Entropy is Not Your Friend

The following is from a post I made on the blog of a playwriting group I belong to. Thought I’d toss this out to get feedback from you writers/artists out there. I think it’s also preying on my mind since, having purchased that fabu, lab-quality Canon printer, I’m thinking more and more about selling photographs, and I need to figure out a few strategies to track inquiries, submissions, and (maybe) sales.

Or maybe it’s one of those ugly signs that I’m growing up. God. I hope not.



Having recently spent a whole weekend looking for a packet of research materials (which I never could find), I kind of went: “This is ridiculous…this office looks like a grenade went off in here.”

I know the adage that ‘creative people are rarely tidy’ (a journalist friend of mine used to have that tacked up over his kitchen sink), but there’s a certain point where entropy starts to take over and screw you up, particularly when it comes to keeping track of submissions and deadlines. So I’m planning to revamp my files so each play has its own Pendaflex hanging folder, and within each of those folders are three- or five-tab manilla folders for:

1. The script.
2. The synopsis.
3. Samples (for query submissions).
4. Reviews/press/photos.
5. Correspondence.
6. Info on possible markets.
7. A CD with files for electronic submissions.

I already track my submissions using an Excel spreadsheet (though it’s hard to keep it updated), but I need to do something more detailed, especially since more and more I’m taking advantage of electronic submission opportunities. Outside of a plain old calendar, I still haven’t quite figured a way to anticipate submission deadlines for stuff like festivals and contests.

Anyway, I thought I’d toss this topic out for discussion, partly to see if anyone has tips or suggestions or if anyone wants to talk about how they approach the business/submission end of playwriting/art.

About Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian. View all posts by Steve Patterson

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