Tagged with "filing system"
Getting organised Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers filing system short stories

Do you ever feel fazed by the sheer volume of writing on your computer? If youíre like me and never delete anything (even if tempted to do so at times following rejection), you have several different versions of the same story and it can be hard to work out which is the current one. Word shows you when the most recent alterations were made to a document, but that doesnít always help.

I have been writing short stories in earnest for a little over six years now. A quick trawl through my fiction files a few months ago revealed that I had over 300 documents Ė some of them duplicates several times over. I was becoming thoroughly confused and even submitted the wrong version of a story to a competition on one occasion.

To impose some method on this madness, I decided to reorganise the lot. This took some time and I may not have come up with the best solutions, but itís a lot better than my previous system (or non-system).

Now I have folders labelled:

Stories Monday Muse Ė I have a lot of these and the nature of MM means that they nearly all need working on in some form before submission. So when I decide to do that I move the story to the next folderÖ

Stories in Progress Ė those Iím working on, whether for competitions or for my own entertainment.

Stories Submitted Ė when a story goes off to a competition, I move it to this folder, so I know exactly which version I sent off.

Stories Published Ė those that have been published in anthologies or placed in competitions and canít be submitted anywhere else.

Stories Finished Ė the final version of stories that I wonít work on anymore.

I also have an Excel spreadsheet for short story competition entries (although I donít enter that many these days). This lists:

  • The organisation organising the comp
  • Hyperlink to the competition rules on their website
  • Word count
  • Closing date
  • Cost
  • Story/ies I plan to submit with a hyperlink to the version on my computer that Iím working on
  • Date submitted
  • Result

I try to update the spreadsheet regularly with details of future competitions. At the moment, it goes up to September. I also colour code each line: yellow = story submitted, awaiting result; green = some success (longlisting upwards); red = didnít get anywhere (rather more of those).

All this probably sounds a bit anal and itís not infallible. Sometimes, for example, I forget to move a story into the relevant folder. But at least I feel I am getting on top of the mess that was my previous filing system.

How do you organise your work?

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