On a Date
       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 whatever corner you like, on every note, rough draft, poem, everything. When you tape an interview, never mind "one, two, three, testing." Always try out your machine with, "This is July 28, 1982 and I'm interviewing ...for my article...."
     If you make a phone call while
doing research on an article, date the top of the 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 information on them. Sometimes years later you want to refer to some of it. If you can call the same person, for instance, and say, "In November 1979 I talked to you...." it opens the door with authority.
     When you send away for writer's guidelines (and you
should often!) date them when you receive them. Editors and formats change. Your information could be five or six years old by the time you get areound to referring to it again.
     Date those impersonal card-rejection slips that the publishers don't bother to date (and sure, I still get thme, too).
     Date everything. Not only for your own use later, but also as a tax record. Could you go to your files right now and prove what you were working on three years ago? You could if you had dated everything!

from Ralph Cooper, April 25, 2008
     This article was published in the August 1982 issue of Writer's Digest magazine.Thank goodness, Jo followed her own advice religiously, all the time. It has been a big help for me to find that she did date everything in her voluminous files.

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