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How’s your filing? And what’s in a (folder) name?

Here’s a pressing question – what sort of filing system do you favour?

Open Lever Arch File

I love my lever arch files, with their colour-coded dividers and lovingly decided section names. But if you leave the filing for a while the ‘unclassified’ section at the front becomes unwieldy, and it’s impossible to find anything. But (for me) at least the process of weeding, filing and sorting paper has a certain satisfaction.

And now to the computer. The very nature of computer filing (the ease with which you can change folder and file names, not to mention the ease with which you can create new iterations of files – or overwrite them – and the limitless capacity of folders) should make it all a doddle. At least you don’t have to grab the tippex or cut up white labels to stick over section names if you change your mind, or buy new lever arch files.

But for some reason I find the ease of computer filing also creates a increased burden of decision-making. I started with a reasonably rational file name: ‘Poetry’. Then a few subfolder names suggested themselves: ‘working on’, ‘magazines’ (which of course needs the sub-subfolder name ‘correspondance’), the hopeful ‘submitted no reply yet’, the victorious ‘published-forthcoming’ and the sad “failed submissions’. (There’s also ‘archive’ which is mostly rubbish which I just can’t bring myself to delete, with the subfolder ‘may be worth re-working’.. and other folders which probably need deleting or consolidating.)

Now, I’m aware that although I choose to call my sad folder ‘failed submissions’, others may use the blunt phrase ‘rejected’. But I deliberately avoid that. I know that I will never look at any folder called ‘rejected’, whereas ‘failed submissions’ seems like a objective, rational sort of category – one woman’s failure is another’s opportunity, etc. And ‘rejected’ just gives too much power to the rejector, in my mind. Having had a few ‘failed submissions’ find their way into the ‘published-forthcoming’ folder, I feel justified in these semantic decisions.

What do you think? Care to share your filing system? Is it important what we call folders?


Published inSubmissions

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  1. Hi Poetgal, filing can get pretty complicated on the computer. My mail folder is submissions and my subfolders are: Accepted, Pending, and Rejections. I don’t like that last folder either!

  2. Hi poetrycurator (Denise?) – that sounds nice and straightforward actually! I don’t know why but I have all sorts of odd folders and end up having to file things in more than one place, which is never a good idea. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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Robin Houghton 2021
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