In my last Full-time Writer In Training post I mentioned a spreadsheet I keep for my writing and I thought I’d write a more lengthy post about why I keep one and how I use it.
Why I Keep It
I’d like to know how fast I can write. I have this fear of having my debut novel published, it does really well, and the publisher goes “I want the sequel in X amount of months”. I want to know if I can do it.
I also find it easy to get distracted, or feel too lazy/tired to write. I have a comment section which allows me to record what I’ve been doing whilst writing.
It serves as motivation and is inspiration when I open it up and see all the days I’ve written (or how long it’s been since).
How I Use It
I’ve got eight columns: Day, Date, Task, Words, Time, Words per Hour, WIP and Comments.
I record the day I’ve done it, the date, what part of my work in progress I’m working on (e.g. Scene: Claire kisses Harley for the first time or editing) and how long I wrote for. I work out how many words per hour I could have written based on that session. The WIP column is my “work in progress”, where I write the title of what I’m working on. The last column is for any comments about what happened whilst I was writing (e.g. talking to Daniel on Facebook, or watching Friends).
Also as you may have noticed I’ve reworked a few columns to make it suit an editing log.
Now I’m not sure how well an editing version would go on accuracy. Every novel and every part of the novel, is different. Although when you write, you can never be sure you won’t hit a snag. I find it’s a hell of a lot easier to write through writer’s block to keep my word count rising on track. Whereas with editing, it can take ages if the novel needs heaps of work.
If you like my spreadsheet idea feel free to use it, it’s something easy than can be created with a basic knowledge of Excel.
The lovely blogger from Travelling In My Bookcase has used it. She wrote a post about her new resolution to write for a least thirty minutes a day. Check it out here. She even extended upon my idea and is going to implement a reward strategy to give herself a gift every X amount of words she has written. Great motivator!
I hope this helps everyone who is writing or who wants to write. It can be very hard to find time to write, especially with a job, family and hobbies. But it is worth it if you love doing it. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that you love it. I know from personal experience that whenever I stop writing for a long expanse of time I find it hard to make it a priority, but when I do, I always wonder why it took me so long. I love it, I love writing, I love being in the world I created, with the characters I know well, but that also surprise me.
I want the spreadsheet to help motivate and inspire others (and myself!) to write more regularly.
Good luck! 😀
Let me know how it goes 🙂 🙂