’ll soon be on your way to living a more productive life.
Good luck, and happy writing!
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