Anyone else getting major spring-cleaning vibes? I’m pretty tidy by nature, but I’ve been feeling a little itchy lately with just how much stuff I’d let accumulate in my fairly tiny apartment. The urge to purge was strong, so my husband and I took the weekend to clean out all the closets and organize all the drawers.

The feeling was so satisfying that I turned those organizing, minimalist vibes towards my digital life, intent on cleaning up any computer clutter, only to realize …

My files are already in pretty good shape! So I thought I’d peel back the curtain a bit today and show you a screenshot of my actual laptop files so you can see how I keep everything organized on a 4-7 book-a-year schedule, when each of those books has 5-10 versions before we get to the final file.

A few details about how I work:

  • I use a Mac, so the screenshot you’re seeing below is my Finder.

  • I am a heavy Dropbox user. All of my folders are synced to Dropbox—nothing lives “locally,” meaning if I dumped a bottle of wine on my computer right now, I could go to the Apple store, get a new laptop, log-in, and not have lost a single file.

  • For my works-in-progress, I write in Ulysses, which I have set up to save directly to iCloud, but I also back up my Ulysses files to Dropbox at the end of every day; sometimes at the end of every hour if I’m writing a lot of words all at once. iCloud has never failed me, I’ve never lost my work, but back-up redundancy is a really good thing for writers. Feel free to write that down 😉

The provided screenshot is my entire “Lauren Layne” folder in Dropbox, but I’ve specifically expanded the Books folder, since that’s the heart of it, and the most interesting to most people (I think), but my folder hierarchy looks like this:

  • Dropbox (main folder)

    • Lauren Layne

      • Books

        • By Project

          • [Series Name]

            • [Book Title]

              • Marketing

              • Versions

                • Within the Versions folder, I’ll then have yet another folders for first draft, each round of revisions, copyedits, proofreads, and so on.

A screenshot:

How I organize my digital files