Sunday, 12 June 2011

Cuttings file

Been tidying the shelf where most of my writing stuff lives and trying to make more room!  One thing I decided to do was re-organise my cuttings file.  The cuttings file is where I keep my successes except that I've got lazy and just shoved magazines I'd been published in on the shelf as they were.  The cuttings files is in fact a large envelope that is too full so I went through everything in it and took out just my article, poem, story, letter and stapled it to the front cover of the magazine which gives the title and date.  That made the  envelope a lot better.  Then I took the rest of the magazines that had been on the shelf and did the same thing so now all is in one envelope.  I have cuttings going back to the 1990's and read letters I'd forgotten about but was quite proud of. 

It is important to keep all your successes (they make up for all the failures, ha, ha!). It's also good to keep it all together - a sort of portfolio and it's great when it grows and you can refer to it if a publisher asks where you have been published before.  I also keep a notebook recording everything I send out, logging the date where it has gone and what it is along with columns for acceptance and rejection.  You can also keep a note of when you will be notified if you are a winner of a competition because if after that date you've not heard it frees the piece up to be placed elsewhere (with or without an edit!). Keeping records helps to see where work has been sent before, stops things getting sent out that are already out there and to see what has been accomplished in the last year.  Should you be lucky encough to start selling work you should also keep a note of what you got paid , by whom and when (for tax purposes).  Of course you could keep all this info on a spreadsheet but I still prefer a hand written record.  I suppose I should also say here that backing up your work on computer is a very good idea!

Writing isn't just about stories and poems.  Many magazines pay (or give a gift) for letters published - check them out next time you are by the magazine rack. If you have a hobby then specialist magazines might take an article written on the subject but check procedures first and have a look in the Writers & Artists Yearbook, look at magazine websites and read the magazines you are submitting to to make sure you are pitching right.

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