April 17, 2013

Organizing My Computer by Bryan Norford

I was taught that my desk should show some disorganization. If it was too messy I was not in control of my work, but if it was too tidy, I obviously had nothing to do. Unfortunately, computers do not understand that rule.

Organization is probably the least inspirational part of writing, yet, If we look below the surface, it’s something that still requires inspiration to ensure it works effectively. In fact, inspiration is necessary for every aspect of writing, even the most mundane parts of the work.

To consider that we need not pray about the mundane is to exclude God from the infrastructure of our lives, no more so than in our writing. It’s really pointless praying for inspiration for that perfect piece if it’s lost in a computer maze.

So here are some ideas for organization that I use, and contrary to my previous advice, I spent too little time seeking guidance for—from others or from God!

My Documents library includes many directories, including Articles, Blogs, Books and Diary. Articles is the least organised, simply with all completed articles in alphabetical order. My Diary lists each years’ blogs on Norford’s Ramblings, dating back to 2008, as documents. The Blogs directory list blogs on other sites, including a sub-directory for blogs to Inscribe.

Books is the most comprehensive directory, as that is where most of my time and energy is spent. Each book title naturally has its own sub-directory, but within each of those are the following sub-directories:

0 Original Script: This is kept up to date with the latest revisions.

1 Edited Script: Any scripts edited by others kept for reference.

2 Images: Downloaded images I may use for cover design, and cover design development.

3 Agreements: Publishing or other agreements scanned and kept for reference.

4 Correspondence: Critical letters or emails regarding the book, including endorsements.

5 Published Script: Holds camera ready documents and PDFs of the book for self publishing.

6: and 7: Left free for other directories that may be required for a particular book.

8 Seminars: Holds document and power point presentations for the book.

9 Superseded: Really important: keeps outdated materials separate from current scripts or images, but still available for future reference.

I use numbers for these sub-directories to maintain the order I want, rather than alphabetical order.

Also in the Documents Library I have directories for Invoices, Promotion, and Templates. These are separate from the individual book directories as the contents often include more than one book. At present, I have no sub-directories for these, but as they grow, they may also need subdividing. The Templates directory holds cover or interior templates a publisher may provide or require for processing.

These ideas are, of course, specific to my work, but may be adaptable for your particular needs. If so, I pray that you may be inspired to clean up your computers, and able to access your materials more efficiently—especially that remarkably inspired, but long lost piece!


  1. You have some great, practical ideas here! Thanks for sharing them.

    Pam Mytroen

  2. Bryan,

    You've shared some helpful tips, and yes, we're inspired to keep working away on our own computer to get it more organized and efficient.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This was very interesting. I also have a 'system' of sorts (different than your of course) but I always find it helpful to find out how other people do things.

  4. Brian,
    This sounds great - not sure if my brain can handle that much organization - but it would help.
    Will print this off and try to do some of that.
    Janis (whose brain is turning right not left)


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