An article at WritersDigest.com included the image of a word count spreadsheet that a writer created to keep herself on track. The title of the article made me laugh: “How to Write a Book When You’re Really, Really Busy.”
But seeing her spreadsheet made me think. It is tough to carve out writing time when life is full and there’s more to it than the novel. Planning is the key and the more I looked at it, the more I saw this simple spreadsheet as a good tool to that end.
So I decided to create my version of the spreadsheet and put it to use.
And you can use it, too. I’m offering it free for download. Click on the link for the file:
I used an older version of Microsoft Excel to create it, so you should have no problem using it. There is a six-month goal of 100,000 words. To meet that goal, you must write 4500 words per week: as low as 700 words per day, depending on how many days you write. Go through your schedule for the next six months and block out on the spreadsheet the days you know you won’t be writing (like holidays).
Formulas within the sheet will automatically calculate your totals. If all goes well, you’ll have the first draft of your book ready by next summer.
Feel free to customize it for your own use. You may want to use the first week to write your beginning outline. Reserve those days on the sheet. If you already have a count started, then type that number in the first cell. Use the spreadsheet as a tool, not as a master. Have fun with it!
After you’ve started using the planner, be sure to leave a comment (a link to this post is on the spreadsheet) and tell me how it’s working for you or how you improved it. If you find any problems or need help with changes, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do. You can also share the planner with others, as long as you include a link back to DarlaMcDavid.com.
(Updated. A version of this article first appeared in April 2012 on DarlaWrites.com)