November 7th, 2007

book cover

Gettin' Organized

This morning I met with a writer pal of mine
We try to get together once a month -- sometimes to critique each other's work, sometimes to celebrate, sometimes to brainstorm, sometimes to cry. 

Today I showed up with the nightmare previously known as my filing system. 
Not my whoooole filing system. Oh, no. 
I left the taxes and report cards and committee minutes and freelance folders at home to molder. 

Today I targeted my revision and submission folders, and if you're rolling your eyes thinking, "Why doesn't that nutbar get a clean, efficient Excel spreadsheet like the rest of us" can you kindly hold that thought for now? It'd make me feel better.

I don't know how I let things accumulate like this, but let me tell you that it was a pile to behold. Notes and revisions from various manuscripts, assorted editorial rejections -- opened but still in envelopes, my most recent book contract, three different submission logs (not one of them up-to-date), emails from friends about their agents. You get the idea. I think there was probably a gum wrapper or two in there, too.

So if you can believe it, I plowed through most of the stuff right then and there. All that's left to do is integrate and update the logs so that I can feel good about putting my work out there in the world again. When you don't know what's where it's hard to know what's next. Y'know?

I have a feeling that the 'assorted editorial rejections' were why I'd neglected this teeming mass for as long as I did. Like if I didn't record and file them, they hadn't really happened? When did I stop looking at rejections as an opportunity for revision or a nudge to submit to someone else? Did a rock actually roll onto my head or did I crawl under it of my own volition? 

Sigh.

Here's the thing. In each manuscript's folder are numerous rejections, which for sure means I've been productive in the sending 'em out department. So there's that. And many of those rejections include invitations to submit more work. I used to just jump on that sort of response but I've apparently gotten a little lazy, so I'm back on task there. Plus, a few stories need to be revised unless they want their share of rejections to grow, so I've added revisions to the to-do list, too. 

And then there are the folders for the books that've sold. Two out of three of them have their own little pile of no-thankyou notes.  That's what spurs me on, really. Knowing that we don't usually make the bell at our first rodeo. Still, there's always another bull and I'm polishing up my boots. After I put these damn logs into Excel....