Tuesday, January 12, 2010


As a new mother and an aspiring author, I say aspiring because even though I have published I’m always seeking to achieve more; I am constantly challenged to find time. Time to write. Time for my family. Time for myself. The key is organization.

Almost every aspect of my day is planned around my baby’s schedule. I do chores, check emails and blog while he’s awake and entertained by his mobile, jumperoo or swing. I write when he’s napping.

Simple, right? Probably, except being the compulsive obsessive project manager that I am, I have to see and track my progress.

Excel is the way I do it.

I have a spreadsheet for my daily time. It includes columns for dates, times and descriptions. I keep the entire year on one sheet. In the description column, I track what I worked on and how long I worked on it.

On another sheet, I keep track of the time per story. It includes columns for titles, dates, time, total writing time (includes editing), total time (includes submission, emails with editors, publication documents), and a description column (to track whether I was writing, editing, etc.)

In another spreadsheet, I track stories. I have columns for titles, heroines, heroes, total writing time, total time, dates and descriptions. The dates are for when I submit and receive correspondence with publishers. The descriptions describe what action was performed…submitted query, submitted revisions, received line edits, etc.

I’ve also keep notes on each story. I’m still working on the best format so I don’t really have any suggestions.

Is all of this really necessary? Well, if the IRS ever comes knocking on my door to perform an audit, I’ll have a detailed account of my time to prove writing isn’t a hobby. But, most importantly, it serves to prove to me that I’m accomplishing my goals even if I don’t write as much as I did before the baby was born.


  1. I use a calendar to organize my time. I don't use a spreadsheet for too much. I figure the calendar marks segments of time...why not use it.

  2. My day job is real estate, and we always have a handy class or meeting to help us organize our time, locate clients, sharpen our skills, etc. One thing I learned in real estate that I've incorporated into my writing is a time block worksheet. It's a visual representation of my week where I can block in meetings, appointments and my writing time. I added my writing goals to each sheet so that I have a way to keep track not only of what I need to do, but also what I have done. I'll blog/post more on the 14th! :)

  3. Calendars are good, Beth. I use one to keep track of events. The only problem I've found is there's not enough room for everything I might do in a day. Sometimes I work on ten different things.

  4. You are way more organized than I am Emma! Keep up the good work.