Blog Post

Keeping Your Ideas Organized

As writers we are creative, innovative, and constantly working on ideas. So, what happens when you have too many ideas? Well, your mind start to look like this…

Too many ideas and not enough time!

I know that I have several ideas that I want to write about and I get so frustrated when it comes to organizing them. You can organize them in the traditional sense like

  • Chronological
  • Logical Order
  • Climactic Order
  • Random Order
  • Spatial Order

And so on… We all have our own process of organizing. There are online and physical binders.

There are so many ways to organize your ideas. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with and help me to organize. I hope you’ll find they help you too.

Ways to Organize Ideas

1. Notebooks and Binders

Honestly, I have a notebook full of ideas I’d love to write about. To keep it all organized, I have a binder that corresponds to each idea. Inside that section of the binder, I have many cool things I’ll share.

First, I keep research on places, history, climate, weather etc. I have a slew of pictures of scenery, architecture, businesses, etc. I keep a list of character names I’d like to use. There are things like language, accents, cultural norms, societal and political affiliations etc. I really have so many things that I put into these files to keep it all organized.

If you don’t feel you can afford printing or you hate paper, you can do this on your computer as well.

Be Creative and Add What You Need

2. Storyboards

I’m a huge fan of making storyboards. It not only helps me to have it on a full wall in my room, it helps with organizing my thoughts and ideas. This tool is essentially an outline of your story. If you have lots of ideas and haven’t started mapping it out, THAT’S OKAY. You can use this to post all your ideas in a timeline fashion. Then you can prioritize which ideas you want to work on first.

3. Sketches, Drawings, or Pictures

I love to draw when I have the time. It helps me to solidify my ideas. If you can doodle here and there, it’ll help you a lot. I love to put pictures on my storyboard of small ideas. It could be as simple as a type of food or clothing. It can be as complicated as world building or character creation. The sky is the limit. Whatever images you can use to help you organize your ideas, go for it.

I love to draw and sketch and put these in my binders or on my storyboards to keep them together. It also files it away for later when you get back to working on that idea. Or it gives you something to look forward to in the future. If you want, you can use an iPad or other technology material to draw. There are even apps to help you out.

4. Excel Spreadsheets

I use excel for a few different things. I use this in my character traits worksheet. It gives you the ability to break down a character in many aspects. Here are the main ones I use:

  • Basic
  • Family/Culture/Religion
  • School/Work/Home
  • Psychology
  • Astrology/Physiology
  • Objects/Personal Possessions
  • Misc..

Inside of each tab there is a list of things to write down about a character. I know my character inside and out before I even start writing my story. This is one of my personal quirks. I feel I need to know who my character is, what their motivations are, and all aspects that surround them. I may not use all this information, but at least I know my character better than anyone ever will.

From my personal Computer. This is what I see in a blank Character Development Worksheet

5. Allow yourself to Stress About It!

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed with ideas. Guess what? You’re amazing for the ideas you’ve come up with. Marinate in that accomplishment. Will they all be gems? No! That’s okay. Keep telling yourself that it’s okay to throw out what doesn’t work. The world will not end, I promise. Your heart may break a little, but it can mend.

Don’t stress too hard about throwing stuff out and coming up with new. Remember you cant grow unless you change. Change is always the best way to get out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with being in a comfort zone, but remember nothing grows there. Freak out if you get upset. Often times people want to suppress their feelings. Don’t! Stress about it for a little while and then move on.

It’s Gonna Be Okay!

There are five steps to help you out. There are many more ways to organize ideas and I’m sure you’ve come across some yourself. But I hope these will help you. I enjoy organizing and putting things in a special place. I’m a LEO! It’s in my blood.

So, remember to take a breath and go at your own pace. Organizing can be done in millions of ways. I love the quote:

“A man’s mess is another’s sanity.”

I don’t remember who said it, but I felt it was appropriate for this post. No two people are the same when it comes to organizing ideas.

Keep writing and congratulations on your growing idea list. 🙂

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