I have a system. It involves flashcards, a nifty box, and a clipboard.
I think I'm the only person left in the whole world that still uses WordPerfect.
For days now I've left my computer running, WordPerfect open, and 5 poems displayed on the screen. There's a crucial moment in a poem's life when it reaches 'done' and is ready for the next step. Though a poem can be resonating for me, I'm not impulsive enough to throw it out into the world without first giving it some time to rest. A poem is like a roast, I guess. It looks amazing, all steamy and yummy, and makes your mouth water when it comes out of the oven! But you can't cut into it right away, can't sink your teeth into it yet, until it's sat on the counter being starred at for a really really long time. It smells really good during this time, too.
When a poem has rested enough, and I've read it a million times over and am done-done tweaking it, it is ready to be sliced (er, printed) and eaten (sent away). So I print a copy, and add it to the clipboard. This is a hard copy, in case my computer explodes. This provides me with a record of the state the poem was in when it was sent out, but... I guess if my computer exploded, these would all burn up too anyways, cuz they kinda live, er, very nearby. The clipboard is currently divided into 2 sections: animal poems, and, um, not animal poems, all alphabetical. When a poem has been printed, I make a flashcard for it, with its title at the top. Animal poems go on green cards, other poems go on white cards. I accidentally bought white flashcards that don't have lines on them. This kind of gets to me. On these flashcards I write where and when the poem has been sent, and whether or not it has been rejected. I should think of a nicer word for that. Rejected, boo. Every journal I send to also has a flashcard with their name on it. On this card, I note what and when poems were sent to it, and whether and when I've heard back. All these cards live in a nifty box. The box is divided into two sections. One for poems, and one for journals. All of these are also alphabetical, and the poems section has those little letter-tab-sticky-up bits so I can quickly find what I'm looking for. My partner (in crime) thinks Excel would be a lot easier, and I'm all like "gum?" but then again, he's a scientist, not an artist, and this organizationing has become an art form unto itself.
Three of these poems I'll print right now, and I guess I'll print the other one too, but that fifth one, I just don't know yet....
I think maybe I should spruce up my nifty box with stickers.
Organizationing! That's right! Ha!