The blog post that first introduced me to this idea is unavailable now. It was shared in a writing forum and I’m a bit sad that it’s gone.
Creating my very own body of work helped me gain confidence in my writing by seeing the way I have grown so far. It is a universal construct for all the arts, so why not for writing?
A Body of Work is the output of an artists creative work. Sometimes called oeuvre. Think about a list that includes all your stories – the short, the unfinished and the very old ones.
For each piece of art it lists the date of creation, title and some specifics.
When searching for the term, most articles will be about paintings and the article mentioned above was about poems.
Body of Work for Writers
Why would a writer need a separately created body of work? Here is the directory on the computer with all the text files…
First, there might be work included that was written in longhand and never digitalized (a story from around 2010 went missing because of this).
And second, you might edit the files later and loose their chronological order.
Additionally, I love a quick overview. I can show this Body of Work as answer to the question “so, have you written anything?” – although I won’t do that. It is for myself only. And maybe after my death for curios heirs that wonder what I have been up to all these late hours.
The Body of Work includes all the stories an author has written. With a title, date, length (read as: short story, flash fiction, novella, poem, novel…) and additional comments.
Mine is sorted by year of creation, as I have no clue at what specific dates I finished first drafts. And yes, the date is for the finish of the first draft. I tend to finish everything that I write, so if someone sits on a tower of unfinished stories, they have to invent something else.
And by the way – working titles are totally fine, as long as you know the story behind the entry.
Introducing my own Body of Work
No, I won’t include my text document here. Just a quick overview, so you have something to compare, laugh or a few tricks to adapt.
My Body of Work starts with a key. Novels are listed in bold, shorter works in standard and published pieces gain an underline. This way my list is short and I can easily spot my unpublished novels and little literary successes.
I sorted by year, as mentioned above. This way I am able to see how my output has changed over the years. I can spot the years I wrote on book platforms and the long break when I was busy with my education. At the moment I am so proud of the 21 entries for 2020.
In brackets behind the title, I add information about where I created this, submission that I send this story to, the ones that rejected me and those that finally published me (yay). Also there is comments like “NaNoWriMo 2019” or “written in english” or even “data loss”.
Lost in Time
Agent 11 (published at “Textgemeinschaft”)
Der Kuss einer Meerjungfrau (rejected by IB and T3)
Drachenflüsterer (NaNoWriMo 2020)
Personally, I gained a lot by creating my own Body of Work list. Every time I finished a first draft, I hurry to this document and proudly enter a new line.
What are your thoughts about such a list? Already have one or starting your own right away?