In any movie, the superhero jumps in to solve the problem.  There’s no time for bureaucracy because the villain is up to no good now.

What does this have to do with tracking story submissions?

Dog super hero costume. little jack russell wearing a red mask for carnival party isolated blue background
A charming photo from Demkat on IstockPhoto.

We tend to overcomplicate tasks.  The more steps it takes, the more time it takes, and the more time it takes from the writing.

WHY NOT TRACK IT IN MORE DETAIL?

You’ll always have more rejections than acceptances.  Most of them will probably be form rejections

So how does knowing that it was a form rejection help?  It doesn’t.

But it does remind you that your story was rejected.

Every time you add a new submission, the reminder is there.  Every time you update an entry, the reminder is there.

How is this helpful?!

SO WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW?

A minimalist approach starts by asking what we need to know:

  1. The story we submitted
  2. The magazine/anthology/contest we submitted it to
  3. When we submitted it
  4. Maybe when a response is expected (useful for contests where they might not send a response)

We also have to ask the other important question:

What would I rather be doing?  Updating a spreadsheet or an online site or writing a story?

Every little bit of time to doing a lot of extra steps takes a chink out of the writing time.  It does add up!

THE MINIMALISM APPROACH

What then is an option to track the submissions?  You have an existing tool in your toolkit:

The calendar. 

You want one of those month wall calendars, like this one (I’m not getting any benefit from providing this link.  I just find it helpful to see specifics).

But don’t waste a day block filling in the submission.  Just grab a Post-It.  Put in the story name and the magazine you submitted it to.  Slap it on the top of the calendar and done.

Once a response comes back, toss the Post-It.  This does not have to be any more complicated than that.