One breath in, one breath out

Work has been nuts the last three weeks. Deadlines have come and gone, and finally I can take a minute to pause and breathe.

Writing: 

I’m still in the midst of researching ancient China, and to my relief, the novel I wrote is actually plausible and it won’t require as much rewriting as I worried. I plan to start digging into edits this January. I’ll have a better plan for tackling it then. Right now I’ve still got plenty of reading to get through.

I took a stab at writing a post-apocalyptic near-future story set in Vancouver. That was a first for me. Writing the story didn’t take long, but the end result makes me more nervous than normal. Maybe its because its set (literally) close to home? I’m not sure about it, and I can’t remember being as embarrassed to send something out before. That’s not usual. Maybe it’s just because I tried something out of my comfort zone.

Home: 

In the meantime, I’ve been going through all the things in my apartment and doing a good purge of what I’ve accumulated over the years. It’s amazing how fast things accumulate. A lot of it isn’t anything I’ve bought, but gifts that were given or inherited. I still had bags of satin fabric, and boxes of lace leftover from my Etsy shop days. I’ve still got textbooks from university hanging around, even though I doubt I’ll ever look at them again. There’s still a lot to sort through and its slow going. I didn’t think I was much of a pack-rat so it surprises me.

I’ve gone through old journals, day planners, and pages from old stories. I’m not sure which to hang on to and which to keep. I’ve also been tidying my short stories and how I track submissions. I haven’t been good about organizing those, and was surprised how many I had just sitting around idle. I’ve released several back into the wilds. Hopefully they come back with tails wagging, and some dinner.

How do you organize your writing files? Do you hang onto old ideas forever or throw them out if they’ve gone stale? What’s your method for tracking submissions?

9 thoughts on “One breath in, one breath out

  1. Awesome that you’re getting some more stories out there! Fingers crossed for you — and the upcoming edits.

    I’m entering the “final” stage of edits myself, then hope to start 2014 out by querying.

    As for organizing my work… File folders on computer. Older (abandoned) ideas get shoved into their own special digital drawer. And for tracking subs, I use spreadsheets. Name of magazine (or agent), date sent, date responded, and response. Nothing overly fancy.

    1. Right now I have a spreadsheet but it’s gotten out of hand with multiple stories in it. I might have to separate it out for each short, I think.

      Fingers crossed for you too! If you ever want to commiserate or de stress while on the agent hunt, I can tell you all sorts of stories of the mistakes I made when I started out (it’s a good laugh). I’m sure you won’t be as clueless!

  2. I need to do some purging around here, that’s for sure. That will be my next big project (unlike you, I’ve always known that I’m a pack rat — I inherited the gene from my father :-) ).

    I hang onto scenes, stories, notes forever. Since I always write about the same (ever expanding) group of characters, things can always prove to be useful later. The oldest stuff (pre-computer) is in two big cartons in my closet.

    1. That’s useful then! I’m personally not sure if I want to get rid of the pre-computer stuff I have. I haven’t looked at it in a while, and it’s impossible to search (it’s not organized in any way) so that’s my current dilemma. I’ll probably just toss it, since I haven’t needed it. It’s hard to let go though!

  3. I’m totally compulsive about tracking submissions — my spreadsheet is alphabetized and color-coded, with something like six or seven different columns of information. It took forever to create, but I love having it now. My fingers are crossed for those stories of yours that are back out there!

    1. Ooh I like your style! I’m totally a color-coder! I <3 spreadsheets. Mine’s pretty simple right now but it’s lacking, I think. I’m not sure what info I need to track besides when and where it was sent and response time.

  4. Right now I don’t use anything to track submissions. (Sadly, I have no need for such.) But I have this idea of how I want to do it when the need finally arises, and it involves a lot of up-front development work. Basically it’d be about building some sort of database structure. I think I’ve got the chops to do it (at least within an MS Access framework; I’m not quite skilled enough to do this from raw scratch), if not the time…

    1. That sounds like a lot of work and time you could spend writing instead! You know, you might be able to download something like that, or use the Submissions Grinder (or something similar).

  5. That’s the catch-22 here. If I had time to work on this, then I should be writing. And since I don’t have time for writing, I have no need to work on it. In the medium-term (because in the short-term I don’t need a solution yet), I probably would use some much simpler solution. In the long term, if I get to a point where I’m doing a lot of writing again, then I’ll almost certainly want to do it myself, because I’m just that kind of guy…

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