This is it! This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for – a publication you’ve had your eye on is interested in your work. Perhaps you’ve had a chance meeting with an editor or saw a job post. Now all you need is to send in that one great clip. You know, the one that shows your skill, expertise and spot on interviewing? So you type the title and your name into Google to pull up the piece…It’s gone.
Silly you, you never got around to saving that clip or even printing it out. You figured it would always be there, when you needed it.
Not saving your clips, backing up your blog posts, etc. is like throwing money away. Why work so hard, research so thoroughly only to toss your work to the wind? Four steps will save you time and tears:
1. Save your web articles, blog posts, etc. as a pdf to ensure they’ll be there when you need it.
2. Keep hard copies of both web articles and print articles in archive grade storage boxes. Your plastic tub from Walmart isn’t going to cut it. Eventually, the paper will begin to yellow and fade, mainly because plastic continues to give off chemicals speeding the breakdown of the paper.
3. Back it up online. There are a variety of services that allows you to save your work beyond your laptop. Computers crash, fires damage files, but online sources are viable, easy-to-use options. There are both free services and paid services available. Do a little research to find the one that works the best for you. Here are few you can investigate:
A few simple steps will go a long way to protect your work and streamline your job search. Pulling up a clip for a query or client shouldn’t be a needle/haystack search. You’ve worked hard to build your career, take time to preserve it!
This is a really critical point. When I left my last staff-writing job, I sat down and printed out reams of my best stories as a backup strategy. Now if that publication ever goes bust, I could still make PDFs of the clips.
It’s easy to get lazy with Internet links, but it does pay to have backup! I know writers who PDF all the clips on their site, so they have control of them and know they won’t vanish. Probably the best policy, but I haven’t had the energy.
One backup strategy that’s worked for me — Google around on key words for the post and your name. You may find another site that has reprinted the story, either legally or not. I got one clip back that way, from a local magazine that folded.
Carolyn Sands says
I want to thank you for the kind advice you posted about backing up your work. I am fairly new in this business and am learning new things every day. I truely appreciate your post.
Chris Van says
Some really good tips here Terreece. I ran into a similar situation when hunting for clips from the time I spent writing for a daily paper. I’d never had trouble until one day I jumped online to print out my clips only to find the paper had set up a pay wall. I had to shell out hard earned cash to get copies of the work they’d originally paid me to write.
I try to make at least 20-25 hard copies of the really good clips I know I’ll be using a lot. When I get down to the last one I make more copies.
Thankfully these days it’s so much easier to save and share clips electronically that this isn’t too much of an issue. At least until the hard drive crashes. Back up your work at least every 3-6 months folks.
Carolyn Sands says
I want to thank you for publishing the post on article clips 911. I am fairly new in this business and am learning new things every day. I truely thank you for the article. I never understood exactly how serious the need to back up my work was until now.