Friday, 12 February 2010

Spread Sheets & Making Time


This morning I took my daughter to the bus stop, came home, updated my blog, put on a wash, took the dog to be clipped, typed up my husbands Profit/Loss Accounts, then checked to see if the Novel Racer Coffee Morning post was up. As it wasn't I made a cup of tea, then had a nagging feeling (second one today - the other one is mentioned in my blog post), so decided to check who was actually hosting todays Coffee Morning. Me.

So, by way of an apology at my disorganization, please feel free to help yourself to a cake. There's another plateful when these run out, so don't hold back.

Talking about being disorganized, I was wondering how everyone else keeps up with all their writing commitments.

I have a diary where I write in everything I've submitted, when and whether by post or email. I also have two spreadsheets. One for short stories, competitions, reviews and other pieces I may have submitted, and another for my novels stating who I've submitted them to, when and what the outcome was. Needless to say the novel one is a tiny list, as I haven't really submitted much at all.

I find these lists also help me keep up with deadlines of competitions, my writing course assignments, stories I need to write, or anything else I want to remember. Obviously, I didn't include todays Coffee Break post.

As we're all so busy with various aspects of our lives, such as being chauffeurs to family members, work commitments, and of course our writing ambitions, I was wondering how you manage to keep track of everything and manage your time.

21 comments:

Annieye said...

Bloomin' 'eck, Debs! You really are organised. (Won't have a cake, thanks, because I'm on a diet :(

I'm so disorganised with everything - it's a bit hit and miss, but I do keep a handwritten note of what has been where and when, and what was said.

Fia said...

Debs, I am so disorganised. I waste a lot of time searching for keys, pens, sanity...

Maybe a big piece of that lovely cake would help?

Leatherdykeuk said...

I used to keep a spreadsheet and really should again but the -rejected- coumn gets so depressing!

ChrisH said...

A very timely post, Debs! Spreadsheets are the way I organize my work too - but sometimes, like now, when I'm too busy to do the spreadsheets (!), I rely on daily 'to do' lists. There! That's another one ticked off my list! The washing wasn't on it, but you've just reminded me I need to attend to that too. Gulp!

Denise said...

Those cakes look amazing! Think I may be cake deprived, must do something about that...

So far I'm happily minus any form of organisation since I don't write short stories and haven't submitted anything to anyone! Once I do I really will have to come up with something.

Currently I'm trying to organise myself into writing more, so now have a diary where I write a topic each day. These are all editing related at the moment, rather than just write so many words. Seems to work reasonably well, but then I'm only a fortnight in...

Serendipity said...

Spreadsheets! I knew there was something missing from my life. I am a list maker, daily lists, weekly lists, project lists, house list, garden list, people to phone/email list and most definitely my writing list - oh and of course a list of all my lists! I was once told that if you rely on writing everything down then you do not use your memory efficiently - not so sure about! But now the mention of spreadsheets I am wondering if this is the route to go down.. once printed I wouldn't be trying to mandhandle an A3 page into my handbag or anything would I!? Oh and definitely a slice of each cake please ;-) x

Debs said...

I have lists for everything. I even have a spreadsheet for the Christmas presents I've bought for the past six years - (so many to buy each year).

sheepish said...

Never mind about being disorganised one of those lovely looking cakes excuses everything. I like lists.My memory is non existant so lists are a must. I even write lists of things I have already done so that I can cross them off, sad or what???? And write things to be done in a diary, also things that have been done otherwise I forget when I did things, usually by the next day. I also have lots of notebooks and try to have one with me at all times,unfortunately I then forget which notebook I have made certain notes in so it doesn't always work!!! Disorganised no I don't think so.

Emily said...

I *try* to be organised! But most of the time I fail. When I first started to sub my novel, I had a spreadsheet full of info about who I sent it to, when I sent it, what I sent etc etc etc but when I got rejections I stopped subbing and the spreadsheets started to gather dust on the computer.

