One Tool for NaNoWriMo

A big shout out today to long-time writer buddy Allison Pang for the release today of the third book in her Abby Sinclair series, A Trace of Moonlight. Makes me all nostalgic because it seems like just a short time ago that I was reading the first chapters of what became the first book, A Brush of Darkness, and giving her feedback.

Also, Carolyn Crane’s Mr. Real is out today! You read all about her cover trials before here.

I know a lot of you are heading into NaNoWriMo, the national novel-writing month, where people attempt to write 50,000 words in November. I don’t really like to do NaNoWriMo, because I find I’m happier if I can create and sustain a more regular writing schedule than a big one-month push. But a lot of people love it – especially the camaraderie and feeling like part of a team.

Me? I love my spreadsheets. And, because I’m sometimes asked, I decided to share a whittled-down version of my Progress Count spreadsheet. (I hope the sharing works – I *think* I uploaded it correctly.) Here it is:

Jeffe Kennedy Progress Count template

I say this is whittled down because my actual workbook has 15 tabs, with various works in progress. So, for template’s sake, I included just Rogue’s Possession, which I just finished drafting, and Ruby, which is underway.

On the first tab, the Overall page, is where I track all the words I do for each week. I recently decided to start tracking by month and year, too, just for grins. However, I just added that last week, so the October count is likely a little short. But it’s a close estimate. The Overall tab also adds in my blog post writing for each day, which I think totally counts. My minimum effort for any week is 7,000 words.

Ruby is the next tab because that’s the one actively underway. I pretty much only work on one thing at a time – unless a deadline interferes. For example, if my editor sends me edits and says “can I have these back  by Tuesday?” or if Agent Pam says “they’d like to see a sample chapter.” And yes, in those cases, I absolutely move that book’s tab into the space of honor.

That’s just how I roll.

Ruby’s tab is still set for yesterday, because I haven’t dug in for today’s wordcount.Rogue’s Possession is empty because it’s done for now.

But feel free to play with this. I have lots of formulas and conditional formatting, because I love to see things turn green. Ask me questions here, if you like, and I’ll try to explain my reasoning.

Happy Word Counts!