Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Writing Goal Tracking Spreadsheet

Sorry for the delay, but I think I'm finally done. For this year's spreadsheet, I modified my NaNo Tracker spreadsheet into a year-long version. With this version, you just have to enter your total word count at the end of each day and the spreadsheet calculates everything for you--total words written each day, total for the month and year, remaining words to meet your goal for that month, etc.*

Enter total word count in the green column and the spreadsheet does all the work for you.
In addition to a sheet for each month, the workbook includes a setup page with the options to enter a later start date and a starting word count. I've also included a stats page so you can keep track of how you're doing for the year.



I've created three separate workbooks to allow you to set a daily, monthly, or annual goal based on what meets your individual needs. Click below to download.

Annual Goal
Monthly Goal
Daily Goal

Please note, the spreadsheets are locked. You will only be able to modify the green cells. These are the cells that drive all the formulas. To protect my work, I will not be giving out the password. If you have issues downloading or getting it to work, please let me know either in the comments or by email, and I'll send you the file(s) directly.

I think I've worked out all the bugs*, but it's possible I missed something. If you find that something doesn't work like it should or if you have any questions, please let me know. Happy writing! :)

*Spreadsheets were created with Microsoft Excel 2013. They may lose some functionality with earlier versions of Excel.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Writing Goal Tracking Spreadsheet Coming Soon!

Things have been crazy with moving (I got a new house! Yay!) and then the holidays and work, so I haven't had any time to work on anything extra. But I am planning on putting together a tracking spreadsheet for 2015, kind of like the one I did for 2014, only better. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of this week. Be sure to check back!

Happy 2015, everyone! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNo Tracker 2014

I'm not able to participate in NaNo this year because we're buying a new house! There's just too much to pack and clean before its completion on December 1st. So overwhelming but so exciting. :)


Even though I'm not participating, I've adjusted my NaNo Tracker from last year to work for this year. If you're interested in using it to help track your NaNo progress, just click here to download the Excel 2007 and newer version.

If you would like the 97-2003 version, shoot me an email by clicking the button on the left or leave your email address in the comments and I'll send it to you. Just so you know, I got about a million compatibility warnings when I saved that version, so no guarantees it will work properly.

If you have issues getting the spreadsheet to work, please take a look at last year's post for more info or leave your questions in the comments.

Happy NaNoing, everyone! I hope you all reach your goals. :)
Want a spreadsheet to track your NaNoWriMo goals? Download one here from @abbyannis

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

LDStorymakers Conference Notes: Voice

Originally posted on the Operation Awesome blog, May 2014.

One of my favorite classes--it was so full I had to sit on the floor--was taught by Lisa Mangum (you can find her books here), called Voice: How to Make Your Manuscript Sing. These are my notes from the class.

Readers want to hear the story the way the author intended and not from anyone else.

What is voice? 
  • The quality that makes your writing unique, conveys the author's personality and attitude. 
  • The characteristic speech and thought patterns of a narrator.
What it isn't?
  • Style
What's the difference?
  • Voice = what you have to say
  • Style = how you choose to say it
Example:

My voice says "Love is eternal and the choices you make matter." You can say it in the style of a YA Romance or a horror novel about a serial killer. Same voice, different style.

Voice and style are different but more powerful when used together.
  • Voice = lyrics
  • Style = melody
Changing the style can help change how people hear your voice. If you pick the wrong style, your voice will be unbelievable.

Be selective about the words you give voice to and the words you use to showcase your style.

Quote from Gary Provost: "This sentence has five words." Read the full quote here.

It's all about perspective and what you focus on. I loved this example. :)



Choose wisely--The Details Matter

  • Pacing
  • Scenery
  • Dialogue
  • Characters
  • Narration
  • Action
Be intense--Evoke strong emotions
  • Pour yourself into it.
  • A book is based in emotion. A good book will inspire strong emotions in the reader.
  • It's hard to inspire strong emotions when you say it like everyone else says it. Push past cliches.
How do you feel?

Quote from Jeff Goins: "Pay attention to how you're feeling." You can read the full quote here and get some other great advise for finding your voice.

Strive for deep creativity.

Quote from Elizabeth Bluemle: "It's inspiring to come upon books that make something fresh of the same old words we all use." You can read the full quote and another great article on voice here.

Be Notorious
What are you know for? Homework.

  • Jot down five books you like to read. How are they alike and how are they different? What is it about them that intrigues you? Often what we admire is what we desire to be.
  • Describe yourself in three adjectives. Does your writing reflect that?
Be Genuine

Speak to word--the word is all of us
  • We are storytellers
  • Be brave enough to use your voice and say something
  • Find the right words and right style and your voice will ring clear and true
A Writer's Voice

Quote from Patricia Lee Gauch: "A writer's voice is not character alone, it is not style alone; it is far more.  A writer's voice line the stroke of an artist's brush- is the thumbprint of her whole person- her idea, wit, humor, passions, rhythms."  

Your Voice is Your Voice

Quote from Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel: "To set your voice free, set your words free." You can read the full quote and an excerpt from the book here.

Practice, practice, practice and fail a lot. 

And that's it. I hope it was helpful to some of you. Be sure to check out Lisa's books and follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for reading! Anything anyone wants to add?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Changes Are Happening at Operation Awesome

Do you want to be part of the Operation Awesome team? We're looking for a new member. Go here for more details and info on how to apply.

Also, we're revamping the Mystery Agent contest and we'd love to get your input. Go here to take a short survey. You can also find the survey in the sidebar of the Operation Awesome blog.

Have a great week! :)