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! ;)