Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'm Really Going to Get Organized This Time

I made my deadline for the revision of A Stitch in Crime. Thanks to being able to email it, I was able to work on it up until almost the last minute. My editor needed it Monday, and I sent it Sunday night with hours to spare. I know organization was supposed to be last weeks topic and I don’t remember if there was a special topic for this week.

I sort of zoned out once I sent off the revision. But now I am interested in getting organized - at least to get rid of the papers that are everywhere left from the revision. I still prefer reading a hard copy and so had printed up the version of my manuscript my editor sent. I’m hoping to get my work room a little organized before I begin on book 5. I have already started gathering magazine articles, newspaper pieces and pictures from magazines that have things related to what I’m going to be writing about. I like to hang them on a foam board, so I can look at them while I work.

I want to try another form of organizing. I have always had good intentions with my crochet projects, but somehow I keep ending up with loose post it notes with information about something I was making with no idea what it was or where the project is. I also tend to write notes on the fly in one of many, many soft cover Moleskine notebooks I have. I love these notebooks. They come three in a pack and have black or tan paper covers. I found them once on a trip to Napa at the Coppola Winery. They were in the gift shop along with some black pencils and were touted as favorites of Francis Ford Coppola. It was love at first writing, but at that time I couldn’t find them any place else. So when they started turning up in stores, I was so excited to be able to get them, I just bought a package whether I needed them right then or not. Then I worried they’d stop making them, so I had another reason to keep loading up. I’m embarrassed to admit how many unopened packages of notebooks I have on the shelf behind me.

They are great to tuck in a purse or crochet bag. The only problem is, they all look the same, so I remember I wrote something down in one of the notebooks, but which one?

So, my big plan is to take the big hard covered Moleskin notebook I have and make it a project notebook. The first entry will be for the crocheted cactus plant I want to make as gift for someone. I found a couple of patterns, but none are quite what I have in mind, so I’m going to have to create my own pattern. What I want to do is keep track of everything in this notebook. Even the attempts that don’t work. Ideally, I’d like to put a photo of the finished product - assuming there is one. I want to note what kind of yarn and hooks I try and which ones I like.

I’d like to do the same thing for everything I make from now on. I have already foreseen a problem. What if I start on the cactus and am keeping notes, but then set it aside for awhile and start making a scarf. Where do I start the notes for the scarf? I could leave blank pages for the rest of the cactus notes, but how many? Uh oh. Besides there’s a good chance that before I finished the cactus plant or the scarf, I’d have several more projects going. Oh, dear, I haven’t even taken the plastic off the notebook and I’m already sure it’s going to end up a mess with notes in the margin in tiny writing that I can’t read because I ran out of space.

Okay, even though I’ve already almost talked myself out of the project notebook, I’m going to try anyway. And if succeed with the cactus, I’ll put a photo in my next week’s blog.


Monica Ferris said...

Oh, dear, you make me realize what I sound like when I try to get organized -- and what a futile project getting organized can be! LOL Still, I make a stab at it every so often and even if the result is only a clear desk and work area for a week, it's worth it. At least now I realize I'm not alone.

Terri Thayer said...

I found a project notebook in the office supply store and started entering my unfinished projects in it with the intention of putting in pics and date finished. Blah, blah, yeah right. Recently found it. Last entry: 2 years ago, the day I bought the thing.

Can't wait to to see the crocheted cactus!

Betty Hechtman said...

It is so nice to know I'm not alone either, Monica. I always imagine everyone else has everything in perfectly marked files.

Terri, I think my project notebook is going to turn out like yours - that's if I ever really start it. I did start the crochet cactus and have great hopes for it.

Julie said...

What about a looseleaf project notebook? If I decide to keep my notes, etc., on a project, usually because it's something I may/will make again (I have a baby sweater I make for any baby on the way) I put all the information in a plastic page protector and put that in a 3-ring binder. Understand that I can't help this organizing thing, I'm a librarian; it's what we do. I was being overwhelmed by piles of needlework magazines several years ago, so I bought some big binders, a large box of page protectors, and went through the magazines, tearing out the patterns I wanted to keep, and happily tossing the bulk of the paper. Reduced the piles to 5 binders, with categories including knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch, and some sub-categories like Christmas patterns, baby things, etc. Freed up much space, and I can find a particular pattern without digging thru stacks of magazines. It's a librarian thing, but it works.

Betty Hechtman said...

Julie, I like your ideas. The plastic page protectors sound like a good way to keep everything together. You could even stick in a swatch of the yarn.

Planner said...

I'm also on a mission to get organized, with few results so far, but lots of resolve.

I recently started crocheting again after a long hiatus. I went through my closets and found more abandoned projects than I care to admit to. I don't even remember what some of the projects were, and I am determined that all projects going forward will be documented.

One organizing tool that I am actually enjoying keeping up to date is Microsoft Office OneNote, and it's almost always open on my computer and ready to receive or dispense information. It's a digital notebook where you can record all sorts of stray notes and keep them organized as if they were in a real notebook. I have a tab for my crafts with a list of the projects I am currently making (and hope to make in the future) where I am noting the yarn I purchased and the pattern source. If I find patterns on the Internet, I can copy them into OneNote, along with hyperlinks to interesting resources. You can put pictures next to the projects, too.

I have tabs for everything I can think of to keep me organized--banking, on-line receipts and confirmations (so I don't have to waste paper printing them), goals and ideas, travel, health issues, and my lengthy and often-neglected to-do list.

I can search through all the pages in case I forget which tab I put something under. Very handy. Of course, I need to be good about backing up these key files on my computer.

Since OneNote is easy and convenient, I am keeping up with it. Now, if I can only get everything else organized....

Good luck, Betty! You are definitely not alone!

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, I'm impressed with your organizing. I'll have to check out OneNote. Good luck with your crocheting.