Writing From a Haze

I’m writing today’s entry in a post-migraine state. Usually, a migraine attack leaves me with near-manic levels of energy the next day. But today, I’m more subdued and quieter. It’s a bit odd.

Anyway, I spent some time this week trying to get my digital house in order. I haven’t submitted many stories this year, and I wanted to get back on track. But when looking over last year’s submissions, I noticed that I was leaning heavily on a couple of stories.

I read through the stories I haven’t used, and many of them are only rough drafts. Some were written in response to prompts, and I just never worked with them beyond that. A couple of those were crap, but one or two might have potential. That was a pleasant surprise.

I found two stories lurking on my hard drive that I just don’t remember writing. At all. The file creation dates were four or five years ago, and I hesitated to read them. After reviewing them, I think I might be able to take the core idea of each story and revise both into something worth submitting. I’m thrilled.

I also decided I needed a way to know what each story folder contained. When I started my excavation, each folder just had the story’s title. That didn’t mean much, especially for the stories from prompts. (What the hell is “Loneliness Deferred” about anyway?)

I thought about renaming each folder with a short description, but I wasn’t sure that would work. I could use tags and metadata, but I’m not the kind of person who ever looks at that.

Instead, I created a spreadsheet. I listed each story’s title, gave a one-sentence synopsis, its current word count, how polished it is, and when it was last revised. I also noted if it’s been submitted and how often.

I’m not sure that spreadsheet will solve all of my “what the hell is this file” problems, but it’s a start. It will also give me a quick summary of what raw materials I have available. For those days when I’m not sure what to work on or don’t have a lot of time for a deep edit on a longer manuscript, I can review and revise a short story.

I probably should have thought about some kind of tracking like this sooner, but at least I finally figured out that I need a handy guide to my own files. Now, I just need to make sure I save that spreadsheet somewhere that I’ll see it regularly.

(Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash)

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