I’ve been accused of being overly organized, but the truth is that I’m lazy and prone to not doing things. And so I over compensate for my tendency to be lazy by creating a series of tools that prod me to be on track.
Daily Productivity Workbook
Many people are familiar with my word count spreadsheets, which I make available each December for the following year. You can read more about the sheet and it’s uses in this blog, as well as download two versions of it.
I find that I like numbers. I don’t always know what to do with them, but I take comfort in having them around and being able to see substantial growth over a period. These sheets also help me figure out what I can write in a given amount of time. When I was laid off this was invaluable to helping me figure out how many books I could write, how I could improve my income and when to allow for time off due to seasonal fluctuations.
At this point I have sheets going back four years. I find it’s highly informative of what kind of habitual changes and practices a person can learn if they push themselves. When I first started tracking my words I managed around 200,000 a year, most of that during NaNoWriMo. This year I wrote 890,000 words. Who knows what I’ll pull off next year?
As a career writer knowing what I’m working on, when it’s due and where it’s going is important. I can take those word counts and help plan out my year. Up until the latter part of 2016 I was tracking this in the back of my productivity workbook. I found that I needed more information presented in a different layout, so I created a new tool. The picture to the left is tiny, you can click on it to blow it up some, but not a whole lot. This is my master list of projects and where they are in the pipeline. This is where I set my personal due dates and when I need to take action for a new book.
Project Management List
It’s hard to remember what needs to be done for every stinking book, isn’t it?
To help myself check all the boxes I made a Project Management List of the things to do for each book. Some of these are highly particular to what I do and not everyone will do them, but it’s a starting point, right?
Another tool that was invaluable for me to use last year in determining whether or not I could pursue writing full time were my accounting sheets. These have evolved over time to fit my needs. In the beginning it was pretty basic and has grown over time. To use this you will need to have familiarity with the sum function. At some point I’d like to create a how to for this document, but that’s not in the cards for today. If you’d like to fiddle with these and experiment, be my guest!
Expense Tracking Workbook
This one I’m adding after this has been published. After a few requests I dug through and found my template for tracking expenses. This is still a work in progress. It needs refining, but I hope that through feedback this year I can develop it a bit more so that it’s easier to use and useful for the average writer to keep a tab on what their expenses are.
I hope these tools are helpful. I’ve developed them to fit my needs so they won’t be for everyone. Feel free to tweak and re-purpose what I’ve created to fuel your creativity!