Beating the spreadsheet…

I’m a fan of targets. I’m quite list-driven, always keen to get that next item extravagantly ticked off the ‘to do’ essay (the term ‘list’ doesn’t quite capture just how long it is), so when my wonderful publisher, Crooked Cat, hosted a webinar by Lorraine Mace, and she shared her word-count spreadsheet, I thought this was something I needed in my life. It’s not quite as grand, as I don’t speak Excel as well as some, but it has a nice graph in it, and as I enter my new total at the end of each writing session, it happily works its way upwards.

Word count

As you can see, there have been some frustratingly ‘flat’ days (ok, weeks), but thanks to my recent research trip to Westminster, it had a happy jump, up a massive 6,000 words in a single week!

I know they say we shouldn’t let computers rule us, and the chances are that in the hour I spent faffing on with the spreadsheet I could have written a couple of hundred words, but I cannot be the only one slightly addicted to seeing the line rise against the targets we set ourselves? There’s something incredibly satisfying knowing you’re beating the clock, somehow, even if the targets are entirely your own (and, ahem, flexible, when you realise that you’d need to give up the little things, like food and sleep, to hit them!).

It can get a smidge out of hand mind; I’ve set up sheets for projects I haven’t even started yet, and which exist only in my imagination. Still, they’ll all get written up one day, all being well. After all, who actually does need sleep, when there’s a spreadsheet to beat…

Do you set yourself weekly / daily targets? Are you also racing the spreadsheet? I’d love to hear ways to stay sane in those weeks when you appear to be losing the battle, and contemplate changing the war accordingly!

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