Um…let me rephrase that. I used to consider myself a pretty organized individual. Then I became a writer who couldn’t pass up a good newsletter or blog. I mean, all that great information out there–for FREE!–well, my inbox runneth over.
But I was determined to tame the Inbox Beast and not pass up all that great info. 2015 was gonna be different. (There were emails from 2013 in my inbox. 2013, y’all.) So I’ve devised a new system, and so far, it’s working splendidly. Maybe it’ll work for you.
In the past, I’d bookmark interesting, fun, or timely writing sites that I would come across in a blog post or newsletter. Or I’d make a little note for myself, like “FF–15 punctuation marks.” But then I’d a. lose the notes or b. have to scroll down FOREVER to find the bookmarked site (which might say “Submission guidelines”. Oy. Do you know how many sites I bookmark that say “Submission Guidelines”? I don’t know, either, but it’s a lot.)
So I decided, whilst culling through the 331 emails (all the way from 2013) that I would open a Word Document. Any info that I would need in a timely manner, I copied and pasted there. Right now, for example, I have additional info re: two Chicken Soup call outs. I have the link to the Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. I have the Highlights information for the annual Fiction Contest. And here’s what’s really worked for me: I keep the document open (though not on screen) all the time.
So if I have a thought about the contest, I insert a note on the document. If I have an idea about the essay, I do the same. And best of all, I don’t spend a ton of time, looking for links or notes jotted on paper. And every day, the little blue W on the bottom of my screen sort of reminds me: These projects are waiting for you!
It’s true, I’ve always had a calendar over my desk where I have deadlines and such. But having all the information about those deadlines, right at my fingertips, has been extremely helpful in the time-saving department. And time–and deadlines–wait for no writer.
(So how about you? Got a special time-saving tip? Let’s add it to the list!)