When I worked in insurance, I disliked venturing into my company’s canyon land of towering file cabinets to search out an archived file. My company was located on the penthouse floor of a Seattle skyscraper in which I’d ridden out the rollicking 2001 Seattle earthquake. If I’d known that skyscrapers are built to sway in an earthquake, I might have been less traumatized at the time. I can recall being a little jumpy after that, especially when I had to venture into the aforementioned canyon land.
Now that I’m a writer and speaker working from home, I keep a small filing cabinet in my office to store low-priority things like research notes I’m not currently using. I try not to keep too much, but you just never know when you’ll need to look back at something. I have good intentions, but out of sight, out of mind I guess. Once I drop a paper into the filing cabinet’s gaping maw and clang the door shut, I usually forget it’s there.
Maybe it’s a result the years I spent completing a college degree, but the real workhorse of my paper-management system is, yes, binders.
Think about it. They are fairly lightweight and can contain all the papers for a project. Organizing with binders is easy. You can remove or rearrange papers at will just by snapping open the rings. They also look better than a mass of files when sitting on a bookcase shelf.
I use binders in the following ways:
- For each new writing project, I start a binder by that name in which I store all my notes, research findings, one sheets, and proposals.
- Budgeting business expenses and planning expenditures is made easier with all the information at my fingertips in my financial binder.
- To help me manage my social media contacts. I plan strategies for each of the social sites I frequent, keep simple charts of what to post where and when, and maintain lists of people to network with.
- Platform building gets a little easier with all my brainstorming and goal-setting records in one place. I also store educational notes on this topic here so I can easily find them when I want to follow up on them or to search for ideas.
- My launch binder serves as Command Central and keeps my feet under me when my schedule gets crazy. I have sections to help me plan advertising, blog tours, e-blasts, contests and giveaways, press releases, and the like.
- A Master Scheduling binder helps me keep track of all my goals and to break them down into manageable bites I follow through on. I keep my contacts in this binder as well.
Whether or not you adopt my binder system to organize your writing papers, I hope this glimpse inspires some ways you can either improve or develop your own paper-management methods. I’m content with mine, especially since I suspect landing beneath a stack of binders would be a lot softer than winding up beneath a filing cabinet in an earthquake.
Need a good book to read?
DawnSinger, Tales of Faeraven #1 by Janalyn Voigt
A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?
Purchase DawnSinger today!
©2013 by Janalyn Voigt
Subscribe to the Creative Worlds of Janalyn Voigt and receive a free copy of How to Edit: Checklists and Guidance for Fiction Writers