To read Molly's BLOG on organizing your writing click here: Story Studio
MY RESPONSE: Out of Sight Electronically
Molly, Your advice is excellent! I know what you mean about being intimidated by the length and complexity of a story in your head.
I would add that it is also intimidating when the story only exists between the covers of a computer. I do all of my creative non-fiction writings on the computer in a journalling program. Recently, I assembled them into book form in my word processor. But boy was it confusing and frustrating. Electronically stored and out of sight, it wouldn't hold together for me.
Until my work became "hard copy" I couldn't grasp it as a whole. I printed out over 140 pages, punched holes, and put it into a binder. While I haven't done the cards and markers thing, as I read and re-read my writing I was able to take countless notes on the printed draft, attach post-its, flip back and forth to do my fact checking, and make appropriate changes before sending it off to my editor and eventually to a publisher for review.
By seeing it in my hands, the work has became REAL and I was able to do a better job with my thought processing and editing.