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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

The Organized Writer
by Misti Sandefur

Each of us, as writers, has our own way of organization for our writing. With this article I would like to share my way of organizing for those who may be looking for a better system. I spent many years organizing my writing and submissions in various different ways until I came up with this system. This system is the one that I have chosen to stick with, and the one that I have found I like best.

First, I bought myself a small filing cabinet for $30.00. I also bought hanging file folders. I like the hanging file folders best because you can slide them better than the ones that just sit in a filing cabinet, and they also look neater.

Second, I label each folder as follows:

Book Publishers
Short Story Ideas
Novel Ideas
Research Notes
Publisher for Title of My Book
Title of Article, Book, Poem, or Short Story (a folder for each)
Magazine Publishers
E-zine Publishers
Poetry Publishers

You may name your folders however you like, with all of the above or with more or less.

When I name my folders for each publisher, I also include, in the folders, any research I have done on that publisher: their mailing address, Web site address, e-mail address and any other contact information, etc., relating to that publisher. I also staple the pages together to go with the correct publisher and file them alphabetically in my file cabinet.

Now I will take you into the next step, submissions. For these, I store the information that I will need on a floppy disk or CD. I usually use Microsoft Word when doing this, but any program that you use and are most familiar with will be just fine.

After I save my information, I label the floppy disk or CD so I know what disk or CD I need to locate when I need something. After that I file the disk in a small box for diskettes, and I place the CDs in a CD tower. I also place these in alphabetical order; this is a much easier way to find what I need when I need it. Not only do I make a back up disk or CD, I also will print my information on paper and file it in my filing cabinet as well. This is done in case my diskette or CD is damaged or lost unexpectedly, and believe me it has happened.

The following information that I store on diskettes or CDs is as follows:

Article Submissions
Book Submissions
Short Story Submissions
Poetry Submissions
Article Replies
Book Replies
Short Story Replies
Poetry Replies

For my submissions of articles, books, short stories and poetry I make a graph putting the date of submission, name of the publisher I submitted to, name of the editor I addressed the query, proposal, etc., to, the type of submission I sent (proposal, query, etc.), the allowance time for a response that the publisher has posted in their guidelines, the name of the work I submitted and a box to check off when that reply has been sent to me. I also add another box to check for whether or not it was accepted, and I will check the correct box from the reply that I receive.

If I do not receive a reply in the time the guidelines stated I will send one follow-up letter to the publisher. When sending this follow-up letter, I will highlight that submission in a yellow font and state the date I sent the follow-up letter. I will allow at least three weeks for the publisher or editor to send me a response to my follow-up letter, and if I do not receive a response from it I will send the following letter to them, one last time, assuming that my submission was not considered:

Dear Mr. or Ms. (their last name):

Since I have not received a response from you regarding my query, proposal, etc., for (book title, short story title, article title or title of poem) that was submitted to your office on (date), I am assuming that you are not considering this material for publication, and I am hereby withdrawing (book title, short story title, article title or title of poem) from consideration.

Thank you for your time and assistance.

(Your Name)

By sending the letter above to the publisher or editor it gives me the right to submit my work to another publisher or editor without it being a simultaneous submission.

After creating the graph for my submissions, I then go and create another graph for my replies. This graph will contain response date, publisher's name, title of my submission and whether it was accepted or rejected. The categories for your graph may be listed in the order you desire, same as for the submission graph.

I hope this article was of great help to you, and if you decide to use my method of organizing, it will help you a great deal to follow the procedure the same way that I have stated above. Not only does it help to follow the same procedure, but it will also help to cut down on a messy and unorganized work area. You will be able to keep track of all your writing, submissions, dates, times, etc.

Copyright 2005 Misti Sandefur

Misti Sandefur is a freelance writer and author from Southern Illinois. She has published two books, and her articles have appeared in Upbeat Entertainment, Paducah Parenting & Family magazine, Absolute Write newsletter, and many other publications.

You can find out more about Misti and join her fan club at www.mistisandefur.com. Feel welcome to e-mail your feedback, questions, or anything to her at msks04@shawneelink.net.










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