Sunday, July 30, 2017

Spreadsheets for life

Although I predominantly work with Microsoft Word as a writer and editor, I'm surprised by how often I end up using Excel spreadsheets. I started using them to organise submissions for WORDLY when I was editor-in-chief and used it on Verandah when I was submissions manager and secretary. It was an excellent way to keep track of things--who submitted what, their contact details, how many editors gave feedback, which editors were assigned to which piece and at which stage, whether or not editing tasks were completed  ... I had a beautiful colour coded list system going on to keep track of everything in one place.

I kinda miss the mayhem of putting those spreadsheets together. I miss the satisfaction and relief of entering that last set of submission details or colour coding the final green box to signify that all the edits were complete.

I have stayed in the habit of using spreadsheets to keep track of rent and utility bills from month to month, which is especially important in a share house like mine. But for a little while now I've been wanting to find a way to incorporate it back into my writing and editing life.

Recently, I did a little clean up of my laptop. I deleted many dank memes and screen shots ... and I stumbled upon some really old stuff I wrote way back in high school. Gosh, some of it was terrible.  But once I got my dedicated writing folder organised and separated the scrap pile from things that had potential, I decided to take an extra step and make a spreadsheet.

I'm going to use this spreadsheet to record writing opportunities and keep track of my submission habits. More importantly, I'm going to use the spreadsheet to make a habit of submitting and holding myself accountable when I don't. The spreadsheet is also going to help me keep track of the submissions--when they're under consideration, being edited, rejected, accepted and published. There's often such a long time between submitting and hearing back that sometimes I forget what I've sent out and where. 

I have been a terribly lazy writer lately. I'm hoping this will help to kick my creative juices into gear.

How do you motivate yourself to write? 



  1. I have tried using spreadsheets from time to time for writing stuff, but I'm not organized enough to really make them work for me--my mind just doesn't work in a spreadsheety way.

    Motivation: generally, it's enough to say, "If I don't write, it doesn't get finished. If it doesn't get finished, it can't get published." That usually works pretty well. Tougher for me is motivating myself to read my own stuff so that I can edit/revise. I like edting/revising, I just hate reading myself.

    1. I didn't like spreadsheets at first, but after using them to keep track of things with the student magazine they grew on me ...

      "If I don't write, it doesn't get finished. If it doesn't get finished, it can't get published." -- This is too true. There are so many steps along the way to getting it published--write, edit, revise (rinse and repeat as necessary) then query/submit. So even finishing the story isn't necessarily enough. I know its a cliche, but you've gotta be in it to win it.

      I hate reading my own stuff too ... I think most writers do. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Well, I get cranky when I'm not writing, so...
    I suppose that's all the motivation I need.

    1. I see how that would work. I get cranky when I'm hungry :) Suppose that's why I eat all the time ...

  3. I use a Word doc plus Duotrope to keep track of submissions, but I use spreadsheets for a lot of other things, such as keeping track of my college grades, keeping track of all of my stories (nearing 200 of them over the past six or seven years), and keeping track of my personal finances. Spreadsheets are fun.


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