Organizing My Brain Bins

Chevron Binder Organizing our house, the one we’ve basically outgrown, is lingering at the top of my priority list lately. I’ve picked up additional storage bins for little things like Matchbox Cars and Polly Pockets and reevaluating our space now that we’re done with oversized toddler toys.

Juggling multiple writing projects feels similar. Characters from the collection I’m editing tangle with those in a just-started short story. Blog posts and freelance pitches are scattered on the floor, just waiting to be chosen for an afternoon speed-writing session. Other characters and story lines stay on the periphery, somehow napping through all the noise.

Unfortunately, picking up the clutter in my brain isn’t as simple as buying another storage system. I’ve been trying to incorporate calendars, binders, and file folders to stay organized as much as possible. Since my desk is in the corner of our living room, keeping the clutter minimal is crucial.


For a long time I tried to find an optimal planner system because I love having a paper calendar available. For some reason my brain doesn’t process the information electronically in the same way as when I have a physical copy sitting in my hands.

I’m currently using a really basic calendar, copied a few times. I use each copy for something different: social commitments, blog posts, freelance deadlines and workouts. Some people might find it tedious, but it helps me to have each area on a different page so I can see very quickly if I’m over-scheduling in a particular segment. (Color coded online calendars do this, too, if you prefer electronic.)

File Folders

I love pretty office supplies, so purchasing a set of black and white patterned file folders served the dual purpose of helping me organize a bit better and giving me the chance to wander the office supply aisles for a bit. I have a folder for finished and invoiced projects, one for school papers that need to be tended to and one for each of my current writing projects. I keep notes and edited drafts in the folders, so I can grab one when inspiration strikes or to take with me if I’m going somewhere I might have time to write for a while.


For things I don’t need every day (year-long school calendars, style guides, contracts) I keep a few different binders near my desk. They’re easy to grab for reference yet keep everything neat and out of the way. And I may have purchased an adorable chevron binder while picking up file folders.

Organizing all the paper involved with writing might not seem important. For me, taking the time to organize has helped my productivity level when I actually do have the time to sit and write. And getting more done in less time is just as important as keeping LEGO pieces off the floor.

How do you organize your writing projects? Do you prefer paper or electronic organization?

2 Responses to Organizing My Brain Bins
  1. Eric Storch
    December 3, 2012 | 7:58 am

    Before I found Scrivener, my writing projects were a mess of written notes, computer files and just stuff in my head.

    Now, I can still write when and where-ever, I just need to remember to import it into the Scrivener project. That way, everything’s on the same screen no matter where it came from.

    (Not meant to be a commercial, sorry)

  2. Brianna
    December 3, 2012 | 11:23 am

    I have a folder on my computer for each project. Each draft gets a number. If I’m doing a prompt to help move a story along, I file it in the folder with the novel it goes with. I don’t print drafts – too costly and a waste of paper.