The Organized Novelist

- by Cyndy Salzmann

413-03854For the past year or so, NINC bloggers have provided excellent insight and information on the writing life. My approach as a professional organizer turned novelist is to offer some tips on managing your “real” life so you have time for a “writing” life. Or, at least, avoid a nervous breakdown.

So let’s get to it.

One of the first things I learned as a professional organizer is the importance of making lists. Unfortunately, I am soooo not a ‘list” type of girl. I had convinced myself that making lists took away the “spontaneity” of life. The creativity. The fun.

It didn’t take long to realize that it is definitely not fun to waste precious writing time because I’ve forgotten for the third time to pick-up some necessity at the grocery store. Like toilet paper. Or treats for the soccer team.


Just as our desks can become cluttered, so can our minds. And as we age, there’s less room for the important stuff – much less clutter. I have enough trouble remembering where I parked the car at the mall.

So… I’ve made myself become a “list person.”  One of my favorite lists is the magnetized pad for the refrigerator pictured above. I use it to jot down stuff I need to do or purchase.

I love this list for a lot of reasons. It’s cute. It’s funny. And it gives my mind the space it needs for creativity.

How about you? Do you use lists? If so, how does this tool help your writing?


One comments

  1. I use lists when my head is overflowing.

    For real-life type things, that means making a list depresses me, because it means I have more to do than I can hold in my head. Ack!

    For writing, it’s not nearly as depressing . I make lists of things I need to address in a manuscript. This usually doesn’t happen until I’m starting the editing process, and the lists usually show up in the white space of the first page. With the lists slanting off to the side, then crawling down margins and generally becoming illegible to anyone else (and sometimes to me.)

    IOW, for writing, I make unorganized lists!