This is now. The best way to proceed so that I can find the file later is to leave it lying on the floor, a table or desk somewhere. I can peruse my files each time I walk into the room. They are there in the open, not hidden away in a cabinet. After several months of scattering files about the house, and having my husband suggest that the clutter was beginning to disturb him, I realized that I simply don’t know how to file in this day and age.
The Internet generates more ideas and information than I can process. I copy some of it to save for later – and I put it in a file. Unlike teaching, which has organizing patterns built in (U.S. history in the history drawer, government in the government drawer, etc.), writing files are open-ended. I have files for publishing ideas, for editing ideas, for blogs, for leads to begin the process with, for leads to follow up on. I have friends and colleagues who suggest marketing tips. Do I file those under the name of the provider, under the name of the person/business suggested or under “Things to do?” What I really need is to cross reference all of them. Who has the time?
Case in point. I did a book signing at Underground Books in the Oak Park area of Sacramento. I met a delightful lawyer, Terrie Robinson. Terrie is a Pandora ’s Box of excellent ideas about whom I should send a copy of the book for review. Some of her fourteen suggestions were college law professors, some U.S. history professors, some bookstore owners, others radio or television interviewers. She told me to tell some of them she was referring me. It took me two days to follow up – a copy of the book, a review form, a cover letter and a bookmark mailed priority mail. Let’s see, which files do I create now. Do I file under Terrie Robinson, the name of the professor, the function of the contact (e.g. book store, interview opportunity), or the month I made the contact, among other possibilities?
I’d be concerned if my friend Lise wasn’t having a similar problem. And she isn’t an author!