A step-by-step guide to efficiently organizing your writing submissions and published work, all in one place
Being a writer or a content creator is not easy work. Staying on top of one platform and making sure you create consistently enough is hard enough as it is. Now throw in multiple platforms you need to keep track of and you have a whole jumble of work to observe and monitor. Does this sound familiar? It’s the life of experimenting creators with many ideas and passions in the modern age.
If you are like me — a naturally detail-oriented person who doesn’t always keep the “big picture” in mind — then this system I’ve discovered of keeping everything in one place might be useful to you.
Trello for creative projects
I recently started using the free desktop and mobile app Trello to track my projects across all my platforms. I believe this app is designed for teams working on projects together, but I have found it works just as well for personal projects. The plus to this versatility is that you can leave certain steps of your project private while giving team access to certain other steps (more on this later).
Here is a general overview of how I personally use Trello to organize and keep track of all my writing projects and submissions.
As you can see, I have my work spread across multiple platforms. Other than posting on Medium, I also create videos for YouTube as well as self-publish my own books on Amazon. That’s at least three different platforms I have to make sure I am keeping pace with.
I’ll go through each section in turn to show you how it looks and how exactly I use it. But first, some key points about how Trello works.
How Trello works — some key terms
Before I get into how I have each section organized, I just wanted to take some time to talk about some key terms in Trello (if you are already familiar with these, feel free to skip this section).
When you first download the app, you create a workstation (“Writing Management” is the name of the workstation I created). This will contain all your working projects.
You have the choice to either make this private or to share it with others via email. If you choose to share, others can access and make changes within the workstation (you can still make certain elements private within the workstation, which I will talk about in the next section).
Inside each workstation, you can create boards. I have created a board for each creative platform I use, as well as each project type (I will explain my reasoning in more detail in the following sections).
You can keep all your boards private if you are the only one who is working on your projects. If there are others who are looking over certain parts of your work (let’s say, you have an editor look over your Medium articles before you publish them), you can make that one board shared and all others private. You can play around with who has access to each part of the project in whatever way works best for your work style.
Inside each board, you have lists (or columns). These usually represent the stages your work is in.
You can add as many lists as you like within each board, and label them however you like. Your work will move through each list as it progresses across the board and nears completion.
Cards represent each piece of work or project you are working on.
Cards will always be associated to a list at any given point in the project timeline.
You can add a wealth of information to each card, such as due dates for the project, labels, tags, links, descriptions, etc. by clicking on the card. For example, for this article, I have added a photo and a submission date.
You can drag and drop cards as they move through the board. They will begin under the first list and make their way over to the last.
How it all looks together
You can see the bog picture of how all this looks from the following glimpse into my “Medium Article Management” board.
The current article is in the “Articles Submitted to Publication” list. Once it gets either submitted or rejected, I will move it to one of the upcoming lists, accordingly.
Now that you’re familiar with how Trello is designed, I will show you each of the boards and how I have set them up.
How I use Trello
My “Medium Article Management” board
The following screenshot shows how I use Trello for writing on Medium.
I first create a card under the list “Ideas for Medium Articles”. When I’ve started writing the article, I move it to the “Medium Articles in Writing Stage” list. As you can see, I have a few articles in that stage right now.
Once the article is written, I move the card that represents it into the “Medium Articles in Editing Stage” list. I can add a few tags or labels if I have a specific date I want it to be finished by, or if I have an editor looking over it and want to have it labelled as such.
Once the article has been submitted to a publication, I move it to the “Articles Submitted to Publication” list and add a date tag to keep track of when I submitted it.
If the publication accepts the article, I move it to the “Articles Published in Publications” list and add the publication name and publishing date. If the article is rejected but still has some hope for being accepted, I move the card back into the “Medium Articles in Editing Stage” list and edit the article accordingly. Otherwise, I simply publish the article without a publication.
My “Self-Publishing Management” boards
I have the “YouTube Video Management” board set up in pretty much the same way as the “Medium Article Management” board. But my four other self-publishing boards I have set up slightly different.
The following are the lists I have for the three types of books I self-publish. The lists should be fairly straightforward and self-explanatory.
“Flash Fiction Submission Management” board
“Poetry Collection Management” board
“Novel Publishing Management” board
SPM in the final list of each board stands for the “Self-Publishing Management” board, which is the final board in the self-publishing process, and where all the self-publishing magic happens.
“Self-Publishing Management” board — where the formats lie
Once a good amount of publication-rejected stories or poems rack up, I collect them together in order to self-publish an anthology or a poem collection. When they are ready for the self-publishing process, they get bound together and moved to the “Self-Publishing Management” board. Similarly, once a novel is ready for self-publishing, it also gets moved to this board as well.
I am using my self-published novel The Boathouse as an example for how this board works.
I created a few checklists in the card for the novel, and listed everything it needs to be published in all three desired formats (ebook, print, and audiobook). The novel is already published in ebook and print paperback format, so those lists have been crossed out. Now the novel is next in line to be published in audiobook format, so it’s now in the “Audiobook Publishing Stage” list. Once the audiobook version is completed, it will be moved to the “Completely Published Stage” list.
What else can you do with Trello?
This post outlines just one of many creative ways you can set up Trello for your own personal or collective use. There’s no harm in experimenting with it however you like to find what works best for your needs. You can use the way I’ve done it as a basis and make it your own.
I hope this has been a helpful guide that might inspire you to set up your own optimal creative plan, or if nothing else, can help you keep the big picture in mind at all times.
Note: I am not affiliated with Trello. I am simply sharing information about the tool because I believe can be helpful for writers and creators as it has been helpful for me. However, the books mentioned in this post are self-published by me and are available for purchase on my Amazon page. Thank you for reading and supporting my work.
Are you a dark fiction writer looking to have your work published?
Submit to our digital and print anthology series – Dark Speculations: Tales Of Various Shapes And Shadows.
We seek dark speculative tales of any genre as long as they are in line with dark themes. We aim to publish stories in a wide variety of horror, sci-fi, adventure, and fantasy subgenres.
Ready to share your own thoughts on fact and fiction? Want to know how far your writing can take you?
Join the ranks of thousands who have become amazing writers through this platform, gain unlimited access to their work, and earn some extra money along the way — all for only $5 a month.
Ready to give it a go? Sign up here.
If you like this article, be sure to follow me to stay on top of my musings.
Need help writing and publishing your book? Want to learn to write a story that sells?
Work with a certified coach to get your ideas out of your head and onto the page—then onto bookshelves.
We are as detail-focused as we are creative, as friendly as we are professional.
Clear the mist on publishing.