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You’re probably wondering what my naming convention is when I draft an essay. Thanks for bringing it up.
Let’s say I suddenly get a great idea for an essay (never actually happens), and I start to “write it up,” as the publisher of The Griffin Report of Food Marketing used to call it (for about 3 of the lousiest months of work I ever experienced, back in the late 1980s). Once I’m done with that first sentence or two, I’m going to save. I don’t care how incoherent the sentences are, if I don’t have them saved I won’t necessarily remember the essential subject I was writing about when I wake up the next afternoon. So I’ll call it something like Time Travel in Your Lifetime, a subject that I'm highly qualified to write about and certainly will be of interested to you.
I’ll continue writing, now saving every two or three sentences, until that first draft is done.
But wait a minute, I realize the name is all wrong! This essay isn’t so much about time travel as it is about how to make really awesome pancakes. So I’m either going to close and rename, or more likely “save as” Awesome Pancakes. So now I have two identical documents. I’ll keep that first one (Time Travel in your Lifetime) in my essays directory for the rest of eternity, never to be opened again, and will work on the other (Awesome Pancakes). Later, when I'm long gone and scholars sift through “my papers” in electronic form, they will discover that the former is really just an early draft of the latter, and will curse me for having wasted their valuable time.
Now I’m going get granular on this baby, saving each edit, even if it’s just a word, or a character. Sometimes I'll even save if I was pondering a change but didn’t make it – that’s how careful I am. Now it’s done!
The next time I open it – maybe just before I’m about to blindly submit it to some journal, where an intern who wasn’t yet born when I graduated college will reject it after 10 seconds – I'll read it again and realize it’s no good. I'll work on it again, and now save it as Awesome Pancakes Final to indicate that this is the actual final draft. This will go on for weeks, maybe months, as I continue to make changes and update the name to things like Awesome Pancakes Final_4_rev23. Eventually I will come up with the “true” final version, the one that really will get rejected by that teenage intern, and will name it Awesome Pancakes Final_FINAL.
What’s your naming convention?