How do I keep track of my poems to submit?

On a recent writer’s journey post, I mentioned that I keep track of my poems, but I didn’t explain how. So, today, I’m going to show how I do that.

Here’s a basic rundown of what an empty template looks like:

You can do this in Microsoft Word or Excel. I prefer Word. I make a table with six columns. From left to right, they are: title, rating/where at, last edited, where physically at, line count, and means.

Title is pretty self-explanatory. I put the poems in ABC order by title. I usually have an empty purple line with the letter a, b, c, etc. and the poems that start with that letter below.

Rating/where at serves two purposes. I rate my poems with colors. Some poems are all right while others feel stronger. So if it’s a poem I enjoy and think others will too, I fill in the box blue. If the poem needs a bit more work, the box may be yellow or orange.

Where at tells me if the poem is out at the moment. If I submit one, I write “Pending at XXX” over the colored box. I also will write “Website” if I put one on this website. This lets me know if I need to pick another poem to submit instead since I don’t do simultaneous submissions. Sometimes, I write whether the poem needs tweaking or so too.

Last edited is also self-explanatory. In the box, I mark the date of when I last edited the poem.

Where physically at lets me know where the poem is on my computer, so I can find it easy.

Line count tells me know how many lines are in the poem because some journals request poems between a certain number of lines. I found myself counting lines over and over. So, to stop counting so much, I count once and write it down.

Means reminds me what each poem is about. Sometimes, I’m looking for a poem that covers a specific topic, but I can’t remember its name. This lets me do a quick command+F search to find what I’m looking for.

Here is an example of one filled out:

I hope this gives you an idea of how to keep track of yours.

6 thoughts on “How do I keep track of my poems to submit?

  1. Thank you Robin for this helpful layout .. probably something I should have started years ago… but I think I am a 1000 poems too late… I do have them filed in ABC order… and nearly all of my poems are in my “Tullawalla” poetry booklets, of which I have 21 books, of 40 – 45 p0ems in each…. Recently I created a folder of the 21 ‘Contents’ pages, and also a separate folder of my ‘Published’ poems (75)… And last week finished my folder of the Haiku I have written (92)… But your idea of “Means” is a good one, because I have too many poems to remember what they are about…
    My Cataloguing needs a good secretary . .. 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

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