I mentioned last week the importance of keeping accurate records, and Maxi commented that some tips would be useful. So I thought I’d share a couple of my tips here:
BBB (Bloody Barclays Bank)
I call this my triple B tip, because it goes back to my time working for Barclays Bank. I spent many years as the Open & Close Clerk (Barclays weren’t very creative with their job titles) which involved … opening and closing bank accounts on the bank’s mainframe computer. Despite the fact that I could do it with my eyes shut and didn’t need an aide mémoire, EVERY account being opened or closed HAD to have one of these checklists. I had to initial a series of boxes to acknowledge I’d undertaken every step necessary to either open, or close, an account on the system.
When you do something for so many years, it becomes ingrained. Despite having a computerised database of my records, I also have a paper checklist (a single sheet of paper) for every project, which I initial to ensure that every step is actioned to keep my records correct and up to date. So, whatever your record-keeping system is, consider creating your own aide mémoire for you to check off at every stage of your project.
NAD (Next Action Date)
I like to have what I call a ‘Next Action Date’ - by this I mean a future date when I need to do something. So, whenever I submit a piece of work, I put in a future date when I might consider chasing the editor, if I haven’t heard back from them, by this time. For example, if I know a publication takes 12 weeks to respond to a submission, I’ll but a NAD of 13 weeks time. When a piece is accepted and I’m asked to forward an invoice, I’ll set my NAD for when the invoice is due to ensure that I’m paid when I should be. Most days, I check my database for any NADs, and chase as necessary. It enables me to keep on top of everything, as these jobs become due. Of course, it only works if you set a NAD in the first place!
In a couple of days’ time (probably Thursday) the November issue of Ezee Writer will be out, which includes an article where I discuss the sort of information you might like to record when you submit your work. More information can be found (later in the week) at http://www.writersbureau.com/e-zee-writer/november-2012/