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Organisation of writing


Superbly Safe Storage System?


From the moment I understood the alphabet I loved books. At school English was my favourite subject and I was ranked in the top three out of the class.

As a child, at bedtime I was expected to go straight to sleep.  I never did. Summer nights were wonderful, I could read in bed without getting caught, but in the winter I had to put the light on and my bedroom overlooked the street.  (At the time my dearest wish was to own a torch.)  My father often returned home late at night, reporting my lit bedroom to my mother. She would come into my room and give me a ticking off. It made no difference. I would return to my book at the earliest opportunity, sometimes the same night.  This intransigent dedication to literature founded my passion for language, so it’s quite surprising that I only began writing seriously about eight years ago. On the point of re-locating to France I decided that it would be an enjoyable way to earn money working from home. Judging from what I’ve earned from writing since moving here it’s fortunate that I have no aspirations to purchase a French chateau.  No matter, the enjoyment of writing and contact with fellow writers has more than made up for lack of a lucrative income.

I write using Microsoft Word. Eventually, my separate writings developed to the point where I needed to set up a system of keeping track of each piece. I created a system where I could quickly assess the status of any given piece of my writing, as follows:

Anything I’m working on I keep on my PC desktop until finished. Only when having polished and edited a piece of work to completion do I print a hard copy and file it in one of a number of Lever Arch files divided into articles, blogs, flash fiction, short stories, book reviews and miscellaneous, keeping poetry printouts in a separate file. 

On my PC I have a heading folder named Creative Writing containing sub folders similarly named as for my hard copies, each sub folder containing more folders labelled with year dates. I file my completed work here.  Therefore, to find a particular short story previously filed on my pc, I click on Creative writing – short stories – 2016 and a list of Word documents by story title I wrote in in 2016 appear on screen.  Each story title also shows the word count.  For example a particular story title on my 2016 list appears as The Road to Nowhere 794. Therefore if considering the story for a competition I can see without opening the file whether or not the word count is suitable for the competition.

In my Word documents, each story, article, blog etc begins on page 2.  The first page is reserved for the history of the work.  This is an example of the first page of one of my stories.  Velvet is the story title.






05/08/09           Entered town Village Mag comp (no win)

03/05/10           Published in the anthology ‘Shadows’


If I wish to email a story to a competition/publication, I simply delete the first page, attach the document to the email and don’t save the changes. When I close the document the history is retained.

On my PC I also have a couple of extra folders for work unfinished/in progress, (not printed out as hard copies.)  My system doesn’t end here.

An unfortunate person I know suffered her computer to die at the point she was giving a final edit to her first and only novel.  She was devastated.  Determined not to suffer the same fate, after much thought, I decided to use Hotmail as a place to store my work.  On my Hotmail account I created folders labelled with the titles as my Lever Arch and pc files, plus two others for unfinished work and work in progress.  At the same time as I print out and file my hard copy, on my PC, I attach the document for my story/blog etc and send it to my Hotmail address (every document in a separate email) using the story title as the subject. I then go into Hotmail and move the email from my inbox to the relevant folder thus creating a list of titles in each folder. I store them as unread which also gives me tally of how many stories, blogs etc I have written. This system is also convenient should I wish to access or send out my work if I’m away from home, particularly as each piece of work contains its own history.  I send unfinished and in progress work to Hotmail as and when I deem necessary. 

For my novel, (working title Hitman Lema, one document in Word,) each time I work on it I send the document as an attachment to my Hotmail as I do for stories etc.  On the subject line I type Hitman Lema and the date.

I then go to Hotmail and move it to the ‘Hitman Lema’ folder, creating a list of dated document updates.  Storing older updates is useful. If I make changes to previously written text I still have a copy of the original wording should I need to refer to it.  Also I don’t clutter the space on my PC and I can access and work on my novel from wherever I happen to be when away from home. 

Finally, I keep a spreadsheet with two lists, side by side.  The first lists stories sent to competitions/magazines with any relevant info, which I check periodically, moving non-win/rejected pieces to the second list - work available to be sent to competitions, magazines or other publication outlets.

In short: I am satisfied with a piece of work and deem it completed. I print it out, file the hard copy, file the document on my pc, send a copy of the document to Hotmail, moving it unread to the appropriate folder and log it on the spreadsheet as available to send.

Using this system, should my pc suddenly explode into smithereens, I haven’t lost my work.  I figure my precious writing is fairly safe excepting a worldwide internet breakdown.  Should that happen many fundamental entities we consider important would become worthless and I would have a whole new scenario of concerns - my writing being the least of them.







This week 29th May 2017
Category: Site News

First of all – thank you, Jo for the great new look to the site. I love it—I hope everyone else does as well.

Issue 6 of the magazine is now live and looks fabulous. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and worked on the editing, formatting, proof-reading… Now, get the word out wherever you can.


Lesley will be doing the blog this week (but I’m going to post this now, before I get my usual reminder from Jo!)

Bragging Stool

Quite busy on the bragging stool this week.

Both Beike and Sue had poems in ArtAscent. Beike’s – “Lapanto 2016” and Sue “Reading a Poem Before Breakfast.” Congratulations!

A total of five members made it to ad hoc this week, including Sue for her 66th consecutive week – wow! Others were: Chris, Crilly, Laura and Angela. Congratulations to you all.

Crilly wrote an 81 word piece, “Conversations” for Chris Fielden’s 81 word writing challenge and it’s up on the site. Fabulous, Crilly! Lesley also had a story on the site, “Tycoon Tommy” and got some lovely feedback. We should all remember feedback is much appreciated.

Laura came joint 3rd in Morgen Bailey's 100-word competition with 'Farewell'. The theme was 'fool'. Congratulations Laura.


Alyson, has provided some fabulous muses (love the upside down stripy lady!) So go get inspired.

The poetry project is in full swing under Sue’s guidance. Lot’s going on there if you want to take part.

And finally, Jo has started a thread in the forum, Our Writing Vision, three questions to get us all thinking about our future as writers, where we want to go and how the group can help us get there. These questions will also be incorporated in the new member questionnaire. 

That's it, I think. Hope everyone has a fabulous writing week.

This Week 22nd May 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: writers abroad site news online magazine

This is a very important week for Writers Abroad as Issue 6 of our online magazine will be published on May 26th. It is full of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and even a prize-awarding quiz so there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Jo has also come up with some brilliant suggestions for a new look for this site. All should be revealed before the end of the week!

Bieke has written an interesting blog on how her writing has grown from writing privately in a diary, to writing poetry and finally to sharing her writing with fellow writers. She leaves us with some interesting questions to ask ourselves; about how to support each other better as members of WA, bearing in mind how we all write in different genres. It will be interesting to read the comments.

On the bragging stool we have Crilly, Chris, Sue and Angela – all of whom have been longlisted in Ad Hoc fiction.  And Lesley’s Nifty Nib-Nibbling Nonsensical Narrative Writing Challenge Volume 1 will be published on Amazon on 3rd June. Lesley also shared a ‘joyful moment’ with us when she received a flattering comment on the publication of her 81-word story ‘Tycoon Tommy’. Well done all.

There are also two members with secrets they cannot yet divulge online. Most intriguing so hopefully that will something to celebrate next week. Can’t wait!

Laura will be supplying the Monday Muse this week, that is if she has time as I heard a rumour that she’s moving – not just house, but countries.

Have a good writing week and keep the words flowing.

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