Organization Tips From An Unorganized Brain

My brain is not organized. It never has been and it likely never will be. I mean, I’m not complaining because it works for me and it has forced me to externally organized. And I’ve learned some tips to help my brain over the years.

I would LOVE to hear what you do and what works and doesn’t work for you! And, in case it helps anyone else, here is what I do:

Photo by mentatdgt on

First of all, I keep all of my writing organized in Google Docs. I like that I can access my files from anywhere and share them easily. I also like that I can save all 87 drafts for nostalgia’s sake. And I use folders! SO MANY FOLDERS!!! 

I have one big WRITING folder & within that I have: 
1) The Business Side of Things
2) Works in Progress
3) Manuscript Bootcamps
4) Ready, Set, SUB!

And within these folders? MORE FOLDERS!

The Business Side of Things is broken down into 4 folders as well:
1) Ponder (Research & Resources) – this includes a list of all the PBs and MGs I’ve read along with notes
2) Polish (Info on Critiquing and Editing)
3) Publish (Agent & Publisher Info) – this include my query tracker spreadsheet
4) Exercises, Classes, & Contests – Susanna Leonard Hill’s contest have their own folder in here (which reminds me – don’t forget about her Valentiny contest coming up!)

 My Works in Progress folder has a couple of loose files which are all first drafts. Once I start a second draft, that story gets it’s own folder. I usually number my drafts until I make a major change – like POV or change the plot. Then I usually add a letter letter and restart my numbering (B1, B2, etc).

Once I’ve got a handle on the character, main problem, emotional arc (or at least what I WANT those to be), that manuscript folder gets moved over to …

Manuscript Bootcamp! and stays here until I’m satisfied. The bulk of my stores are here. But, when I get feedback that they are polished, they get moved to….

Ready, Set, SUB! Now each manuscript folder gets organized with more folders! Yay! Folders!!!! All the old drafts are put into a sub-folder and I add a query template complete with pitch and comp titles for each story.

So, that’s it! I am in 4 picture book critique groups  and 2 middle grade critique groups and swap with some individuals on top of that. Every group I am in works a little differently which is really helpful for me because it forces me to stay organized. I recently started a “critique spreadsheet” so I can keep track of which manuscripts I sent to which groups/people and when (to avoid bombarding any one group/person and to ensure they aren’t looking at the same draft every week for a year!).

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear how YOU stay organized!

Published by Nicole Loos Miller

Mama, LCSW, member of SCBWI and 12x12. Sometimes I laugh at my own jokes and I never get enough sleep. Also, I think you are great.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: