Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Monday, May 29, 2006

A New Toy

By Jeffrey S Savage

This is the time of year when I usually decide that I am going to train for a marathon in October. (Sometimes I actually do run the marathon, sometimes not.) The first thing I do is chart out the number of miles I need to train and the time I have left to run them. There are a couple of really good internet sites where you can download this type of information, complete with really great charts to keep you on track.

Well this year I don’t think I’ll run a marathon, but I do have a new national book I’d really like to finish over the next three months. With that in mind, I thought I’d make myself a little chart to track how much I’ve written and how much I have left to go.

James Dashner—a fellow author, geek, great guy, and also a CPA—gave a presentation on writing children’s fiction where he showed a nifty little spreadsheet he made to do just that. So, being even geekier than James (if that’s possible) I tried adding a few doohickeys.

The resulting spreadsheet is actually pretty cool, if you can say that about a spreadsheet. It lets you enter how long you think your book will be, how many weeks you are giving yourself to finish it, what days of the week you will write, and how many days you’ll take off. Then it tells you how many words you have to write per day, compares your actual writing to the plan, graphs your percentage done, and tells you how many days you have left. (You can even put your own book cover in to use as a graph bar.)

There are a few things I’m thinking about adding (like a calculation of how many days you have left based on your actual writing and not just the plan, and maybe something you could wire directly to your brain that would just write the darn book for you) but all in all, I think it’s kind of fun. If you want a copy, just e-mail me at and I’ll send it to you. (Let me know what version of Microsoft Excel you have.) And have a wonderful Memorial Day.


At 5/30/2006 11:44 AM, Blogger JWH said...

Cool Spreadsheet! Thanks for the quick reply, I even figured out how to change the picture of the book. I don't have a cover or even any ideas for the cover yet so I put a picture of a sunrise. Maybe that will be inspiring.

At 5/30/2006 12:44 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Hey wow. I have a spreadsheet I've been using (it was designed for NaNoWriMo), but this thing is way better. Thanks!

At 5/30/2006 1:50 PM, Blogger Steven said...

Hail, fellow writing geeks. I've done both the spreadsheet and NaNoWriMo.

At 5/30/2006 7:19 PM, Blogger KB said...

That is the coolest spreadsheet. I thought I was a real geek because I make charts and spreadsheets to auto-calcuate everything, but this is way beyond my abilities. I actually drooled when I saw it. Well, not really. I never drool. But I bow to your genius! You are the master. :)

At 5/30/2006 9:07 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Garsh. Blush.


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