Thursday, May 19, 2011

Confession Thursday: Organizing Poetry

Even though Tuesday is popular on blogs for confessions, I have a Thursday Confession: I am terrible at organizing my poetry and submission process. I realized last night that I am currently sending around a poem that I had published in 2004. That's just bad record-keeping. Once again, my little index box system has failed me.

Also, I have a lot of poems scattered on different PCs and back-up sites, no full copy of anything anywhere. This makes it really tough to figure out what I have and where things are. Things are complicated by a PC crash I had back in January 2007 and lost all electronic copies of everything I had written prior to that. At the time, I had hard copies of my thesis and dissertation, but I lost pretty much everything I only had e-copies of. So you would really think I would know better, but I've never put together a good system of how to put full copies of originals and backups in places I can work with them.

This has also made it tough to try to organize a book. Although I put together my dissertation as a book, I'm not totally happy with it at this point, and I'm looking to re-imagine a project. Maybe I even want to reimagine what poems I am submitting to magazines. I look at some that have been seen at a whole lot of magazines over the years, and I think maybe they aren't that good, they aren't going to find a home, they don't belong in a book. It's a tough thing to say, but maybe the best thing is to be honest about what I'm working with and be smarter and where I'm spending my energies. I'm trying to look at it like a farmer burning a field before replanting. I'm not planning on starting from scratch, but I do want to start with things worth spending time on.

Having said this, I think my first step is to put together 2 hard copies of what I've written so far, one for home and one for work. Maybe I will even throw drafts in there. Basically, it will be anything worth saving.

My second step will be to figure out how I am going to keep e-copies of things. It's not difficult to email myself a few files or upload them onto Google Docs, but an email isn't exactly editable, and I can't access Google Docs (or any other file storage site) from work. My biggest problem is that I have no way to work on something at the office (the place where I'm most likely to write, given a few spare moments), save it, then work on it at home. Not without saving it as separate files, anyway, and then I'm juggling multiple versions. I end up saving most of my working copies of things at work, which is definitely not smart. Then I have pages of handwritten stuff at home, where it seldom gets finished. If only I could use a flash drive (not allowed at work) or bring my netbook in (also not allowed).

I'm going to have to think about what I should do about that. To those of you who work on multiple computers: how do you keep your files and versions straight? And what's your favorite way of making regular backups?

Also, while I'm confessing, I will say it was me who turned the anti-phishing poster by the bathroom sideways. I got tired of it slouching over on itself because it was too big for the holder. How long is it gonna be before someone notices and changes it, huh?

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