The Well-Organized Writer by Rebecca Heflin

Untitled design (2)I used to be an advocate of the DayTimer. Remember those? The bulky all-in-one organizers where you kept your calendar, contacts, to-do lists, notes, maybe even your expense reports? If it wasn’t in my DayTimer, it didn’t happen or wasn’t going to happen. But with the advent of the smartphone, the trusty old DayTimer fell by the wayside. I keep everything in my phone now. My calendar, contacts, to-do lists, notes (even voice memos), grocery lists, reminders, etc. You name it, it’s likely in my phone.

Recently, however, I’ve taken another look at the old-fashioned organizer system, especially after an article in the January 2017 issue of RWA.

With writing deadlines, release dates, marketing and promo, book signings, appearances, blog posts (like this one) etc., I couldn’t see the big picture with my phone (or iPad for that matter). I found myself shuffling between my phone, a Word-created calendar, and a calendar on my computer desktop. So, I ordered an organizing system – one recommended in the RWA article, and I’m loving it.

I have my monthly calendar, which also includes a goals and to-do-list, where I can see the big picture and plan ahead. Then I have a weekly view, where I can get more granular. Of course, it also includes note pages, and a nifty laminated list where I can make notes in dry erase marker. It’s really helped me stay organized with all I have going on this year.

Of course, I haven’t found one system that has it all. The paper-based organizer is bulky, just like the DayTimer was, and I don’t want to carry it with me. My purse already feels like it’s full of bricks. So I leave it open on my desk and refer to it daily to see what’s up that day and where I need to be tomorrow. It also shows me where I could be getting overloaded with too many commitments.

There are pros and cons to each system. Here are a few:

Method cropped

I’m still working on my system, but so far so good. What system do you use to keep yourself organized?


About Rebecca Heflin

I've dreamed of writing romantic fiction since I was fifteen and my older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to me and told me to read it. Now I write women's fiction and contemporary romance under the name Rebecca Heflin. In case you're wondering, Rebecca Heflin is an abbreviated version of my great-great grandmother's name: Sarah Anne Rebecca Heflin Apple Smith. Whew! And you wondered why I shortened it. When not passionately pursuing my dream, I am busy with my day-job at a large state university or running the non-profit cancer organization my husband and I founded. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, Savvy Authors, and Florida Writers Association. My mountain-climbing husband and I live at sea level in sunny Florida.
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8 Responses to The Well-Organized Writer by Rebecca Heflin

  1. Ahh- one of my favorite topics. Although I love tech- iMac, iPad Pro, iPhone 7- bring it on- I agree with you- it’s hard to see the big picture. I looked at the bullet journal- not for me either. I am list/organized person- but lists start out pristine and then get all marked up and I add stars and arrows etc. what to do? Currently I use file cards. One card has the big picture for the week. And I have a separate card for each task. That way when I finish a task, I remove the card form my little pile. No messy check offs I can easily sort and prioritize the cards. Thanks for a good post

  2. Beth Carter says:

    Hahaha. A system? Organized?!!!! You haven’t yet met me. But I get it all done (somehow). Fun post.

  3. gailingis says:

    Rebecca, I’ve tried the phone, but you are right, it doesn’t show the big picture. I’m still in the day-timer system, for the last 45 years. love my 3×5 see a week calendar. I used to have the giant day-timer, but for the last fifteen or so years, it’s the small one. It’s my life line and work well. The system is fab, and has all my appointments. Can’t stand any other method I have tried.

  4. I have an 8.5 x 11 page per month paper calendar for my writing stuff (along with paper notes) and the phone calendar for all of life’s daily junk. It’s working so far.

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