Your computer can keep track of appointments, phone numbers and all sorts of information related to your notes, your research and your writing. But for letters, receipts and other miscellaneous bits of paper, there’s nothing like a filing cabinet.
Keep a folder for receipts, another for correspondence (or several if you have several projects on the go and want to keep their correspondence separate) and a third one for all your random notes. Keeping your ideas and other writing-related information close at hand and in an orderly fashion can save you hours of hunting through the glove compartment and your other handbag – and that gives you more time to write. There is no hard-and-fast rule to help you decide whether you have a novel in you. But it’s an important question to ask yourself: do you have enough material to create 300–400 pages of printed text?
Many would-be novelists find as they start writing that they run out of steam after only a few pages – their novel is really only a short story. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but by taking the time to examine what you want to write before you start, you can save yourself the heartbreak of beginning a manuscript that is never going to be completed.