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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Epely

How I Use Notion To Organize My Writing

What Is Notion?

Notion is like Evernote (or your favorite note-taking software), Airtable, and Trello had a super-powered baby! It's a little bit of everything and more! I've used it to build databases, CRMs (Consumer Resource Management Platforms), track tasks, keep notes on ideas or meetings, content calendars, pretty much anything I need to run my life probably lives in either Notion or Google Workspace at this point in time! So how do I use Notion to keep myself accountable and productive while writing?

To Keep Me From Over-Committing

I can be a bit of a people pleaser (shocker), and "no" isn't often a part of my vocabulary (even with myself). So keeping track of the number of projects I have to work on at any given time. For example. Right now for National Novel Writing Month, I'm working exclusively on "The Woman Who Fell In Love With Death" and neglecting both of my serials and all of my other WIPs. But I know that after this month, I'm going to have to play catch up. So when someone comes to ask for my help with something or to take on another project, I take a look at both my writing workflow page and my personal task list before I make a decision. "I need to check and see if I have the bandwidth for that" is slowly becoming my favorite phrase. If I make my writing and my own plate more of a priority, then I'm better able to keep myself from becoming burnt out.

To Deal With Distractions

How many times have you started writing something just for another idea to pop into your head like a musical earworm that threatens your sanity as if Baby Shark was playing on a loop in your brain?

For me, it happens all the time. I'll be working on a project (currently The Woman Who Fell In Love With Death) and something for another project will seep into my mind and steal any creativity that I have left until I write it down.

In Notion, I have little cards for each project based on where in the publishing process it is. Each of those cards opens up into a full page (and subpages) where I can track anything that has to do with that task. Each card has several sections in it based on what the project is. Some of them have lists of scene ideas, some have full outlines, others have character sketches, research, and even a link to the playlist that I listen to when I'm writing on that particular project. By using Notion, I keep all of the "Oh look a plot squirrel" moments in one place where I can see them later, but I also keep my head on straight and get the writing that I intend to do done!

To Track My Process

Currently, I'm writing a whopping six novels, one anthology, two serials (with another in the pipeline), and around 46 works of fanfiction (and some poetry that I don't care to count right now). To say that sometimes I confuse WIPs is the understatement of the year (possibly the century!) So I use a Trello-like board to track everything. Everything starts as an "acorn" or idea, sometimes it might be a prompt I found online, a song lyric or a few words that pop into my head while I'm driving that causes me to pull over (at the next safe space) and jot it down in the tiny notebook that lives in my purse. Then, when I'm ready to work on that project, it moves to the "Outlining" phase where I flesh the idea out into a rough sketch of what I think it will be as it grows. From there, it moves to the "In Progress" stage, this is where it will sit until the first draft is done. Then, it moves on to "Editing", "Querying", and "Published".

To Track My Progress

I like numbers. I'm a stickler for metrics and things that prove to me that I'm actually managing to do what I set out to accomplish. (Even if I massively hate math). Notion recently added tables. I don't usually set a word count goal for the year, but I do like to try to write at least one sentence every single day. No matter how bad my writer's block is, if I can get one paragraph down on any project be it fanfiction or my own content, it seems to beat my brain into submission. So I've added a table to the writing portion of my Notion set up to track my progress and help keep myself accountable for writing at least a little each day.

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