Something every aspiring writer is advised to do is to maintain a “clip file.” As the name might imply, that is a file of things you have gotten published. Some writers might save them in a real file cabinet, others (like me) prefer some form of scrapbook.
The reason we do this is to have something to present when we look for bigger and better writing opportunities. As is true with a resume it demonstrates what you have done and how it was presented.
I think my Journalism professor back at New Mexico State University even told us we should do that.
Well, as it happened, I started out as a radio broadcaster when I was in high school and I was primarily a disk jockey. My job was to spin records, get all the commercials on the air and say clever things if I could think of any. But my radio station in Grants, New Mexico, also had us “deejays” reporting news— which consisted of tearing off a newscast from our teletype machine and reading it on the air. (If you don’t know what a teletype is, you haven’t missed all that much.) We were also responsible for putting paper in the teletype when it needed it, changing the ribbon when it needed it, and taking out the trash. If we had time we were supposed to “pre-read” the news before we went on the air live with it. A good idea, because we sometimes encountered names that were hard to pronounce. This was sometimes called the “rip and read” style of broadcast journalism. Doing this, a deejay either learned to hate the news or love it. I was in the latter category. I did some print journalism at various times, but never bothered with a clip file, and we couldn’t really do them in radio, or television, which I did later on.
When I started my weekly column for the Pleasanton Express I decided it was time to do what I should have done all those years ago—save copies of my work. My clip file consists of what is basically a photo album. Having now been a columnist for just over two years, my clips now number more than a hundred.
It’s not that hard, and I should have started doing it years ago. But better late than never!
WARREN DOMKE is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express.