Personally, I find markets easier to track than other opportunities. You’ve all seen my tracking method over in the side bar. I use del.icio.us, a social bookmarking site to keep track of all the markets I run across. There’s one key feature that makes it a perfect organizer: tags. I tag each market that I book mark with the topics it covers, as well as the type of material (short stories, poetry, etc.). Then, when I have a story on a specific topic, I just click on the appropriate tag to check which publications might be interested. The drawbacks to my method? I’ve got at least one or two markets that have changed focus (or paying status) since I last saw them. Ideally, I’d have some way of automatically updating my list without any effort on my part. Unfortunately, technology has not found the perfect solution to my problem yet.
When it comes to contests and other opportunities that I must address in a timely manner, I rely entirely on Google Calendar and GMail. Say that I’m looking at an opportunity for a short-term contract. I paste the necessary information into an appointment form for Google Calendar, for the day that I intend to handle all the details of landing that gig. It may be today or it may be tomorrow, but it goes on the calendar. Secondly, I run all of my email through GMail — including emails that I send to myself. Because I can search my older emails, without having to sort through them, trying to remember when I sent an email, I don’t need to worry about filing information or putting it all together in one document.
From what I’ve heard, David Weinberger’s Everything Is Miscellaneous really addresses this approach well. However, I’ve yet to have the time to sit down with a copy and find out for myself. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your comments.
How do you keep track of your opportunities? I’ve known plenty of freelancers who rely on printing out information and filing it, and I’ve known others who rely on elaborate t0-do lists. Where do you fit in?