My Top Piece of Advice for a Creative Writer

I hear the words echoing in my hehis pasture press writing advicead, “I have one piece of advice for people that want to write a book. Get the book out of your head and write it!” I agree, but to get that book out of your head you need some form of organization to your thoughts. I have learned this the hard way.

My top piece of advice for a creative writer, in case you do not want to read my personal example of why I advise this, is to keep your journals, book notes, and creative writing ideas in order. Stay organized!

Today, I began sorting through many years of notes. Some are dated and neatly journaled in notebooks. Many are simply jotted-down notes scribbled on various pieces of paper with no dates. I do remember each story, and I clearly feel the emotion of each memory as I read the notes, but there is one big dilemma that comes with this jumble of handwritten thoughts and paper remnants, where do I start?

I asked my husband that exact question, where do I start? His response, “You start at the beginning (and then he quoted my birthdate).” Ugh. That helped, yet, it was no help at all. I have not written everything down since “the beginning,” and what I did journal in my earlier years, I did not keep. Those were secrets. Ha.

What I am compiling are notes from approximately the past 10 years, and more specifically, a time when my husband and I traveled over the road in a semi-truck. I have yet to spill the beans on some of these stories. We went through some highs and lows together, and I experienced some amazing connections and spiritual times. It is now time to share.

So, as I sit here with my nose burning and itching…my allergies to dust and old paper have worsened through the years, I am reminded of myself as a young child. My mother stood in my overly messy bedroom. With arms crossed, “You will clean this room today!” With a heart that felt as it could break, I sobbed, “But I do not know how!” She didn’t understand how I could not know how to clean my room, “You simply clean it!” I needed a starting point. My advice to that little girl today would be, “Start in small increments. Clean a section “this” big, and then clean the next section.”

I believe the virtual advice that I just gave to that young girl, is my “go-to” advice for myself today. How do I get through all of these random notes? Start with a small handful and work your way through. Looking at the BIG pile will only add to your frustration. That big pile is comprised of many small notes. Just start where you can and it will fall into place.

Now that you know the background of my story, I will repeat: If you are a new creative writer, one who plans to eventually write a book, or even a timeline of blog posts, keep your notes in order (dated, and all in one place). Period.

Yeah. Sounds like great advice to me. Now, I suppose it is time to laugh (at myself). And, I just did… One foot forward, one baby step at a time. Onwards to this mountain of paper.

How about you, do you have any funny writing-related stories, especially those that center around the need, or lack of, organization?

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