Monday, August 16, 2010

Tips And Tricks I've Learned

Three years ago, when I set out to be a published writer (by the way, I was published only a few short months later), I started organizing my research and papers into my "Writing Binder."

The Writing Binder:
What you'll need-
1. Large-ringed binder
2. Dividers
3. Plain paper
4. Folders

I've divided mine up into sections:
1. Payment - where I list what I made from which magazine and how much. Date paid.

2. Contests - where I list which stories I've submitted to which contests. Date submitted and response time. I also include a second piece of paper which lists date responded, story, and whether or not it was accepted. If so, what the amount was.

3. Queries - where I list which queries went to which magazines. Date submitted and response time. Here, I also include a second piece of paper which lists date responded for which magazine. And whether it as a "Yes" or a "No." If yes, the date published.

4. Contests - this is another section in which I will include listings of contests I've found either in magazines, online or in Writer's Market. I take down all the information from these sources and type them up and include them in this section. Each contest is divided into three sub-sections: Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry.

5. Taking the same concept for contests, I apply it to magazines that I've come across. Each magazine is divided into three sub-sections: Consumer, Literary and Online.

6. When I first started out, I wrote a lot of reviews, so I put in a section for Reviews. Here I just added some college-ruled paper.

7. In the back part of the Writing Binder, I've included 3-4 folders. Each folder holds anything you want for misc stuff. My folders hold rejection letters, contest entry forms, old clippings from Opinion articles I wrote for my local paper.

Each year I update the binder. And each year you can go back and look at how you did moneywise, how successful you were with querying and your contest entries.

I'm one of those writers who still does everything longhand. I don't know, I just like to feel close to my work and be able to cross out, scribble and write off in the margins. Once I've typed something, I print it out and look at it. Now I don't want to rewrite the whole thing again while doing the edits. So I go through with the type copy and with a separate notebook, I will go through and write what I don't want to change in black ink and make all of my corrections in blue ink. So, when I go to type the edited product, I won't have to spend hours at the computer retyping the entire manuscript.

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