How do we keep track of our work?

Hi everyone,

I’m taking suggestions for post conversations in the order in which they arrived. This one came from Joy Acey.
Joy AceyDavid, you mentioned once about having to keep your log/journal up to date with your publications. I think that’s what you called it. It led me to believe you keep a central record of submissions and publications. I’d like to “see” what that looks like for you. What system do you use to remember where and at what stage things are at? I know it is a small thing, but how does Jane, Sandy, Bard, or your other real poetry friends do it?

Joy, when I wrote my first story to submit, in 1959, I bought a little record book and on page one, #1 I proudly printed the name of the story, its word length, where I sent it, and how much it cost to mail it. When the story came back, as they all did, I recorded the second try, and so on. In the back of the book I started a second list that merely recorded the name of the work and when I wrote it, a tally of my efforts. I didn’t buy my first computer (a TRS-80) until 1982 so by then the habit of keeping a written record was firmly established.

Today I am less attentive to keeping up with my records. With all of my correspondence on the computer, it’s possible to track the history of my work by combing through those files and folders, should I have an interest in doing so. I often neglect my little record book (I’ve nearly filled the second one now) but from time to time I make myself spend the hours it takes to catch up. I’m not sure why I do it anymore. Some sense of obligation to tradition I think.

I just scanned for you sample pages of both kinds of records. This first shows a couple of pieces and where I placed them. The rest of the section happens to reflect one of my catch-up day findings when I attempted to round up some of the anthologies I’d been in but never thought to record anyplace.

From records – examples of sold work

This one is another case of catching up, which is why dates are all over the place. Where I found a poem unrecorded, I dutifully recorded it. As I said, I’m not sure why I keep doing this. I admit I enjoy looking back over time to see what I was up to in this year or that, but when I’m gone I can’t imagine anyone else caring enough about how I spent my life to wade through such tedious details.

From records – examples of written work

So there you have it. The floor is open if anyone else would like to respond to Joy’s question. I’m guessing I’m the last to convert entirely to the computer.