You know that Baz Lurhmann song? The one they played at every middle and high school graduation for at least three years, with a kind of funky beat and the occasional choral interlude backing up a high school principal’s commencement speech? I freely admit to adoring that song, overplayed or no. It’s even on my iPod.
Anyhow, the point is that while the speech rambles with lots of helpful, and sometimes heart-breaking, advice, it ends up where it starts out: always wear sunscreen. And when I sat down to try and think of what kind of advice I could give this month, that damn song wouldn’t leave my head.
So I thought about it, and I wondered: what’s the sunscreen advice I’d like to give? And then, as I played with the different categories in my digital calendar, plotted my writing activities around estimated editing work, and tweaked my spreadsheets, the answer became perfectly clear:
All of the writing skill in the world won’t help you get ahead if you can’t figure out when your due dates are, much less where your manuscripts are out to. And if you take on more than you can actually handle, who do you really have to blame?
So my advice to you for this year is to get organized and take control. And to help you do that, I’d like to share a couple of spreadsheets with you.
Oh yes. Spreadsheet prOn.
First, my infamous project tracker. I’ve shared it with several of the Birdies, and now I bring it to you. Save as and have fun! Office 97-2003 and Office 2010 formats both. Use it to figure out what you want to write, and keep a good bead on what you’ve got going at any moment.
And the other spreadsheet is an updated version of one I found last year. Svenja has written a beautiful sheet that will help you keep track of your daily, monthly and yearly goal, and I share the Leap Year version with you now: Office 97-2003 and Office 2010.
And there you have it. My big advice. My sunscreen for you.
Liz Silver is an editor, an author, and a Gemini. She also seems to think she’s going to put out 350,000 words this year, according to her spreadsheet.