As every day writers we often, especially with bigger projects, find ourselves surrounded by tons of notes, research, and drafts. It is our job to make sense of it. We need good organizational skills to wrangle it into some kind of order.
Sometimes that may require spreading out the materials to see it at all once. Surveying the lay of the land. One organizational strategy we might use is to see what matches with what.
Traditional writing lessons tell us that each paragraph must have a theme and that it should be stated up front. In the first sentence, if possible. Under it can then be filed all the material that’s related, that supports the theme. You make a bold statement, you need to be able to back it up.
As writers we get to pull apart a subject. As we answer the questions what are we trying to say, where does that go, how do I want this to flow, we come to see how different pieces relate to each other.
Organizing brings peace to chaos, wherever it hides. Whether that’s a complicated procedure, the contents of a drawer, or how we feel about most anything we might have a care about.
When we find ourselves in a snarl, where our needs are getting tangled up in others, pens become increasingly hard to find, or papers (or emails) threaten to take over, we can bring those same skills to bear.
Laying out the components of the problem (as well as everything in the drawer) shows what goes with what. With the pieces sorted we can make decisions about how we’d prefer it to be. This is important information. It creates a map for finding our way out of chaos.
We can break down the issue into smaller pieces, like a paragraph. What are the points we want to make? What are the various pieces of whatever has us feeling out of control?
Tame wild thoughts by spilling them out. Then organize them. As you see the relationships, you will be better able to see where the pieces fit together. And soon a story will appear. One you can make sense of.