Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time Log Template for Story Writers

Folks talk about how quickly (or not) that they write. That they only put 100 or 1,000 or whatever number of words on the page per hour. But how long does a novel really take?

As a freelancer, I know how long it takes me to write a 500-word article. I should likewise know how long it takes me to write a 60k-word novel. But I don't.

So I sat down and drafted a word log template, which I'll be applying to the latter half of Know Thy Frienemy (sequel to Destiny's Kiss) and to the entirety of A Fistful of Water (sequel to A Fistful of Earth).

I drafted it and started using it last night (in Numbers, the Mac spreadsheet that's part of iWork). Love it. (And I very much like Numbers, for the record. It has some very annoying details—like the borders—but for what I tend to do with spreadsheets, Numbers is fantastic. So much cleaner than Excel.)

In e-mailing one friend last night, I mentioned the spreadsheet I'd just made, and I offered her a copy. She accepted…and I realized I had to convert it to Excel. *wince* I had to rewrite the formulae, and it's not nearly so neat to use, but it still works.

Then I was chatting with Stormy (the author of the Mirrorverse series) today and offered her a copy. She accepted…and I realized she uses Open Office. So I converted the Excel version over and fixed the resulting broken formulae.

(I just like saying formulae. It looks like such an intelligent word.)

…And you can tell I'm sleepy. Okay.

Anyway, I've some other file templates I use that I've been thinking about sharing but just haven't gotten them finalized so I can get them all up. I'm a perfectionist, and I prefer having something precise before sharing.

This, though, is a spreadsheet that I'm already sharing in useable form. You might want to tweak it, but the formulae work, insofar as I've tested them. So download and enjoy!

If you have any requests or tweaks to recommend, let me know. I'm fairly fluent in spreadsheet, so I might be able to pull something off if you're not sure how to do it.

Also, for some reason, the Excel one insists on giving me a macro warning when I open it. There's no macro in the file. I have no idea what's going on there, but feel free to open it with macros disabled.

You can download all three templates in a single ZIP file here. (Right-click that link and click "Save Target As…"; left-clicking on that link might also work.) I had to bundle them together so Wordpress would let me upload the Numbers and Open Office templates.)

Once you un-zip the file, you'll see 3 files, all named "Word Log" (with various endings). Your computer will most likely recognize two of them but not the third. Feel free to throw out whichever one(s) you won't need at that point.

To try the template, double-click on the appropriate template for your Spreadsheet program. (If in doubt, if you're on a Windows computer, click the "Writing Log.xlt"; if you're on an Apple computer, click the "Writing Log.nmbtemplate".) Your program will open a brand new file that applies all the template settings. Make changes as you like in that file; it shouldn't influence the template file. To use the template again, just double-click on the template file, and it should make a fresh (blank) version.

(Sorry if that was too much explanation, but I know some folks need to know these things.)

Do you think you'll try the template? Have you tried it? Which do you prefer? Have any suggestions to improve it?


If you like any of these templates and get use out of them, please consider leaving a tip. I'd appreciate it!

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