Posted by: nancyisanders | August 29, 2013

Highlights: Let’s Get Organized


By now, I’ve been busy getting organized. I’ve learned from past experience that getting organized helps in so many ways. It makes info easy to find at my fingertips. It keeps all my notes on a current project in one place. It also helps my thoughts get more focused as I divide up the journey into bite-sized chunks.

So let’s get organized! If you have your own organization system, put it to work. If you don’t, I highly recommend using expandable pocket folders. I started using this system after I visited my Scholastic editor at the publishing house in New York City. She used this system and I thought…hey! If it works for an editor in a top publishing house, it’s gonna work for me!

As you can see in the photo, I have a bunch of file folders in my expandable pocket folder on the left. I dug around and found file folders I’d gathered in previous years when I’d researched more about Highlights magazines, so I put them in my pocket folder, too, just in case I might discover a nugget to use now.

I also got my box of manila file folders and created some files for this current project. Here are some of the folders I created and why:

Current Needs: In here I keep the info I printed out with their list of current needs. That way I can always find it quickly.

NF Yahoo Group: In here I keep the tips people post in the nonfiction listserv about their success stories working with Highlights.

Nonfiction ideas: This is the file folder I tuck in all my ideas, big and small. Ideas are like gold, so I treasure each one and try not to let it slip away from me. Not only will this be a great resource as I’m working to narrow my topic, but it will also provide ideas for future potential articles.

Sample NF Articles: This is the file folder where I collect samples of published stories and articles from Highlights that are similar in format to the one I want to write. Since my local libraries have given me permission to Xerox anything I get on loan from them for personal research, I tuck photocopied stories as well as stories I type out word for word. (More about this in an upcoming post.)

Manuscript: I also have a file folder for the manuscript I’ll be writing. It’s empty now but as I start to work on it in chunks, I’ll plan to print out various versions and store them in here. I like to have paper copies in case my computer crashes etc.

Research: In this file, I’ll store any research notes I print out or keep as I work on my article.

Bibliography: I’ll keep a bibliography in here printed out of books, articles, and Internet sources I use on this project.

Photographs: This is where I’ll store notes or e-mails or information about potential photographs to recommend be used with my article.

Endorsements: This is where I’ll store notes or e-mails or information about the expert(s) I contact to endorse my article.

Submission: This will hold a copy of my final submission so I can always access it in one handy place.

Highlights: Last, but not least, this is a file folder I created to hold any e-mails or correspondence I have with the editors at Highlights.

Why do I have so many folders you might ask when most of this information is on my computer? Let’s just say that my computer has crashed far too many times or files gotten corrupted or lost for me to feel comfortable keeping everything on the computer.

I like to print out paper copies of stuff as much as possible.

And here is where I’ll keep it all organized in one handy spot. Plus, there’s plenty of room to tuck in my green notebook at night that I’m carrying around with me everywhere right now to jot down ideas or thoughts that pop into my head. And a clipboard where I clip my main focus at this point. And samples of my magazines.


  1. Great ideas! Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: