The problem with being a writer like me is that, upon re-reading my manuscripts, I find places where I repeat myself. A character may make a statement in chapter 1, and then she makes the same statement in chapter 5. I suspect this happens because my little old subconscious thinks this statement is really important. It might be part of a key theme of the story, and my brain is trying to make sure I get it out. The result is very similar passages in several places in the manuscript. On reading, I’ll often get to the first instance of one of these passages and think, “Hey, I think I say this somewhere else.” If I’m very lucky, I’ll have a pretty good idea where in the manuscript the second (and third) instance of this is, so I can jump ahead and write myself a note. “Same as on p.77,” I’ll write. “Pick and stick!” That means pick one spot for this idea, and stick to it. Of courses, I’ll frequently find myself in rewrites thinking, “Hey, this is really important” and I’ll start writing that same idea in almost that same way in another place. Oy.
The problem with being a blogger like me is I often feel like I’ve posted on the exact same topic, using the exact same words as I’ve done before. I’m in a permanent state of Deja vu. I sit down to write a post and I think, “Wait, I’ve written this before.” Quite often I have; the big question, though, is Did I post it?
I have a folder in my writing folder called, imaginatively enough, ‘blog’. Within that folder are subfolders: ‘posted’ and ‘pictures’. It should be fairly obvious what those folders are for. And then there’s the loose, unconsolidated part of the folder. It’s stuffed full of word documents with meaningful and meaningless titles like, “freudianslip”, and “scombrid” and, appropriately enough, “repetition.” Some of these documents, like “Extendocharacters”, should be moved into the ‘posted’ subfolder. Some of them, I can’t be sure. Did I post ‘repetition’ or not? What about ‘more harm than good’ or ‘External validation’? If I open those documents, the words seem awfully familiar, and why shouldn’t they? I wrote them. I just can’t remember if I posted them.
The problem is there are only 91 documents in the ‘posted’ folder. According to my blogger stats, as of today I have made 253 posts–see the problem? Now, there wouldn’t be a perfect match anyway, as some of my posts are strictly music videos or goofy little images relating to my state of mind on any given day, so those don’t get dumped in the ‘posted’ folder, because there is no corresponding document. And some of those 91 documents may have two or more posts contained within. And sometimes I write purely off the top of my head, as I’m doing now. Finally, some of the unconsolidated documents that have turned into posts–like ‘Extendocharacters’–have a second post on a different topic as part of the document, some other idea that was working up that I wrote directly in that document rather than start another.
I look at my list of posts and keywords, and that’s not much help, either. Titles don’t always indicate what’s contained within, and they don’t always jog the memory enough for me to say, “Oh, right, that’s what’s in there.” And my labeling system is pretty much a joke–half the time, I don’t label them anyway! So I sit down to write because something has been tickling at my brain for a while, and I feel like I’ve written it all before, and I go back through the posts and through my files and, after much searching–I can’t tell. It’s clear I need a new system, and so I turn to you, my friends: How do you organize yourself regarding your blog, so you don’t end up posting the same thing over and over again?
That’s it for me, have a great weekend!