Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Grunt Work

We all have what I call 'grunt work'. It's the stuff behind the writing that we'd all rather not do, but that's really necessary for keeping yourself sane. I'm talking about paperwork, and filing, and receipts, and taxes... The list goes on. It's secretarial stuff for which we all wish we had the funds to pay someone else to do. (Actually, someone else used to pay me to do this stuff for them, but that was in my before-writing life.)

Today, for me, it's database work. I have piles of agent information from at least two books ago that I've never entered into my database. (I've been too busy writing, but that's no excuse.) Plus, I am embarking on the search for an agent with RTL, and now I have all that to enter. I'll never keep it straight in my head. The whos, the whats, the whens get jumbled up in there if I don't keep it organized.

So, since I'm off work, I'm tackling the piles.

What I use to keep all of this organized is an antiquated DOS-based contact management program. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of its newer versions, but it works for me. It's very simple, straightforward and almost idiot-proof. As long as the information is entered, and entered correctly, that is. If I want to see who those few agents are who got Blink before I got distracted with writing RTL, all I would have to do is pull up the file and I could see who got what when. Right now, however, that information is in a pile on the floor next to me. Ack.

Tell me, what do you use to keep yourself organized? Do you keep on top of it, or are you like me with piles of files scattered around you in disarray until you get fed up with it?


Sean Ashby said...

Having only one book under my belt, I've only gone through the submission process once. I used Excel, because my wife said that would be best, but I'm a Mac guy, so I'm a mess when I fumble around in Excel.

I've seen online tracking options like Query Tracker, but I wonder if it's any better than doing it myself. Maybe I'll try it on the next book...

JenWriter said...

For database-related information like that, I use either Excel or Access. I prefer Access a lot more, but I'm not sure I would recommend it unless you have the time to learn it.

I know some people really like Scrivener and use that to keep track of agent information, but I've never used it myself.

WordVixen said...

Organize? What is this organize?

Actually, I keep everything on post-its. Most of which are stuck unto whatever book I'm reading until I finish reading it. Then, it gets stuck onto the piles of post-its stuck to my bedside table until they get knocked onto the floor. Two to three times a year, I read over them and re-write the still-relevant information onto other post-its and stick them in a pile on my bedside table until they get knocked onto the floor. Then, two to three.... gee, does this sound repetitious?

Travis Erwin said...

Sadly, I too am a piler, but even worse I never seem to get sick of my disarray it only gets deeper.