If you are a writer, you have to do background work. You need to organize those notes so that you can find whatever you need when you need it. I have a folder on my computer where I put my projects. I call it simply WIP, for work in progress. In that folder, I have subfolders named with the working titles of the works in progress. The subfolders have subfolders called characters, world notes, plot notes, settings, and general notes. If I create a character for a novel, I put the chart and any notes into the character subfolder for that novel. I do the same with plot ideas and settings and so on. I use Word online when I’m away from my computer and name the file accordingly. For example. If I have an idea for the plat, I open Word online and name the document, working title-plot note – keyword. It automatically saves to my OneDrive folder, which synchronizes with my computer. Once I get home, I can import that file into Scrivener and place it in the correct location in Scrivener so that all my notes are in one, easily accessible place.
Organizing your notes may seem anal to you, but when you are writing your piece, you don’t really want to stop and hunt up that bit of information you know that you gathered and kept – somewhere. That’s where the keyword part of the filename comes in. You can search for that keyword and find your notes on the subject easily. Organizing your notes can help you be a more effective writer. You won’t spend as much time hunting for information that you already have, which lets you spend more time writing. If you take the time to do research on something, you should take the time to organize that research so that you can find the information when you need to use it.
Organization is the key to good writing. You need to organize your notes before you try to write anything, otherwise you will be wasting precious writing time. My way of organizing my background material is just one way to do it. You may find that my way doesn’t work for you. That’s ok. There is no absolute right way to do this. If it works for you, it’s the right way for you. If it doesn’t work for you, find a method that does work for you. You could create a table of contents for your notes with links to the relevant notes. Whatever works for you is your best method. My method is to have a virtual filing cabinet. Your’s may be a single document with a table of contents. It doesn’t matter how you organize your background material. It only matters that you organize it some way that works for you. I find that organizing my background work as I do it is much easier than trying to organize it after the fact, but that’s me. Your approach could be completely different. Do your background work, but don’t forget to organize it. You’ll be glad that you did.
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