|Spreadsheets reveal the fruits of your labours|
Providing you keep the information up to date, a spreadsheet can give you a detailed overview of your writing empire, o that you can see at a glance how you're faring financially and which of your many strings is twanging a good tune.
Here are some of my favourite uses for a writer's spreadsheet:
- Tracking submissions, while adding in a simple formula will also give you a prompt date for following up or for giving up.
- Displaying your freelance pitches, submissions, successes and clients by category. Why? Because it will give you a clear indication of what you're good at and whether you've knocked on the same door before (and with what effect).
- Money. My trusty - and far from sophisticated - spreadsheet can tell me which types of writing are the most lucrative for me, and the average payment for a type of job (e.g. blog writing, article writing, ghostwriting, branding, editing, etc.) and which invoices have yet to be sent or remain unpaid.
- A library overview of which pieces I've written, whether they're sold or unsold, the word count, and - for sold pieces - whether and when any second rights are available.
- For novels, I can keep account of the word count per chapter, and the key events it contains. If I want to change the sequence of events it makes it easier for re-plotting.
- Novel email lists for updates or new announcements.
Once the worksheet is set up and any formulas configured (that sounds way more complicated than it actually is), it's simple a case of updating the s/sheet with any new or changed information. Hey presto, you can concentrate on writing!
* Garbage In Garbage Out. But you knew that, right?