This may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but I am not an organized person. (Okay, that will only surprise you if you don’t know me in real life.) 

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for a while is to go through all my notebooks (of which there are many) and all my scraps of paper (of which there are also many) and find all the little snippets I’ve written pertaining to the various WIP. Some people might actually have a notebook for each WIP but not me. I grab whatever is handy, write in it, leave it somewhere in the house and usually misplace it for a few days to a few weeks to even longer. It was a recent “misplacement” of a notebook that sent me into a panic trying to find what I had written about Plant Kid and Flyboy and Max. (which turned out to be spread across 5 different notebooks.)

You’ll be happy to know that I did find said notebook. (I wanted to set your mind at ease on that right away. I could sense your worry across the virtual space.) I spent most of yesterday curled up in a chair in my office reading old notebooks and getting reacquainted with various trains of my writing mind. At the end of the day I realized I had 7 books that I was still passionate about writing. (Not all at the same time.) 4 middle grades, 2 YAs and 1 historical picture book. A couple of traces of “found words” reminded me how much I had been in love with a particular historical story that I had originally written as a picture book but now plan to do as a novel. It was like meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. A couple of the other books were ideas that are loosely based on incidents from my childhood which reminded me to mention the book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg. I don’t plan on writing mine as a memoir but I believe the prods in this book will help me remember things about my childhood that I have long forgotten.

This morning I went through much of the files on my computer and moved more of those snippets into folders associated with the various WIPs. I’ve really got no excuse left. It’s time to generate more words, messy first and second and third drafts and get further along into the stories.

But it was something I had to do first, to get ready.

How do you organize all the various pieces of a book as you are writing it?