Author Stuff, Writing

My creative process: How I organize my work

I’m big on plotting, but I’m also big on having some basic structure and organisation in place. For my writing this means I keep my work in a specific hierarchy of folders. I also try to add the number of files the folder contains in the title. This gives me the clarity I need so I don’t get overwhelmed and feel lost, which happens to me easily as an Autistic writer as well as someone writing with ADD.

Image of a binder with papers portraying graphs and flow charts with text underneath saying “Elisa Winther’s MY CREATIVE PROCESS, on how I write my books, from inspiration to finalized manuscripts.

My writing folders’ structure

The folder structure I came up with isn’t the first version I made, nor will it be the last. It’ll probably keep evolving as I learn and as my needs change. At the moment, my writing folder is organized by different stages of progress, so I have the following folders:

  • Concept
  • Brainstorming
  • Outlined
  • Drafting
  • First draft
  • First read-through
  • Revisions or rewrites
  • Awaiting feedback
  • Revising
  • Final proofing
  • Manuscript

Aside from these folders I also have one specially for my shelved works.

Naming my files

Each project gets their own folder, starting with the year I came up with the concept, followed by the working title, such as “(2016) Salandrine”. Once I’ve come up with the actual title I update the folder name.

The project folders move to the specific folder of which stage they’re in. So Salandrine’s still in “Drafting”. I assume these folder names speak for themselves, but if you’re making your own, you’ll probably go with your own system anyway.

Inside the project folders I have all the files connected to the project. I name each file with the year, title, version number, and what type of file it is. So for Salandrine I have “2016 Salandrine vs8 – draft”. Usually I start with a concept, followed with an outline, then a draft.

So this is how I keep my work organized. What about you? What does your writing folder look like? Do you like to keep them tightly organized or keep things free and open?

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