Monday, October 28, 2013

NaNo Tracker Spreadsheet

NaNo Tracker 2015
NaNo Tracker 2014
2014 Words Per Day Spreadsheet


ETA: 11/1/13 And of course there's an error in the formula on day one. The error only affects day one and you won't even notice it unless you enter a starting word count, but I went ahead and fixed it. Future downloads should work the way they're supposed to. :)

NaNoWriMo starts on Friday! Are you ready?

In addition to all the outlining I've done, I've created a tracking spreadsheet, and I'd love to share it with all of you. I think it has some pretty cool features, but I did make it myself, so it's possible that's just me patting myself on the back. Go me! ;)

I set it up to be easily changed with just a few minor adjustments. 

Depending on your schedule, you can select to write daily, Monday through Friday, or only on the weekends, and it will calculate what you need to write on those days to stay on track. You can also adjust the total goal for the month and it will recalculate the amounts based on that. And if you're using a WIP for NaNo instead of starting at zero, you can enter your starting word count and it will factor that into the totals for the month so you can just enter your WIP total each day. 

Plus, it's date driven, so it will highlight the day you should be on and it will let you know your goal for that day. It will also show you if you're on track to meet your monthly goal. :)

Here are some examples to give you an idea of what it will look like as you enter your word count throughout the month. Click the pics to enlarge.

Before you start . . .

About 1/4 of the way through . . .

Halfway point . . .

3/4 of the way there . . .

And you're a winner! :)

So how do you get a copy for yourself? 

You can download it here: http://sdrv.ms/190sFtU 

After you click on the link, you will likely get something like this :


Just click OK and then click the appropriate button to open the file.

Internet Explorer:


Firefox:


Chrome automatically downloads the file and displays it in the bottom left corner of your screen. Just click the button and it will open.



Once the file is open, you may need to enable editing. To do this, simply click the yellow Enable Editing button at the top of the spreadsheet. If you don't see this button, you don't need to do anything--you should be good to go.

Don't forget to save your file when you're done. :) Also, Skydrive automatically converts the file to the newest format (xlsx) when uploaded. If you want the 97-2003 format (xls), leave me your email address in the comments or email me by clicking the button under "Email Me" on the left, and I'll send it directly to you. Just FYI, I don't have access to versions of Excel older than 2007, so I'm not sure how making the file 97-2003 compatible will affect the functionality.

The workbook and worksheet are protected to protect the structure and the formulas, but I added a password to this one because I put so much time into it. I'd like to keep my signature on it. I've been over it and tested it several times, but it's still possible I missed something. If you find any issues with it, please let me know and I'll make corrections.

If you want to share it, please do. I just ask that you use this link (http://sdrv.ms/190sFtU) and that you give me credit and link back to my blog.

ETA: If your computer is telling you it can only be downloaded as read-only, you probably need to save it to your computer, close it, and reopen it before it will let you make changes. If all else fails, leave me your email in the comments or click the email button on the left and I'll send it directly to you. Thanks so much for the Blitz, everyone! It's been a fabulous day! :)

Mac Users: Several Mac users have not been able to use the file, either because it won't download or because it's locked. If you can't get it to download, please email me by clicking the button on the left or leave me your email in the comments. I'm happy to send it directly to you. If it's opening in read only, try the instructions found here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2011-macexcel/office-files-locked-for-editing-in-mixed/d838b0d7-6b26-4206-b310-029c73cf0ba6. If that doesn't work, let me know what it's doing, what type of error messages you're getting, and I'll try to figure it out.

Any questions, please leave them below.

So, who's participating this year? If you want to add me as a buddy, my profile is here. Or leave your username in the comments and I'll track you down.

Good luck, NaNo-ers! And Happy Monday!!! :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sip Swap!

