Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are you a Saver? by Morgan Mandel

At one of my Chicago-North RWA meetings a few years ago, Simone Elkeles, a member who had just received a great contract for her YA novels, shocked me and others present by throwing away all of her rejections and submissions. She'd achieved her goal and didn't need them cluttering her landscape.

That was a horrifying moment for someone like me. I save all sorts of things, many of which I should throw away, but I don't have a chance to really go through them. Often the kitchen table gets loaded down with mail before I finally sort it out.

When there's a blogpost or an email about a particular subject I'd like to learn more about, I print it out and save it. Besides grocery lists, I also make little notes to myself about blogs I want to put up, authors I'll be hosting on my blog and all sorts of other things I want to remember, but I'm afraid I won't. I have a post-it stuck on my monitor right now to remind me I have a tax form for the State of Illinois that needs to be completed very soon.

I've got more than a few drawers in my filing cabinet devoted to attempts and successes at publication, including every query letter, proposal, partial, or full manuscript I've ever sent out to a publisher or agent. I keep newspaper articles about my book signings, posters about them, along with promotional weapons of various types, such as postcards, bookmarks, brochures, business cards, holders for them, book signing gimmicks, and more. I also keep folders containing all the newspaper articles published when I freelanced for the Daily Herald newspaper.

What about you? What do you save, either writing related or other? Pleaese share.

Morgan Mandel


thewriterslife said...

Oh honey if you only knew. I have a fear that one day I'm going to need whatever it is I should throw out. When I moved here, I went through a lot of stuff and you know, I still have a lot of stuff, lol. Organizational skills are probably needed!

Morgan Mandel said...

Maybe we need to join Organization Anonymous!

Morgan Mandel

Kim Smith said...

Me too, Dorothy. I have over 900 emails in my inbox, thousands in my sent box, and I have files for EVERYTHING and everybody else so I won't lose anything. It's not from being organized either. It's a strange fear of having to ask someone to resend something!!

Gayle Carline said...

When it comes to paper/emails/etc., I'm guilty of information binge/purge. I save every scrap of everything, thousands of emails, snippets of files, until I get sick of the mess. Then I go through and purge them all out. In less than a week, I usually need one of those pieces of flotsam and I regret tossing everything.

If someone has a cure for this, let me know.

Cheryl said...

I save a lot of electronic things, but paper is kept to a minimum in my office. I have some old stories I wrote when I was a teenager, and those will always be with me. I could put them on the PC, but it wouldn't quite be the same.

I make sure I have at least one copy of everything I've written because you never know when it might be useful for another story idea or if I want to change something back to the original before I revised it.


Deb Larson said...

I thought I was the only one with this problem!! :)
I cleaned my office for Christmas, where there were stacks of papers everywhere. I knew what each was, and now that I've cleaned I can't find anything! I'm constantly searching ...
DL Larson

Margot Justes said...

I'm not a saver-but I did save the rejections-somehow it was a weird sense of validation-I'm a writer. I said it was weird.