The L&L Blog  /  Scrivener

Write Now with Scrivener, Episode no. 18: Rashelle Isip, Professional Organizer | Literature and Latte

Rashelle Isip is a professional organizer, who helps people better manage their time, space, and belongings.

Rashelle Isip explains how writers can better manage their time and be more efficient.

Show notes:

Learn more about Scrivener, and check out the ebook Take Control of Scrivener.

If you like the podcast, please follow it in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app. Leave a rating or review, and tell your friends. And check out past episodes of Write Now with Scrivener.

Rashelle Isip is a professional organizer, helping people better manage their time, space, and belongings.

Rashelle Isip is one of those people you turn to when you can't get a handle on things, and need to reorganize your work or your life. As a professional organizer, she says that she "help[s] people better manage their time, space, and belongings. That can be anything, including helping people declutter their belongings, at work or at home, helping them create structures, helping them organize what's left, and also creating great habits to make sure that everything stays organized in the long term."

Many, if not most, writers know what it's like to be disorganized. If writing isn't your full-time job, you juggle between work, family responsibilities, and the time you eke out to write. Rashelle has tips for these writers. "When it comes to writing, and anything else that you really want to do and truly make a habit, you need to set aside the time for yourself. And it really is a declarative statement. It's an act saying, ‘this is very important to me in my life.’"

For many writers who just write when they have free time, Rashelle points out that you need to commit the setting aside of time to write. "You might need to write it into your calendar, put it into your schedule. The thing that will really move people ahead is not necessarily that duration of time in each instance, but the repetition, making it that habit."

When you've got the writing habit, you can make a lot of progress. "I remember reading a news story several years ago about a man who wrote a book on his way to work commuting. Either he dictated or he typed it out on his phone, and he wrote a book over the course of several months. So it's just that habit, that repeat of putting the time in, showing up, and doing something."

But writers are notorious procrastinators. It's easy to do other things during that writing slot, rather than actually get words on the page. Rashelle says, "I go through that sometimes, too, when I'm writing and just sitting there staring at a blank screen. I've made an analogy for myself, to help me get through it. If I'm writing, I need words to work with. If I was a potter, I need clay, I need something to work with. So let me just go and get my clay, let me put some words on the page. That really does help because I've just eliminated that resistance; ‘it has to be the right words, it has to be the perfect words or the structure that I need.’ Just put something down; breaking through that initial resistance will help you lower that bar of perfection."

Rashelle uses Scrivener to write many different types of texts. "I have found, over the years, that Scrivener can be really helpful when writing blog posts. I've gotten into my habit every year of starting a new Scrivener document, and then creating blog posts within it, so it allows me to see all of the blog posts throughout the year. I've also been using it for other aspects of my business. I use it to write newsletters and put together email campaigns, to capture notes and ideas, even fan mail sometimes. It's nice to have everything set up in that structure for that year, and then set up different folders for the different projects that I'm working on. I've also started using Scrivener when I'm working on scripts for online courses. That can be very helpful because an online course or video presentation is very much like a movie or a TV show. I can see the flow of the conversation in [the scriptwriting] layout."

Rashelle also advises people on decluttering. We all have too much stuff, and "there's some sort of attachment to items. When you shake up things and remove those items from certain areas, you realize that you just don't have the need for this anymore. Organization, time management, and productivity, at their essence, are really all about living in the moment. Because you are paying so much attention to where you are and the resources available to you."

Decluttering is difficult, and it's easy to fill the space you've made after you've gotten rid of books, CDs, and DVDs. "The universe is just so vast and so abundant. And, you know, nature abhors a vacuum. I'm not saying that once you get rid of a lot of books, you're going to get the same amount back. But having fewer things can open your mind up to new ways of doing things and experiencing. It's not an all or nothing approach, it's about living with your belongings, and being comfortable with them."

Kirk McElhearn is a writer, podcaster, and photographer. He is the author of Take Control of Scrivener, and host of the podcast Write Now with Scrivener.

Keep up to date