Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Keeping Track

 By Charlotte Hinger

Boy, do I ever wish I had started keeping track of everything connected with writing from the beginning. Some years back when I needed to assemble a Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a writing class I would be teaching. It was the pits to put together. 

A CV is more detailed than a resume. A CV should contain everything: publications, awards received, talks and presentations, service rendered, organizations. 

How was I to know anyone would care about this stuff? I had all the information in crates and boxes. Usually in pasteboard files and scattered here and yon with various contracts. Awards I had received were branded on my heart. And copies of publications, you bet. 

But all the talks and presentations, readings, promotions, panels I had been on---no way could I remember. Yet these references, too, were there somewhere in these boxes. I've written a substantial number of reviews and articles. Why wasn't the proof of this all in one place?

This is the year I have taken a vow to go through all my paper. There's no shame in saving everything and I refuse to apologize for it. In fact, when I wrote the acknowledgement section for Mary's Place, a historical novel that will be published in July by the University of Nebraska Press, I dug out minutes from a committee I served on thirty years ago to get the names of fellow members of the Interfaith Rural Life Committe when we were trying to help farmers cope with losing their land. But the information should have been easily accessible. 

One of the few books that addresses organizational systems is The Successful Novelist; Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing, Craft and Working with Publishers by David Morrell. Yes! The mega-award winning author of First Blood. Rambo, himself. 

The Successful Novelist is one of the best books about the craft of writing I've ever come across. I highly recommend it. It will also help you develop a system if you plan on staying in the game.

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