If you’ve ever wondered how a book takes shape, step into my storage closet. I’m always in search of interesting etiquette articles and when I find them, I generally file them away in this handy dandy mailbox storage unit (which I keep in my storage closet).
I find some of my articles on the Internet and I find others at my gym. That’s right…the gym! Just before I step on the treadmill or the elliptical machine, I thumb through the magazine racks for varied publications, from food to business to lifestyle to fashion. If I stumble upon an interesting article or quote, I’ll tear it out of the magazine and keep it for future reference. (I apologize if this offends anyone.) When I get home, I write the subject, date, and source at the top of the article and file it in one of the slots in this storage unit.
Each slot of my filing unit is dedicated to a chapter in my new book, Poised for Success (St. Martin’s Press, November 2011). Whenever I’m ready to write a new chapter, I pull all the articles out of their slot, organize them, highlight any interesting tidbits, statistics or quotes, and then type the information into a file on my computer. This becomes the framework of my chapter.
If I need more material, I scan the Internet and read books or periodicals related to the subject matter I’m researching. Before I know it, I have enough information to complete a chapter (or two). I’ve learned that writing a book is much easier when you stay organized and tackle it one file at a time!
Share your tips!
How do you structure your files? If you have an effective filing system for your articles, please share your ideas in the comments section. If you file your articles electronically, what program do you use? Let’s help each other improve!