This is such a fun idea! :)


Go to http://kelseymacke.com/sipswap for more details and to sign up.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Numerical Motivation: Using Spreadsheets to Increase My Word Count

2014 Words Per Day Spreadsheet

I originally posted this on Operation Awesome in March, but I wanted to post it here for anyone who missed it. :)

About a year ago I went back to work full time for the first time in ten years. Between that and the husband and the kids, it's been extremely difficult to make writing a priority. That's not even considering how fried my brain usually is when I get home from work. Weeks have gone by where I haven't written anything. So much guilt. But that's not what this post is about. No one wants to read about that.

This post is about my love for spreadsheets and how they've helped motivate me to write, even when I'm exhausted.

I started with your basic keep-track-of-how-much-I've-written type of spreadsheet. Excel is great for adding things together, but what most people don't know is just how awesome Excel is and how many other amazing things it can do.

And there's a new version out. I'm so jealous of anyone who has it. *drools*

Anyway, since I know what Excel is capable of, I can never have just a basic spreadsheet. I want my spreadsheets to do more for me than just addition and subtraction. And they should look pretty, too. So my basic keep-track-of-how-much-I've-written spreadsheet evolved into a tracking device with colorful rewards for reaching my goals and charts to show me how I'm doing over the year. I even added a WIP calculator.

And I thought I'd share it with all of you. :)

Here's a sample version:



Click on the ... next to March to see the other sheets.

The last three sheets in the workbook have the WIP Calculator, Stats, and Instructions. Don't let the fact that I included instructions scare you off. It's very simple to use. All you have to do is enter your daily goal and then your daily word count each day and the spreadsheet does the rest. :)

I modified my original version to accommodate the following schedules: Weekends Only (2 days per week), Mon-Fri (5 days per week), Mon-Sat (6 days per week), and Sun-Sat (7 days per week). They can be downloaded by clicking the links below. If none of these will work for your schedule, I put together a tutorial to show you how to customize the spreadsheet based on your schedule. That tutorial is here.

Weekends Only
Monday thru Friday
Monday thru Saturday
Sunday thru Saturday

Please note, to use the spreadsheets you will have to download them, and you will probably have to enable editing.

When you click on the links, you will likely get something like this :


Just click OK and then click the appropriate button to open the file.

Internet Explorer:


Firefox:


Chrome automatically downloads the file and displays it in the bottom left corner of your screen. Just click the button and it will open.



Once the file is open, you may need to enable editing. To do this, simply click the yellow Enable Editing button at the top of the spreadsheet. If you don't see this button, you don't need to do anything--you should be good to go.

Don't forget to save your file when you're done. :) Also, Skydrive automatically converts the file to the newest format (xlsx) when uploaded. If you need the 97-2003 format (xls), leave me your email address in the comments or email me by clicking the button under "Email Me" on the left, and I'll send it directly to you.

The spreadsheets are all locked to protect the formulas. You'll still be able to enter your daily words and your daily goals with the locks in place.

If you're comfortable with Excel and aren't worried about erasing formulas, you can unlock the pages by going to the Review tab and clicking Unprotect Sheet. They're not password protected. (Pictorial instructions for removing protection are included in the tutorial here.)

If you have any questions or if something isn't working correctly, please let me know in the comments.

Now go write, so you can start filling in those numbers! ;)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Have You Joined the Blog Blitz?


The ever-awesome DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0 has come up with an amazing idea for sharing the love around the blogosphere. Only one blog has been blitzed so far, but I'd say it was a huge success. And there's more awesomeness to come.

For more details and to get in on the action, click here. :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Numerical Motivation: Spreadsheet Awesomeness Tutorial

Today on Operation Awesome (and in this future post on my blog) I'm sharing the spreadsheet I use to keep track of my writing progress. It calculates based on my daily writing goals and the days of the week I write. I've created four versions: Weekends Only (2 days per week), Mon thru Fri (5 days per week), Mon thru Sat (6 days per week), and Sun thru Sat (7 days per week). I figured these would be the most common writing schedules, but in case your schedule is different, I've created a tutorial below so you can change the formulas to match the days you write, which will give you more accurate calculations.

