Where the Shorts Fall Down

Thanks to a post by John Remy of the Inkpunks, I was introduced to an online project-management system known as Kanbanpad. I (and now many other writers) use it to visually track where my short stories are in their progress from ideas/deadline prompts through to “on submission.”

This has been wonderful for me, as I’ve been able to see where my stories are falling down, where they leave my brain and languish, unremembered, until I no longer feel the burn to write them, revise them, or submit them.

I generate lots of ideas, lots of bits that lead to nothing–or nothing fast. But I also generate drafts that I leave to sit, to come back to with ‘fresh eyes,’ as they say, that I never get back to. They slip under the door, or behind the bed, or wherever your forgotten things sneak away to. That’s where Kanbanpad has helped me.

Each month I use a different color, showing me how actively I’m generating stories and how long it takes for me to sub them out. Each story follows its own path from idea to writing to revision or major revision to submission, but its always there, in full color, along with all the other gems waiting for polish, for love. Harder to forget them if all your stories line up and sit pretty, with that brown color reminding you it’s been 2 months since you started it already….

Screen Shot kanbanpad

This, along with W1/S1, has led to some serious change in my output. Notice all the green stories in my Submission queue? Those are March-begun stories. I need more orange in there, though. I’ve been concentrating on finishing things that languished, not so much on new writing this month. See? There it goes again. I’ve only got one thing on the burners for April, so I’d better get it in gear this month. Two weeks to go! Yay Orange!


About M.E. Garber

I'm an itinerant Ohio-born speculative fiction writer now living in north central Florida.
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4 Responses to Where the Shorts Fall Down

  1. beckony says:

    Wow, this system looks awesome. I’ve been looking for something that was a writing-centric to-do list.


  2. fossilist says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been playing around with it and it feels like it could be useful, although it tempts me to design something of my own that is more specific to the writing process. I did discover that you can add more columns under Project settings, which is helpful.

    This seems to be a simple implementation of the Agile Development approach to project management which is all the rage in software development these days.

    And to return the favor… if you’re not already familiar with it, check out the Submissions Grinder.


    Basically the same thing as Duotrope, but free, and adding functionality all the time. This is where you can manage the stories that make it to the end of your chart in kanbanpad! Also great for looking for markets.


    • M.E. Garber says:

      It is tempting to make your own…but for me, I MUST resist. Otherwise, I’ll spend hours tweaking and fine-tuning and … um, not writing. Also, NOT being a tech guru, it would take me longer than the average bear to make something better than this. Especially with this degree of simplicity (I love that I can drag-and-drop the blocks with their formatting to the other columns so easily!).

      Thanks for the reminder of The Grinder! I need to update my Links area to include it. (sigh–another ‘not writing’ thing. see how that happens?)


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