Laws of Nature / Man vs Nature / writing

How I Organize My Writing

During my promo for my latest prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature. one of my wonderful hosts posted this article  I wrote about how I organize my writing to produce ‘about’ a book a year. In case missed it, here’s a revisit:


I am by nature a scheduled person. I thrive on organization, logic, and an orderly approach. In the case of my writing, I have TODO lists all over the place–and follow them. This one is in Google Keep which keeps me synced across all my digital devices:

I had about ten items on the Laws of Nature TODO list, prior to launch, which I thankfully completed.

Prior to a final read-through, I spend a lot of time on Autocrit, figuring out if I’m communicating clearly. They have a lot of online tools that go well beyond grammar and spelling. Some of my favorites are repeated words, cliches, weak starts to paragraphs, passive voice, and filler words. Here’s how I did at one point in my editing:

Once the book is written, publishing can be complicated. There are lots of option  and their requirements are never the same. I publish print and digital to KDP–Kindle–and another Kindle format for educators called Ignite. Each has different guidelines for things like page size, submittal requirements, file type, with or without a cover, and more. I keep that on a spreadsheet:.

This is much more involved for those of you who also publish through B&N, Smashwords, Nook, and all the rest.

To organize my series in my own head, I post Milestones on the side of my blog, WordDreams. It tells readers when the next book in the series is expected and reminds me that I’ve made a commitment to a timely publication of books–about one a year.

Of course, WordPress Milestones are easy to edit and I have already done so several times. I don’t mind rethinking goals.

I’m interested in what others do to keep on schedule. Share that in the comments section.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Spring 2022.

78 thoughts on “How I Organize My Writing

  1. -grin- I love how you and Diana are both highly organised plotters yet your writing flows naturally and easily.
    I’m something of a hybrid. I did technical writing for about ten years before I ever dreamt of writing fiction, so I have to do the exact opposite, otherwise my writing sounds like a how-to – precise, clear, logical, boring. 😀
    I used music to create a kind of ‘white noise’ that shuts off that super logical side of my brain, but ultimately, everything I write has to make sense so while I’ll pants for the first 20,000 – 30,000 words, and the last 20 to 30 thousand, I have to plot the middle.
    Of course when I start out with in the middle is still quite fluid because there are usually multiple ways of getting from A to Z, and I often don’t recognize which route is best until I’ve tried a couple of them. So back to the plotting.
    Not the most effective way to write fiction but I can’t do it any other way.
    I guess the bottom line is that we all have to find the process that works for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jacqui – I quite imagine you being ‘totally organised’ – makes sense. I see your comments and others’ about Keep and Evernote … I’ve never really had to be that organised … i.e. I can do what I need to do whenever – committees/meetings obviously I need to follow on date and on time … I manage – just!! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I get that about you and highly respect your organizational skills and structure (Me, too), Jacqui. Having benchmarks, goals, and schedules that are visible is so helpful. I have my outlook calendar color-coded and that visual keeps me on track (yeah I’m sort of retired but I have a lot of things on my calendar, LOL)! I’m intrigued by your Google Keep–will have to check that out. Sorry late to comment–how am I so busy? I always look forward to your next book!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Compared to yours, mine lists are pretty shoddy, and I admit that a lot of it is kept in my head, which is probably not the best idea. I have a paper planner and write down the writing tasks, (including promo stuff) for each day of the week. When I’m doing BookFunnel promos, I keep them on Post-It notes attached to my computer. This is normal week stuff. Once I’ve completed the final edit, formatted the book, then hired the jacket designer and locked down a launch date, then the lists become much more detailed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing tips on being organized!.. however, I try to not get too organized as that takes some of the adventure out of life… just the other day I were looking for a misplace pen and I were amazed at what I found during the searching process!!.. “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming; “Wow! What a ride!” ( Hunter S. Thompson)… 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Until we meet again…

    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face
    The rains fall soft upon your fields
    May green be the grass you walk on
    May blue be the skies above you
    May pure be the joys that surround you
    May true be the hearts that love you.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m impressed by your commitment and organization. I’m guessing that most of us fall short in that regard. I’d never heard of Autocrit until your post. Do you hire an editor after writing multiple revisions and using Autocrit, or is this a substitute for hiring an editor?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I use Evernote to keep track of just about everything. The fact that it has a web clipper is vital for novel research and researching magazines to send stories and poems. I’ve recently discovered a couple of organizing features in Scribner that are saving me time. I’d be completely lost without Evernote!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I admire how organized you are, Jacqui! I admit to being the opposite. If I make a list I usually lose it, but at least once I write it down , I tend to remember it. I keep everything in my head, which is getting harder and harder to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. You’re incrediby organized and methodical when it comes to your books, Jacqui. It’s interesting to get your reports about progress on your goals. I’m that way about writing, but not at all that way about the other activities that go on parallel to the creative part. Those are completely haphazard. Ha ha. Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Excellent tips for ways to stay organized! Being in the middle of a blog tour, I can attest to the fact that staying organized is a must! Thanks for sharing these. I’m going to incorporate them into my life to make it all easier!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: How I Organize My Writing — – uwerolandgross

  12. My right brain is hurting while I read your organization chart. Wow your amazing no wonder you get so much done. I am trying Save the Cat as a way to organize my characters and story. Next write my story then have my marketing company Bublish do the heavy lifting of editing and book organization. You go girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is impressive, Jacqui. You’re wise to allow yourself to rethink your goals since sometimes life gets in the way. I track everything, but like Priscilla, I write it all in my planner. The joy of writing things down in different colored pens is too great to make the switch.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Sounds like a plan, Jacqui! Like others, I’ve kludged together what works for me, and call it 7-Step Storytelling. It incorporates many elements of your process.

    To keep it all straight in my head, I break down the writing elephant into three big chunks: Write the Book; Publish the Book; Promote the Book. The 7 steps help me divide the first chunk into bite-sized morsels for busy people.

    Because life often interferes with writing, I can work on (cook?) any of those morsels without losing track of where I am. Thanks for another excellent dose of inspiration and instruction!

    Liked by 1 person

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