7 November 2020
4 Tips to Organize Your Writing…
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Official Author Website
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Protect Your Writing Drafts
Save your Drafts
Save your Published Work Listings
Develop your Archives
Create a way to write and save your work. Where will you begin?
I begin by selecting the technologies I will use.
Because of a visual impairment, I must use a magnifier program with speech.
I use ZoomText with speech reader to read my documents to me as I am writing or reviewing them.
You need to choose your program that works best for you. I do everything in a Word document. It is universal and most editors want to get your work in a WORD document.
SAVE your writings in several places
Please remember to SAVE your writings in several places. You don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way after you have lost or misplaced it.
You never know when you will have an accident of some kind that could erase your document, or even misplace it where you can’t find it.
Make back-up copies of the files and put in different folders.
Make a MAIN FOLDER.
This is the folder that you will work from every time you are writing. Get into the habit of using this one folder where you can put all of your documents in their own files. Nice and safe!
I keep that FOLDER on my desktop for easy access. The label on my folder is: BOOKS.
Every book I am working on, and every book that I’ve completed is in that ONE FOLDER.
At the end of the day, when I’ve completed my updates or revisions, I save that file in my DESKTOP folder. I don’t have to go on a hunting expedition to find it when I put it right there on my DESKTOP. Make it EASY for yourself to FIND.
Once saved in that main folder, I also do the “Save As” function to several other folders in different locations.
Those would be my back-up copies in an emergency.
I also save them to Dropbox and on a flash drive. But, I don’t use the flash drive a lot – I get them mixed up and then I don’t know where the latest copies are. I don’t deal well with little fussy things like this. I know my limits of patience. Plus, my dog chewed up one of them and the cats like to play with them. Not a good idea.
Create Physical Archive for Published Writings
Choose a place in your office where you can store a copy of your books, or other publications such as literary journals and magazines.
As you continue on in your writing career, you will have your work published. Be sure to keep a physical copy of each publication that published your writing.
It can be a special shelf or it can be in a container.
Mine are kept in a large container that fits under a table in my office. Every published work I’ve had is in that large container that is dust free and keeps the publications clean and safe.
I began keeping this physical archive in 1985. This is when I started getting published because I was working on my BFA degree at a university at this time. My first works were published in the university English Department literary magazines. As I continued on in my academic education, I had work published in a number of other venues. This was the beginning of my physical archive and it is the one I continue to use to this day. The only difference is that I now need a much larger container than I did in those early years.
I store hard copies of each book and literary journal where one of my writings appeared. I keep the hard copies in my office for easy access. I can locate any of those publications when needed. It is not unusual to have to consult them many times during the year. My earliest writings are archived in the books that published my academic essays presented at conferences, as well as newspapers and literary magazines while doing 3 degrees over a 12-year period. The archive includes my published thesis project which is a book. These early publications are consulted at times when I need to trace back to the beginnings of ideas in my work.
When my writing is published, I keep a hard copy of the book or periodical in this one place.
You will be amazed at how often, in time, you must go into that archive to check on something printed long ago.
Recently, an editor wanted me to give some examples in an essay she wants to print. I spent two days searching through my archives to provide the information I needed in response to her question. There will be times when you will trace back through your previous publications to find the historical context to support your thoughts. Because of your archived work, you will find the answers you need.
The other thing this physical archive does for you is to give you a snapshot of your career as a writer. Sometimes, you may think you have not accomplished much. But, when you open your box and look at the stacks of materials where your work is printed, you will know you are successful and it is satisfying to see your progress over the years in this way.
In addition, I print out a paper copy of everything at specific points so that if everything cyber went south, I’d at least have a hard copy.
I keep a print copy in a folder labelled with the title of the particular book.
When my draft is complete, I run out a final copy and save it in that folder.
I hope this is helpful to all who are in various stages of writing.
Create A document file to Archive Published writings
This will be invaluable to you when you need to know where your piece was first published,
You need to provide information on the publication of your work when you submit it to editors. If this work was published they need to know that. Some editors will not print a work that was previously published and others don’t mind but they both want to know it up front.
If the work was already published, they will need to note that when they publish it again. Records are important for you and for your publisher and editor.
You also need to know where the piece was first published when you are creating your Acknoledgments Page in you book. If you have not kept good records, it will be a nightmare to find that information when you need it. Be prepared to provide all previous publications of every work you have in your archives. This will show the editor that you are a professional and serious about working together for a good publisher/writer team.
Create 3 files for this information.
This works very well for me and I think it will for you also.
File 1: Writings Published by Year
File 2: Writings Published by Title
File 3: Writings Listed by Title ( Put work in alphabetical order and include year you wrote it with this listing.)
Make sure you have a back-up paper copy of your files stored on the computer. You never know when MAYHEM will strike. This is your insurance PLAN for SUCCESS.
Get Organized and Watch
your writing business blossom!
Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright November 8, 2020. All Rights Reserved.
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My best tip is to be organized in a way that works for you.