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7 Ways to Tame Your Files

Are you buried up to your neck in paperwork? Here are some tips to help you from drowning in more paperwork.

"I love being a writer," the novelist Peter De Vries once observed. "What I can't stand is the paperwork."

If your filing cabinets are beginning to bulge and you can't remember the last time you actually saw your desktop, here are some tips I've found that can lighten the paper load:

  1. Whenever possible, write notes on both sides of the paper—you'll cut your files in half right there. For notes typed on your computer, print file copies single-spaced and in the smallest font size you can read. Or just save them on your computer (but be sure to back them up).
  2. Don't file a whole magazine if all you need is one article. Tear out the article or, better still, just the relevant pages. Same for anything you print off the Web. With books, photocopy the information you want.
  3. Date every clipping or Web printout you save. Next time you clean your files you'll know at a glance what's obsolete.
  4. Never file something with the idea that you'll read it later. Read it first, and you'll often find you don't need to file it at all.
  5. Go easy on paper clips. They make files unnecessarily thick.
  6. Make a master list of all your files and keep it on your computer for easy updating. You'll know what's filed where and won't end up with a bunch of folders that duplicate each other.
  7. Finally, try three-ring binders as an alternative for some of your files. Binders can pack a lot of pages into a small amount of shelf space.

Greg Daugherty former editor in chief of New Choices magazine is the author You Can Write for Magazines.

What Is a Cli-FI Novel in Writing and What Are Some Examples?

What Is a Cli-Fi Novel and What Are Some Examples?

The literary landscape is as changing as our physical landscape—and one genre gaining momentum is looking to start conversations around that change. Author Marjorie B. Kellogg defines what climate fiction is, and offers some examples that suggests the cli-fi novel has been around for decades.


Writer's Digest 90th Annual Competition Winning Non-Rhyming Poem: "Anticipatory Grief"

Congratulations to Melissa Joplin Higley, Grand Prize winner of the 90th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning non-rhyming poem, "Anticipatory Grief."

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 587

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an On Blank poem.

What to Say When Someone Wants to Kill You | Power of Words

What to Say When Someone Wants to Kill You

Author Gregory Galloway shares an intimate moment in his life that taught him the power of words and reveals why he became a writer.

Writing About Real People in Historical Fiction: What Is Factual and What Is Imagined

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When writing about real people in a real time, how do you distinguish between what is true and what is imaginary? Patti Callahan discuss how to write about real people in historical fiction.

the fisherman

The Fisherman

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about a fisherman.

Jenny Bayliss: On the Power of Second Chances

Jenny Bayliss: On the Power of Second Chances

Author Jenny Bayliss discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, A Season for Second Chances.

A Few Tips for Writing Personal Essays

A Few Tips for Writing Personal Essays

Here are a few tips for writing personal essays from the Publishing Insights column of the March/April 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Dispel vs. Expel (Grammar Rules)

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Let's look at the differences between dispel and expel with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.