Ali Elle on being organised (insert sarcasm here).

I’m unorganised.

Anyone who knows me knows this. I’m also late. Constantly late. My best friends all know that I will be there for them, I’ll just be there half an hour after I’m supposed to be there. To make up for it I usually bring wine.400Alice-White-Rabbit_l

I’m always searching for that ONE way to keep track of everything – especially all my writing, but every time I try something it inevitably seems to be a phase until I find the next amazing app or gadget that’s going to solve all my worries.

If I stick to writing only, here are my numerous ways of recording information.

Firstly, notebooks. I love notebooks. I love the feeling of writing things down the old fashioned way. I get caught up in stores like “Paperchase” (I store in the UK I’ve fallen in love with) and “Kikki K” in Aus just browsing the notebooks. I feel that each notebook will serve a different purpose. I need a notebook for my recipes, one little one for my handbag, one beside the bed, a travel diary, an A4 one for my stories…. Dear me. Add to this that I rarely stick to those rules and use every notebook for everything. With one exception – the A4 notebooks for story ideas stay that way. It’s a terrible habit, and not at all organised. I feel bad for the trees. Until I saw the quote that said ‘Each time you open a book and read it, a tree smiles knowing there is life after death.’ Clearly written by some other paper addict, to make paper addicts such as myself feel better about the poor trees. It worked. I like to apply the same analogy to the use of notebooks. 

Then I use Evernote. Evernote is an excellent organisational device. Yet…
a) I don’t write my stories in there, notes only.
b) I’m not consistent.
This is an app I can use on my Mac, my android phone and an iPad and I STILL can’t use it right!

Then there is iWriter.  A very simple clean writing tool. It is a blank page with nothing fancy going on. It’s where I like to write the drafts of blog posts as there is nothing to distract you. The only “fancy” thing this app does (which syncs with apple devices, FYI) is have a focus switch, which means once you finish a sentence it fades to a pale grey so that only the sentence you are currently working on can be seen in black writing. It is supposed to help you focus on getting the words written as opposed to re-reading fresh work straight away.

Finally I have Scrivener to write my manuscripts. I love scrivener. Scrivener is one of the most affordable and well-developed writing applications on the market. Some of my favourite authors use scrivener, which was almost like an affirmation that it was money well spent ($45 USD if you’re wondering). With Scrivener it is so easy to keep scenes separate, pop them in chapters, move them around, collect images and develop character sketches to add to a resources folder. Exporting is a breeze whether it is for e-reader, PDF, RTF or DOC, you can do the lot.

Oh, WAIT! Then you have the devices and apps to SAVE all of this too. icloud. Dropbox (love it!) Hard Drives, flash drives, back up disks. UGH! I will say here though my favourite way to store my most important work is on Dropbox. I recently had my hard drive fail on my mac. Everything was lost.

I’m being a bit dramatic. My photo library was being stored externally, and my work is saved to dropbox. If not, then it wouldn’t have been purely dramatics. I would have lost every photo I’d taken for the last 10 years, and every word I’d written on my work in progress because at the time, I had no other backup device. I have since amended that process. But Dropbox saved me big time.

Despite all of this being at my fingertips, I am still unorganised. It must be my nature, but I swear I’m trying to change! After everything I have, today I was wracking my brains for the whereabouts of a few scenes I knew I had written but weren’t yet in my manuscript. I was editing the previous versions and I thought ‘I know I’ve done this…’ A very de-ja-vu moment. I scanned everything. Scrivener, iWriter, Evernote, my travel diary, my notebook, then it hit me….

It’s stored on a flash drive. Yep, while my Mac hard drive was being replaced I stored notes on a flash drive.

So as I move forward in my journey, I vow I will become more organised, I will have one method, whatever it is and I will stick to it!

We all need organisation in one form or another, whether it’s to organise the kids or the novel, or the job or the groceries. What are your methods? Do you use one app for EVERYTHING? Or do you have post-it-notes stuck to your mirror? What works for you? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I’m off to make a plan! Hmmm…should I write it in a notebook? Or on the fridge? Evernote? Maybe I can make my own app…Oh dear.

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