Date It!
Jo Cooper
       I know you date letters and keep a chronological record of the manuscripts yoiu send out, but I mean DATE EVERYTHING! The most helpful trick I've learned after 35 years of studying writing, and 21 of being published, is to date everything I get my hands on.
     Get in the habit of writing the month/day/year, especially the year, in what ever corner you like, on every note, rought draft, poem, everything.
     Whe you make a taped interview, never mind "One, two, three, testing." Always try out your machine with, "This is July such and such, 1961 and I'm interviewing and so... for my article on....."
     If you make a phone call while doing research on an article, date the top of that page you've scribbled the phone number and the name of the person you talked to, etc. When you're writing a book or article, you collect hundreds of pieces of paper with informtion on them. Sometimes, years later, you want to refer to some of them. If you can call the same persons, for instance, and say, "In Novemberr 1979 I talked to you...." It really opens the door with authority.
     When you cut out newspaper and magazine clippings, be sure you have the name of the publication, as well as the date on each clipping.
     If you send away for Writer's Guidelines, (and you should often!), date them when you receive them. Editors and formats change. It may seem like only a few months ago, but your information could be five or six yuears old by the time you get around to referring to it again.
     Date those impersonal card-rejection slips that the publishers don't bother to date, (and sure, I still get them, too)
     Date everything. not only for your own use later, but as a tax record as well. Could you go to your files right now and prove what you wre working on three years ago?

by Ralph Cooper, 12-23-07
     Jo noted on the folder: "Sold - Writer's Digest $30 - check received 10/26/81 Printed in Augusts 1982 issue, page 15.
     Thank goodness, Jo followed her own advice. Almost every piece of paper in her files is dated.

BackBack Home