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Need Help Filing?

paper-messI don’t know about you, but while I may not be the messiest writer in the world, when that person dies I’m a contender. It’s not that I don’t work at it. I have folders and file drawers to keep them in. It’s the regular, daily process of getting paper sorted, thrown away, filed or otherwise accounted for that I’m not good at.

Fortunately, some people are. John Hewett at PoeWar is not only a writer he’s got a dandy article called: Quick Guide to Creating an Efficient File System

The thinking makes sense and I might even get some of it done that way.

On the other hand, as Lillie Ammann comments there, getting rid of paper may be a better goal. Even better than that is recycling paper. And the most worthy goal of all us to use less.


Will I ever get there?

How good are you at keeping your files sorted?


Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Um. SOME DAY, I’ll get organized. I do have some files, but not perfectly set up. Today, I needed our Sears Maintenance policy. Found it in 20 seconds. Other items may take a lot longer.

    A few years ago, I met an author who told me he and his aide filed early drafts and research notes in the same box. By the time he finished the first draft over a ten year period, he was unable, he said, to discern between research and draft material. Considerable early research from one source made it into the final draft, resulting in a plagiarism suit, which he lost. The bottom line: don’t file research notes in the same place you file manuscript.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

  • I’m waaaaay better at organizing my files on the computer than in real life. And there’s always the Search function if I lose something. For submittals and queries, I keep a spreadsheet and enter in the date I sent it, where, to whose attention, address and other info including email and website, how long the wait is expected to be and whether it was accepted or rejected.

    In my paper files I just throw things into a box and find it later. I nearly pitched a $50 bill my dad had tucked into a card for me; I was cleaning the week after Christmas to prepare for a guest when I found it. The card almost went into the trash can! Good thing I looked inside before I tossed it!

    I REALLY need to get better organized.
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Push =-.

  • Not relevant to anyone out side of New Zealand, but one of my companies created a system to help home and small business owners with their messy desks.

    Check it out at http://www.ifile.co.nz

    Although it is a paid service, the principles of scanning everything that comes in is valid for anyone if they feel like doing it themselves.

    Simple folder structures on your hard drive are usually better than complicated software. Most people do just fine with folders. Also much easier to back up. I have an external drive, plus a large USB key (8 Gig) and burn to DVD once a month.
    .-= Karl Rohde´s last blog ..White Papers vs. Blogs – Your Opinion? =-.

  • Dianne O'Keefe

    Hi there fellow freelancers…
    Filing systems? That’s a rather dirty word around here!
    I do try though…the result? My pc looks rather like a jumble sale of miscelaneous folders that don’t work very well. Mind you, I can usually put my hand straight on what ever I am looking for!
    If someone else needs to find something or I need to explain where it is…well that’s another story!

  • Isaac

    I’m not much of a filer. I keep making files on my computer and putting things in them, but they seem pretty arbitrary. I feel your pain.

    Isaac’s last blog post..Song Lyrics and Poetry

  • When I worked full time for a newspaper, I was great at filing. I kept very detailed file folders with all the appropriate stuff filed in each one, and labeled accordingly. And on my computer, I had roughly the equivalent system; with folders subdivided into more specific folders, with everything sorted into the proper place.

    At home as a freelancer? Not so much. Two major problems exist. One, I share a cramped, crowded home office with my husband and a whole bunch of random stuff that got shoved into this room. Not much room for paper files, although I do my best. I usually keep at least one dedicated folder for each publication I write for, plus a big huge accordion file of old stories and notes. On the computer, however, I really need to make some changes and create a better filing system. Everything is just in one folder in My Documents, and it’s nearly impossible to find anything without scrolling down through everything. Especially since I tend to keep copies of everything.

    Jennifer L’s last blog post..What I will do on my summer vacation

  • Have you considered a document management system like PaperPort?

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