How to Organize Writing Ideas

I’m always looking for ways to organize writing ideas. I have a lot of them and yes, not all the ideas are great. But I do a variety of writing, from magazine articles to crafts, educational market fiction and non-fiction, and I hope to produce books for the trade market, too.

That’s why it’s important to write down my ideas somewhere because you never know which ones will be perfect for a quick magazine article or a reading comprehension passage. There are a few ways I organize writing ideas.

It might seem like spending time organizing is taking time away from writing. It might seem like procrastination. But I think organizing prevents wasted time and increasing productivity because ideas are always ready and waiting for you.

Try these systems out, some combination will hopefully work. Feel free to share your ideas, too.


My super quick way of organizing ideas is to use the Things app and jot down ideas in either Fiction or Non-Fiction. I don’t edit or limit my ideas, I just put them down so I don’t forget.

Table of Contents

I handwrite in journals almost every day, and have for years, which means I have several journals. After I’ve jotted down an idea in Things, at some point I take the time to add some details in my journal. Instead of turning page by page in my journals looking for where I’ve jotted down an idea or an outline, I make sure to dedicate the first few pages of my journals to a table of contents. Then when I write in my journal, I fill out the table of contents.

Writing Ideas Ebook

I just started this version of organizing ideas, and I’m excited. I created an ebook in Pages and then inserted a Table of Contents. (Yes, the table of contents is SO KEY.) Then I created different headings in the ebook based on the kinds of writing I plan to do. Next, I went to my ideas in the Things app and started putting the various ideas into different categories. Some ideas went more than one place, which is good, because I like to be able to use one idea for a variety of outlets. I love the electronic table of contents, because I can click on the page number and go right to the specific section. I can also create sub-headings as I use this system more.

organize writing ideas

Stay organized!

What systems do you use to organize writing ideas?