Whether you are writing a novel or running a business, you realize the importance of being organized. It saves time, makes finding things easier, allows for more productivity, provides safety (less things to trip over), but most of all it opens the gates of creativity.
Let's examine each benefit for our writing.
1. Save time. Keep a notebook (pretty or practical). Keep a big one near your writing station. Keep small ones with you, in your car, pocket, purse, bedside, everywhere you are. When you finally figure out how to get your protagonist to meet his long lost mother, and you are sitting in traffic, you need to get that idea down on paper. Now. If you are driving, leave yourself a handsfree voice message. Getting your brilliant ideas down immediately will save you time later trying to remember or recreate them.
2. Find things. Now that you have a notebook (or 2 or 3), you can easily refer to your ideas and work with them when you finally do sit down to write. Keep all your ideas on paper when possible. If you write something on a napkin in a restaurant, stuff it in your pocket and tape it in your notebook when you get home. Your future self will thank you.
3. Be productive. You're rolling now! You have a notebook (several). You are keeping track of your ideas. You are not wasting time trying to remember those midnight epiphanies, because they are all right next to you. Be sure to make that notebook even more useful by attaching index tabs with categories for: plot, characters, setting, themes and motifs, random lines, resources, scene ideas, etc. If you want, you can always translate these physical notebooks into a Word Notebook (my personal fave) or an application like Scrivener or Inspiration.
4. Be safe. This is no joke. Being organized keeps your story safe. Following the first 3 rules ensures you won't accidentally give your character blue eyes in chapter 1 and brown eyes in chapter 7. Being organized prevents accidents. Don't trip up your readers with messy plot structures or untidy character sketches. Know where to go for help. I have Pixar's 22 Tips taped under my laptop.
That's it. Four reasons to be organized; four benefits for being organized.
So, now that your writing world is in order, get writing! Create. (Be sure to share your own tips for staying organized with us.)