K is for Killing Trees

A little story.

Let’s say I get an idea for a flash fiction story. I write it in my writing notebook at a coffee shop and then I type it up. And there is a magazine I want to submit it to but they only take mailed submissions. So I print out four copies of the story. One copy is my “Clean Copy” which goes in a folder in my filing cabinet. The second is my “Work Copy” which is what I will make any revisions on. It goes into a binder. The third is the one I mail off, and the last one goes into my “Submissions Log Binder.”

Say a month later I learn that it hasn’t been accepted. But, I’ve found another magazine that takes emailed submissions, so I email it off and print out the first page of the story, for my Submissions Log.

A month or so later I learn that magazine hasn’t accepted it. Now by this time I may have thought of some new ideas for the story, or possible even have gotten some feedback, so I take my work copy to a coffee shop and work on it. I then go home and type up the changes, then put that work copy in the filing cabinet. If there is another magazine that takes emailed submissions, I’ll print out three copies – Clean, Work, Submissions Log.

Then a month or so later I learn that magazine has accepted my story. When they publish it online, I print out the page for my “Publication Binder.”

Now all of this isn’t bad when the stories are only a page or two long, but it does get somewhat tedious. And for the fifty page stories, it can be a bitch. I’m sure there is a better way of doing this, but this is the system that I’ve developed over the years, and I’m almost afraid to break it. Not out of superstition, but I’d hate to have to go back through everything reformatting it to the new way of doing things. Yes, I kill trees, but they say admitting it is the first step.

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3 Responses to “K is for Killing Trees”

  1. When I was writing, I used Access to keep track of my submissions. Who I sent what to when, with the dates, if it had been accepted, how much they were paying for it, etc. It helped me keep track of what was published where and who still owed me money. For hard copy magazines I keep my contributor’s copies, but I also had a binder with copies of online zines. I didn’t get all those printed and wish I had because most of them are no longer online.
    Tree Killer. 😉

  2. I have a notebook to keep track of everything I send out and if it’s accepted or not. I also have a couple word docs. One has a list of my stories and the magazines I’ve sent them to, another has a list of magazines and the stories I’ve sent them. I also have this, weird thing on my wall. I may have to take a photo of it and write a blog about it.

  3. Gretchen Says:

    If there were “TreeKillers Anonymous”, would they serve coffee in paper cups at the meetings? 😉
    I can feel how daunting it would be to change your ways — all that time that you could spend writing!!
    Why not assuage your concsience by buying recycled paper? 🙂

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