Organized Writer…Oxymoron?

Are you one of those people who get cold shivers of pleasure when you see the organized shelves ofttimes featured in Real Simple?  Or do you break out in a cold sweat?  As writers, we’re constantly being lectured about being organized: have a regular writing scheduled, have a regular submission scheduled, have an Excel spreadsheet that details the date, journal, and title of every submission you ever make.  Do any of you real writers actually do these things?  If you make efforts to stay organized, how do you stay that way?

I mentioned my writing calendar in a recent post and thought I should elaborate.  It’s not so much a calendar as a bunch of post-its and corners of notebook paper tacked up on the wall in chronological order.  Each card has a deadline date, the name of the writing contest or journal I plan to submit to, some basic bullet points for submissions (what they want, how long can it be), and information on how to submit.

As for keeping track of where I submit.  No, I don’t keep an Excel sheet even though I know I probably should.  But I do save

every submission in a new folder on my huge external hard drive, so I am never ever in danger of re-submitting the same story to the same journal twice.  (For the sake of self-preservation and your writing career, I believe in at least staying organized enough not to spam editors with stories they’ve expressed no desire for).  And I am truly in love with submishmash.com (marry me!) because it keeps records of everything for me in such a nice neat display.

What do you do to keep your stories organized?  Even if you’re not submitting them, how do you make sure you don’t lose all the short stories and various chapters to half-complete books?

And, while you wait to hear back from all those literary journals and agents…organize!

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2 thoughts on “Organized Writer…Oxymoron?

  1. Amanda Surowitz says:

    I have the worst organization for my stories. If I had an office (or at least my own desk at home) I’d have things posted all over the place. Currently, though, everything is organized in folders on my computer, in my notebooks with color-coded tabs, and in my head.

  2. hannahkarena says:

    You don’t sound disorganized at all! Color-coded tabs and everything is pretty impressive! Just curious, but what do the various colors represent?

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