I heard a comment from young writer this week that published writers still often miss. It is a step many writers don't take the time to do as they write...and in the end they pay for it with frustration, pain, lost hours and sometimes lost sleep.
The comment came from my son who returned home from college this week for Christmas break. Majoring in professional writing, he still had three essays to submit online by the weekend. Busy guy.
"How much more until you're finished?" I asked.
"Almost done," he replied.
"I just have to finish one more page and then tidy up the citations."
"Don't you love those?" I asked sarcasm dripping from each word. Footnotes. They are a thorn for most writers. A true pain that slows the writing process for most.
"Oh, I'm in good shape," he finished. I usually insert those as I go, so I don't lose them and it's relatively easy at the end."
What? Did my son really just say that? I was impressed. THAT is a tip that many more seasoned writers don't do...but should. I get manuscripts all the time, even from often published writers missing footnotes in which they struggle to locate after the fact where the material was found.
While you don't want to stop a great writing flow to get the footnotes down perfectly, you DON'T want to keep writing and forget to log your source, page number, etc. quickly jotting something down from whence it came.
The painful process to remember where you pulled the quote, stat, etc. after the writing is completed can take hours if it eludes you. Save yourself the headache and heartache. Write the reference down as you go, so when you think you're done with your book, you might really be done with your book!
Tip: Start an Excel sheet at the beginning of your book. List the book title and then note of the quotes, stats and scriptures you use as you go along with at least the name of the book and page number, newspaper, magazine or website. This can then also be a quick-glance reference guide that not only notes where the reference was found, but if a scripture what version was used. It also helps ensure that you don't duplicate these references in future sections of the book.