Changing a spreadsheet might seem overwhelming (especially if you've never worked in Excel before), but it's actually a pretty simple process if you know the formulas to use. And I'll walk you through it step-by-step. :)

First, you'll need to download the spreadsheet that is closest to your schedule (but, really, any of them will work). Links to the spreadsheets and download instructions are in today's post on the Operation Awesome blog or on my blog here.

Once you have the file open and you've enabled editing, you'll need to unprotect all the month pages.

Unprotecting the Sheets:

First, select a sheet by clicking on the tab at the bottom (January, February, etc.), then click the Review menu at the top and click Unprotect Sheet.

You'll need to repeat this step for each of the month sheets. You might want to save the file after you're done unprotecting everything so you don't have to repeat all these steps if something goes amiss later on. :)

Next, you'll need to group the sheets together so you only have to enter the formula once. If you want to do a different schedule every month, skip this step.

Grouping the Sheets:

First, select the January sheet...


And while holding the Shift Key down, select the December sheet.



It might be a little hard to see, but all the month tabs should now be lighter than the other tabs.

Customizing the Writing Days Per Month:

Now that the sheets are grouped, go to cell J1 (next to Writing Days:) in any of the month sheets.




You can see the formula in the box above the cell. Making changes in this box will be easier than making them in the actual cell.


The basic formula is (you can copy and paste into the cell or the box shown above):

=COUNTIF($A$3:$A$33,"M")

It's set to count the days of the week as they're listed in the far left column of the sheet. The above formula will count all the Mondays. To add additional days, you need to add to the formula. Note: you will need to change the = to + for any additions.

=COUNTIF($A$3:$A$33,"M")+COUNTIF($A$3:$A$33,"T")

That will count all the Mondays and Tuesdays. You can continue to add to or subtract from the formula until it fits your schedule. The part you'll need to change with each addition is the letter in quotes at the end (in red).

Monday = "M"
Tuesday = "T"
Wednesday = "W"
Thursday = "Th"
Friday = "F"
Saturday = "Sa"
Sunday = "Su"


Once you're satisfied with the days you have it set to count, hit Enter and it should calculate your total writing days for the month and your Monthly Goal.*

Setting Your Weekly Goal:

To change the weekly formula, click on cell J3 (next to Weekly Goal:).


The formula here is pretty basic. You'll need to determine how many days you'll be writing each week. For example, if in the last step you set it to count Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, you'll be writing four days per week.

So the formula for that would be (again, you can copy and paste):

=J2*4
Adjust the last number (in red) to match your schedule. Hit Enter and it should calculate your weekly goal based on your daily goal.*

If you didn't group the sheets before entering the formula, you will need to repeat these steps for each of the month sheets.

Ungrouping the Sheets:

If you did group the sheets, you will now need to ungroup them. This step is VERY IMPORTANT. If you don't ungroup the sheets, then every bit of data you enter will be included on all the month sheets regardless of what is already entered. To ungroup them, right click one of the month tabs and click Ungroup Sheets:


Protecting the Sheets:

If you want the formulas to be protected from being accidentally erased you will need to protect the individual sheets. Do this by clicking each sheet and going back to the Review menu. Click Protect Sheet:

And click OK on the window that pops up. You can add a password if you want, but it's not required.


Repeat this step for all the month sheets. Then all you have to do is save your file and you're all set to start tracking your words. :)

Any questions? If you're confused or if something doesn't make sense, please let me know in the comments. I'll do my best to clarify.

*If you think you've entered something incorrectly, or if you accidentally click on the wrong cell and delete something, don't freak out. Ctrl+z fixes everything. :) If ctrl+z isn't undoing the problem, sometimes you have to hit Enter and then ctrl+z. If all else fails, you can always just close the workbook and start over.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pens for Paws Auction--Time is Running Out!

