Organizing my clips

The pile of newspapers on my desk has grown steadily ever since I started working as a stringer. Whenever I write an article, I pick up a copy of that week’s newspaper for the print version of what I wrote. The stack reached six papers high as of Saturday last week when I finally decided to do something with them.

I knew that I wanted to cut out the articles and paste them into a scrapbook. But first, I needed to copy and scan them. The articles would make up my very first packet of clips to show editors, so I really needed to get that made in order to apply for more writing jobs.

For those of you who’re unfamiliar with clips, they are pretty much a resume for journalists. Clips are published pieces that you’ve written for newspapers or magazines. They show an editor how you write along with showing them that you’ve been published. Most calls for journalists or magazine writers that I’ve found want clips included with the cover letter.

So last Saturday, I sat down at my desk with a pair of scissors and got to work.

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I do have all of this information listed in an Excel database, but writing it down like this was much easier than having to search for it among 60+ other entries.

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I’m actually quite proud of how this looks.

I started by writing down the name of the paper, the volume and number, along with the title of the article and the page numbers. That way I didn’t risk forgetting which article came from which newspaper. Then I started cutting out the articles. They landed, somewhat organized, in a manila folder while the rest of the paper ended up on the floor in a pile.   The next step consisted of copying the articles with my printer/copier/scanner until I had them all on a white backing. This let me write down the information about the paper and the article. My handwriting can vary from pretty neat to chicken scratch; usually it starts off as one before turning into the other. So every time I put the pen against the paper, I struggled to not think toomuch about my handwriting. The more thought involved, the more likely my hand would tremble at the wrong point and make a weird four that looked instead like a nine.

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Three versions: original, digital, and paper copies.

I managed to not mess up anything, a miracle by my standards,and then moved to scanning all of the articles onto my computer. There’s now a nice little folder on my computer desktop labeled “clips” that contains all of the articles neatly labeled with their titles and the date they were published. They’re just waiting for me to send them off to editors.

Since I had the articles already neatly placed in the printer, I decided just to make a copy of each of them. I have a nasty habit of putting stuff down and losing it. The annoying part is that I’m always so sure I’ll find it again. And then, nope. It’s gone.

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Somehow I always end up making a mess when I’m trying to be productive.

So now I have two printed sets of clips, the scanned ones, and the originals waiting to be taped inside a scrapbook. A pretty productive evening, I think.

Do you have clips that you send to editors? How do you organize them?

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