Habakkuk 2:2 - The Lord answered me, "Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on a sign so that the message will be easy to read.
What do you do when you have so many ideas and you have no place to put them?
Of course, it's important to learn how to organize your writing ideas, but there are so many tools out there, what should you use.
Let me tell you, for years, I tried the "I'll remember them" approach, but that never worked out.
I also tried the "put them every in every new notebook, I buy". Now, I have notebooks stacked up with ideas, and I have to go through them to find what I'm looking for.
Please don't get me wrong, I'm not downing notebooks, I'm sure there will be a new one purchased in the very near future.
But when we get serious about writing and we have ideas coming at us left and right, we need a consistent place to put them so that we don't get too overwhelmed with trying to keep up with our ideas.
The Bible tells us, "Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on a sign so that the message will be easy to read." Habakkuk 2:2 (ERV)
When we are writing for God's people it's important that our message is clear. We can't entertain, encourage, and empower others if we don't know how to access our ideas.
What God is showing us needs to stand out so that people see Him through our words.
With that being said, I've been writing for years and have tried several sites and apps to keep track of my ideas and to keep me organized.
But too many tools can have the opposite outcome of what we desire. We waste time trying to find what we need instead of having it right where we need it.
It really is best to choose one tool (or as close to one as you can get) and work with that. If you outgrow it of course you should try something new.
In order to make the vision (what God shows us) clear, we need to know exactly where we can find the words He's giving us.
One tool that I've used often is Google Docs.
I'm not an affiliate for them, but I do think that if someone is on a budget that won't allow them to pay for other products, this is a great place to start, because it comes free with their email service.
Google Docs is a great way to keep you organized and here are three ways that you can use it.
Special identifiers or Tags
The easiest way to get organized is by giving each document a special identifier, some might call it a "tag".
Now, they don't have "tags" in the sense of adding a category, but you can create a special identifier in the title of your document.
For instance, you may be writing about changing bad habits. The easiest thing to do is to start with the identifier (or tag) "bad habits" and then give the document a name.
Here are some example titles:
Bad habits: how Christians can replace them with good ones
Bad habits: how to stop them
Bad habits: how they stop us from achieving our goals
I think you get where I'm going. This method will make it easy to search your Google Docs so that you can find what you're looking for easily. Remember you want to make it clear.
Maybe you don't know what category you want it to go in. Label it TBD_Title. TBD in this case is for "To Be Determined". You may have known that, but there are a lot of acronyms out there these days. I just wanted to be sure.
Try this method and see if it works for you. If it doesn't work, try my next option.
Folders in Google Docs is just like if you were to organize yourself at work. Similar documents go into the same folder.
Google Docs has electronic folders that you can create and add like documents to it.
So, even if you don't give a document a specific name, you can add it to a folder that has been categorized for that document.
This way you always know where to come back to it.
Even if you already have Google Docs and you want to get organized now. Start making folders, and add your documents to them.
Your story ideas and notes will be easy to find ,and you will have less stress because you don't have to search through a lot of "paperwork" to get to what you're looking for.
One of my favorite things to use is "Styles". When I have a long document, I use styles to create an outline right in the same document.
This way, when I want to move from chapter to chapter, or section to section I can do it with ease.
All I have to do is go into the sidebar, click the section I'm looking for and the link will take me right to it.
FYI, the styles dropdown menu is right next to the font drop down menu.
You can change the style by designing the text how you want it and clicking "apply to match" on any of the options you see.
This method has become very helpful when I'm editing. I can move from chapter to chapter with ease.
My goal is to help you find your written voice, to express the message that God has given you. Clarity is key and it starts with organization.
There are many methods to stay organized as a writer but these are three ways that I found useful.
I'm here to help you get around the barriers that stop you from finding your voice.
Organization can be elusive, but it can be conquered.
I encourage you to try these methods and see what works for you as you build your writing plan.
It is my hope that as you travel this writing journey, you will find more ways to get and remain organized.
When your ideas are organized that is one thing that won't stop you from writing.
You will be able to move seamlessly through your thoughts and build on to previous ideas as needed.
Until next time,