The Pens for Paws Auction is going on right now! Up for bids today is a package from the Operation Awesome crew, including a 20-page critique from yours truly. Plus, there are lots of other awesome items, even some really generous critiques from agents. Be sure to check it out and get your hands on some pretty cool stuff, and help out some cute little animals in the process. :)

Bidding on the Operation Awesome package ends tomorrow and the auction ends on Saturday. Hurry over so you don't miss it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Embracing Your Inner Awesome

My second post is up on Operation Awesome today and I'm talking about embracing success. Stop by and let me know what makes you awesome. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kissing Scene Competition

This is my entry for the Kissing Scene Competition put on by the awesomeness that is Cupid’sLiterary Connection. Also, my entry is up over there (#114) for Blind Speed Dating Round #4 if you want to check it out. :)

Update: I made it into the agent round!!! Yay!

A little info to get you started: Seventeen-year-old Olivia has been dreaming of the boy she calls her angel since her fifteenth birthday, but she’s never met him in the real world. In fact, she believes he’s a figment of her imagination. This is the end of their dream—it’s always the same—the last time she has it before she wakes up and finds out he’s not only real, but he’s responsible for her mom’s death.

Here we go… :)

*****

“Okay, Olivia.” He kissed each of my eyelids. “Open them.”

At first, all I could see was his face, beaming down at me. I had to tear my gaze from his to look around.

A seemingly endless field of glowing flowers stretched in every direction. The large, seven-petal blossoms shifted in the breeze. Their luminosity changed depending on the angle, making it clear they weren’t actually glowing, but reflecting the moonlight. It gave the illusion we stood, waist deep, in the middle of a glistening sea.

“Well?” A nervous smile played at his lips. “Disappointed?”

“Are you kidding?” I laughed and turned to stare at the breathtaking scene. “This might be the most beautiful place in the universe.”

He rested a hand on my hip, his breath a warm caress on my neck. “You would know better than anyone.”

I’d yet to figure out what he meant by that, but I couldn’t make myself care. Not with him so close. I twisted around to face him, and his hand slid from my hip to my back, his fingers slipping under the hem of my shirt and brushing my skin. He pulled me tight against him, closer than I’d ever been to any boy. Coherent thought became impossible, and I said the first thing that popped into my head.

“Is this Heaven?”

He laughed, his eyes shining in the light from the two moons overhead. “You’re messing with me, right…? Okay. I’ll play. No, it’s not Heaven, but sometimes, it feels that way, especially with you here.”

My hands tangled in his hair, drawing his face closer.

“I wish you could stay,” he said and pressed his lips to mine in a soft but lingering kiss. Heat poured into me wherever our skin touched.

I wanted to stay, more than anything, but I knew I couldn’t. The feeling of being watched sprang up behind me and I knew it was time. I pressed closer, trying to feel all of him before it ended. He moved his mouth to my ear.

“See you soon,” he whispered, and the world faded away. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Shiny New Look :)

I figured the blog could use some freshening up. Plus, I had nothing else to do today. Well, nothing I wanted to do, anyway. ;)

I should probably go do dishes nowand the million pieces of laundry I've been ignoring. *sigh*

Friday, February 1, 2013

Operation Awesome!!

Wow. It's been a while.  Seven months to be exact. Oddly enough, I had a whopping seven posts in 2012 as well. O_o Such a slacker.

Anyway, 2012 was a year of adjustments for me. In December 2011, I went back to work part-time after being a lady of leisure for several months. I miss being a lady of leisure. :( Then in May, I started working full-time for the first time in ten years. If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that was when my posts stopped. Yeah, a lot of things stopped that month, including productive writing time and a clean house. And a little bit of being a good mother.

Now, almost eight months later, I finally feel like I'm getting a handle on my life. Well, sort of, anyway. So, since I feel like I'm starting to find some balance, I've decided to add something to my schedule.

I've joined the team over at Operation Awesome! More hours in the day will magically appear, right? ;) Well, even if they don't, I'm really excited about this, so I'll find the time to make it work. And though I don't miss posting every single day, I've missed the community. It'll be good to be back in the loop. I feel like I've missed so much over the last year.

And of course, since I was gone, you all must've gotten book deals. That always happens when I take an extended break. ;)

So, what's been happening with all of you over the last seven months? Anything exciting? I'd love to hear any news, big or small. :)