I have all the best intentions of being organised when it comes to doing any writing but I have the attention span of a gnat and end up watching tv or something silly like that and feeling really guilty afterwards!

I've often planned to write X amount of words a day but that often fails. So my new plan is to write for 15 minutes at least, every day. And even if I only ever write one word during that 15 minutes, at least I'm one word nearer the end of my novel.

Would have loved a bit of cake but I'm on a diet. I miss chocolate!

Lane said...

Cake always helps. Thank you.

Last year, when I was actually submitting, I used the dedicated pages in the Mslexia diary. This year, there's not alot of submitting going on yet.

Any writing related notes go in the diary, along with all the 'buy cat food, pay gas bill' reminders. Those reminders are usually more interesting.

L-Plate Author said...

Gosh you lot are far too busy, as well as too organised for me.

I might churn a lot of words out but I only have one WIP on the go and no other projects. When you put it like that, my daily word count is EASY!!

x

HelenMHunt said...

I have way too many balls in the air and a whole lot of very disorganised lists.

My 'current' notebook always has lists of things to do with separate pages for short stories, non-fiction, novel and book reviews.

I then have a much-scribbled on spreadsheet which covers all subs (short stories and articles) and I also have a simple table for recording non-fiction pitches. It is a bit disorganised (when Leigh saw it, she very unkindly laughed at it :( ) but it does let me know where everything is and how long it's been there, which is the best I can manage I think.

liz fenwick said...

I have several notebooks, an spreadsheet only for family travel!, and then the tasks list on outlook...but mostly just wing and then curse myself when things slip through the cracks - as they do frequently!

I'm impressed with your organization Debs.
lx

Debs said...

I think I probably sound more organized that I am. Forgetting about hosting the coffee morning today proves that ;)

Captain Black said...

I have spreadsheets and databases for pretty much everything. In fact, I could do with a master spreadsheet listing the locations of all my other spreadsheets.

To manage my projects and my time, I use methodology. The mechanics are probably far too boring to put here, but I can provide details if anyone's interested.

Tam said...

Spreadsheets for the short stories and to-do lists for everything else. I try and get stuff done as soon as I get it so I know it's out of the way. And speaking of which, I should be editing so see you later!

JJ Beattie said...

Sorry I'm late.

I'm still only thinking of writing short stories, not actually doing it so I don't use spreadsheets for that. The article writing I do, I carry around deadlines in my head. Big risk, frankly.

I am a bit of a list maker though.

Fia said...

What is a spread sheet? Seriously, I have no idea but as most of you seem to use them, I will investigate.

LilyS said...

MMMM cakes. I think I am too late tho but thanks anyhoo!

I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you... only kidding. truth is I wish I knew the answer to that myself. I am yet to get on with the novel rewrite and the one thing getting me writing short stories is Womag 2 Weekly. By the time I figure in work and life theres only time left for a little sleepy :S I'm think of reducing my hours if my boss lets me and if cash flow permits.

Oh and reminders on my phone usually help when i dont repeatedly hit snooze

Liane Spicer said...

I see all the cakes are gone. Now where's that other tray? Ah, there it is. Yum.

I use an online calendar with reminders, Excel worksheets for word/chapter counts, and notebooks for all sorts of lists. I'm not sure how effective these are as staying on top of things in the writing sphere of my life is a constant challenge.

Weird, but I'm great at organizing other people. I help my son manage his business, ditto my brother whose office runs like clockwork thanks to yours truly, and I ensure that my sister's tax return is always filed on time, etc. etc.

I need to hire someone like me. Captain Black, I'm definitely interested in that methodology stuff.

Flowerpot said...

I'm extremely late and apologies for that. I keep a list of who I've submitted the novel to and date and on to that a list of other agents to try. For my journalism I have a chart which tells me when I've sent a piece in with date and when I've been paid (and date) - which reminds me I should be paid on Thursday! I'm also like Chris and have lots of bits of paper for daily lists of things to do. I've actually cleared those today!