Writing Tip Wednesday

#WritingTipWednesday: Story Notebooks

How I organize my WIP

For today’s #WritingTipWednesday, I’ll be sharing how I organize my Works in Progress.

Create your own Story Notebook

I’ve never been one of those writers who can create a full outline, block out scenes, and then stick exactly to it from beginning to end.

No. every time I go to write, I find that I stick to the major outline points, but zig-zag all over the smaller ones until I have to throw out a lot of my outline because it just doesn’t work anymore. That’s why I use a Story Notebook to organize my current novels.

Story Notebook image

Story Notebook

I use a simple spiral notebook, and turn it into a scribbly mess with my thoughts and revised outlines as I write every day. Then at night I work on my Nightly Notes, which is where I organize the jumble into a simple, non-committal outline that reminds me of my big ideas, but allows me to think my scenes and chapters through a smaller chunk at a time.

(Watch for upcoming posts about Nightly notes and more on my outlining process.)

Note-taking

The secret of the Story Notebook is that there’s really no secret. It’s pure and simple note-taking, while you’re in the middle of writing. I don’t organize my ideas here, or separate them into categories even, until I’ve completely finished writing for the day (ha!). I simply jot down any ideas I have for scene changes, improved plot lines or anything else I think of. I just take a moment to jot it into the Story Notebook and then hurry back to writing! Starting every day knowing exactly what you want to add, change, or fix makes avoiding dry spells and writer’s block so much easier.

I simply jot down any ideas I have for scene changes, improved plot lines or anything else I think of. I just take a moment to jot it into the Story Notebook and then hurry back to writing! Starting every day knowing exactly what you want to add, change, or fix makes avoiding dry spells and writer’s block so much easier!

Digital Story Notebooks

I love the simplicity of a notebook and a pen, but if you are tech-dependent there are a lot of programs and apps you can use as well. I keep the Novelist app on my phone to organize my ideas on the go.

For me, I keep the notebook as simple and messy as possible. It’s a place to store all my great story ideas the moment they come to me, before I get distracted or let the ideas get diluted. I write them down, and then look at them later, after I’m out of the writing haze and have fresh eyes.

(Also check out this post about Brainstorming!)

When I finish my first drafts, I switch from a Story Notebook to a Story Binder, which is really when my story note organization goes insane, so do not miss that post!!

What about you?

How do you organize your WIPs and novels? Comment below and follow me for more writing tips, poems, novels, and more!

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