by Gabrielle Linnell
After three years of freelancing, I've succumbed to Freelance Fake Deja Vu Syndrome. This strange neurosis shows itself when I stare at an essay or article and think... have I written this before? Or worse, have I submitted this before? Plagiarism against yourself is awkward. Once you start sending your work out to magazines, how do you keep track of them all?
Whatever system you use, always identify name of submission, name of magazine, name of editor sent to, date submitted and date (expected response.) Other stuff, such as notes from a rejection letter, type of submission or specific addresses/emails, is a good idea.
The Flashcard Way. Do you like 3D, non-computer organization? Invest in 3x5 flashcards and a box to hold them in. This way, you can literally pull out the card when you need to follow-up on a story or article.
Make Me a Table. I used this for about two years and it worked wonderfully. Set up a Microsoft Word document Table, with columns of all the required information and blanks for response dates, payment or editorial notes. The benefit of the blanks is that when you look over your submissions table, you can easily see who hasn't emailed you back.
Write It Down. My current system is on my "Writing Whiteboard" (a Microsoft Word document I have on my desktop that keeps track of all my projects.) I write it like this:
"The Origin of the Alphabet" for Dandy Andy at ABC MAGAZINE submitted 1.1.01. [Received, accepted, published] Fool around with different formats that make the most sense to you.
Even if you're only sending out a poem a month, don't trust your memory! There are one million benefits to keeping track of your submissions, so start or update today.
Gabrielle Linnell enjoys public speaking, reading Mark Haddon and watching The Apartment. Talk about funny writing!