now that i’ve finally gotten organized, we’ve hit the apocalypse. of course.

Am I prepared? Probably not.
Do I care? Not particularly.

Let me just say, I’m not organized or ready for any type of Apocalypse at all. I’m supposed to be. I live in Washington and we’re on the legendary Ring of Fire.  You think I would be, I’m not. In fact, if any type of end-of-the-world situation occured, I’d pray I was at work because we have a shit ton of safety gear there.

Sure, it had to take several other major world disasters (four) for my office to get it through their heads that we needed some type of emergency plan, but it’s better late than never, right?

Speaking of disasters…

Grab your emergency kit and be prepared to hunker down, because we’re approaching Mayanmageddon!

I think I’ll celebrate 12/22/12, the passing of Mayanmageddon, by watching Captain America.

Or, something… American.

Yeah.

Neither here nor there, want to know how I’m spending today? I’ll be writing!  Is that a shocker? Well, guess what! I’ve actually been writing! Not so much in paragraph form, but along the lines of world-building. You see, earlier this week a Eureka! moment cleared away some roadblocks I’ve encountered. My notes are getting longer and longer by the hour! I’m merely taking a break from my Real Life hours to keep in touch with the most important people on the planet. YOU!  Without you, I have no reason to write at all… Other than the incredibly potent urge to keep my fingers flying on my keyboard, or that pen attached to the paper, dispelling all of the voices and thoughts from

Muse > Brain > Pen > Paper

Oh wait… That made it sound like I have voices in my head, like it’s a bad thing…  Well, tough noogies.  They’re there.

In the spirit of this rare extra time that I have outside of my Daily Life which has been committed to writing and eating dinner with Pilot, it occurred to me that my outlining process might be of interest to you.

<sensing you turning off your computer.>  Wait!  Wait!  Don’t reach for that mouse!

<sensing you pausing.>  What? You find the subject boring?

<placing my hand on your mouse and pulling the USB cord out.>  I promise!  It won’t be boring!

<nodding at your shaking head.>  It will!  This subject will be funny!

(I hope.)

Here’s something you should know: I’ve always been an avid note taker.

Oh sure, anything related to movie or TV, is committed to memory.

First television show to display a toilet?

Why, Leave It to Beaver, of course!

Random factoids that will get me nothing except raised eyebrows?  No problemo.

The plastic band wrapped around the end of a shoelace?

It’s called an “aglet”

What’s the #1 thing a person should never do during an interview?

Flatulate.

Hey, it’s an important fact! My mother won a radio contest with that answer!

And food orders?  That’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Pssht! Piece of cake, pun intended.

You might recall during one of my earlier posts that I mentioned about working (a LOT) to put myself through school from age 14 forward. Many of those positions were in the food industry. Let me put it this way:

If I’m with a group of up to 10 people (10 is my maximum), I can listen to each person place their order and recite it back to you verbatim without having written anything down.

And yes, this includes any requested “substitutions,” “add ons” or with every person talking over each other like they’re buying and selling stock as if their lives depended on it.

Yes, I’m that good.

However…

With everything else, I have the (hypothesized) memory of a goldfish, especially if it’s important or may have a drastic effect on my life.  Such things as:

1. Not everyone-
<politely coughing.> aka “Boss”
wants to hear about the funny and inappropriate thing your niece or nephew said last weekend;

2. Be sure to check your all-black outfit under bright lights to make sure any brightly-colored and patterned underwear isn’t showing before exiting the premises; or

3. That your husband went with you to the mall before you leave the parking lot.

I’ve only had issues with two of the above-listed items.

Due to this personal flaw, a deeply felt need to notate anything I wish to recall five seconds from hearing it is an important action I have to weave into my Daily and Real Life.

Now?

Under the (genius) suggestion of a fellow writer who left a comment on Facebook, she mentioned that she uses Excel (or some other worksheet or tabling program) for outlining her book.

WHAT?!

Whoever that woman was, unfortunately her name eludes me at the moment, I want to personally THANK YOU. You have saved my life.

Or, rather, my characters’ lives!

I was able to resurrect a long-dormant project due to storing my notes this way!

Each character has a tab for descriptions and character summaries. Each chapter is its own tab.  It’s so easy to move ideas and notes around until I have this outline locked down.  (I tend to skip hither and yon with conversations, ideas, environment concepts, etc., so having an easily flexible note-keeping device is ESSENTIAL.)

Yes. All caps. Bolded. Underlined. That’s how much this woman has saved my life.

Over time, I have found if I keep penning all of those thoughts and ideas, when I look back I have the grounds for a pretty decent story.  Sometimes weaving bits and pieces-

Notice this blog’s title in there? Huh, huh? <nudge, nudge.> Didya, didya, didya?

-of my own traits (and faults) with some life experiences.

In my home life?  I’m not as organized.  Mostly due to space and limited time.  If I had my way, I would have unlimited funds and live in Storables.

Now, thankfully due to this amazing woman, she has given me an incredible gift. The ability to ORGANIZE.  Now, you may be surprised to find I am almost OCD at work. My job forces me to be as detailed and ready for anything (Mayanmageddon) as possible.  Being the assistant to around 10 or 11 people will do that to you.

If you’ve never tried using Excel for note storage, I suggest giving it a go!  Especially once you recognize that writing a long document-

Say, this post, perhaps?

It’s more difficult to go to an earlier thought and have to scroll through pages and pages of information. By the time you arrive at your destination, you forget what you were looking for in the first place, or you get distracted by things on the way and never fix or write down what you originally wanted.

Hmm… I’m sensing some deep (semi-deep?) thought coming up here… Yes, just maybe…

Often, we are distracted by so many things that we forget what is important, our core, our entire being for living.  I believe my purpose was to be a storyteller.  At least, that’s where I always end up.  Writing something.  Needing to write something.  It’s almost uncontrollable the need to either recall a memory and share it, or jotting down a thought or two.  Now with this new method, I’m even more uber-organized that I ever thought possible!

So with laptop in hand, fingers at the ready and Excel on my screen, I am ready to continue on this journey that is: the path to publication!

(Someday soon, I hope!)

<fingers crossed.>

2 thoughts on “now that i’ve finally gotten organized, we’ve hit the apocalypse. of course.

  1. PJ says:

    It sounds like you’re a pantster–writing by the seat of your pants and figuring the story out as you go. (You’re in some great company, if you are. Lots of excellent writers write that way.) I’m a plotster, which means I do leave some space for things to develop on their own, but I plot out the book from A-Z before I begin writing. Some writers find that it takes the fun out of the process, but I find it helps me organize and gets me through the novel–the goal! LOL! I love hearing about your process. Thanks for the post.

    Like

    • I always have a basic outline of my whole story, with main plot points I wish to have occur in certain chapters, but I like to let the details fill themselves in as I work. I’m waaay too Type-A not to work with some type of bone structure.

      Like

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