Before the Online Writing Log came about, I did all tracking of my writing goals in a spreadsheet. It started out simple and eventually evolved into something complex that involved monthly goals, projects, different activities and more. It was this increased complexity that eventually drove me to just create the Online Writing Log.
However, throughout the years since OWL was created, I have seen a steady demand for an older spreadsheet-based tracker. I figured that if there are writers out there that prefer to track their writing in a spreadsheet, maybe I need to update the one I used to use.
Introducing the Writing Log II
Today I’m excited to introduce the next iteration of the spreadsheet-based tracker, the Writing Log II. Built upon the foundation that has been available for download all these years, it picks up where I left off and improves it further while fixing a few nagging bugs along the way.
The Writing Log II offers may of the same features of its predecessor and the Online Writing Log:
– Unified tracking – one spreadsheet can be used for multiple months, even years.
– Monthly word count goals – set a goal for every month.
– Vacation days – you can exclude some days from your writing schedule.
– Dynamic daily goals – your daily goals will vary from day to day based on how much you write.
– Comprehensive dashboards – view summaries of your monthly progress, as well as annual progress.
– Created with Google Sheets.
Let’s touch on each of these briefly.
Unlike some other spreadsheets I’ve seen available online, you don’t need to download a new spreadsheet every month or even every year. The WL2 can be used for many months and years. The only reason you’d ever need to update this spreadsheet is if there’s an updated version and you need to transfer your data to the new version.
For every month, you set a new goal. The goal can obviously be different from month to month depending on how much writing you have to do. There’s enough room in the spreadsheet for several years worth of goals, which means it’s easy to go back and see how you’ve progressed as a writer over the months and years.
Everyone needs a break, whether it’s vacation days or days you just can’t write because you’re traveling or you’re out camping or participating in some other activity that makes it hard to write. By indicating what days you know you’re not going to be able to write (see above screenshot), WL2 calculates the daily goals accordingly.
The defining feature of the Writing Log II, as well as the Online Writing Log, is the dynamic daily goals. What this means is that if you have a goal of 15,000 words per month (about 500 words/day) and you write more than your daily goal, the daily goals for the rest of the month will be less than they were the prior day.
For example, let’s say your daily goal is 500 words and on the first day of the month you write 1,000 words. That leaves 14,000 words to be divided throughout the remaining 29 days. That means your goal on your second day is 482 days. If you exceed your goal once again, your goal the next day will once again be less.
Contrast that with the opposite scenario. Let’s say you didn’t get around to writing anything on the first day. That means the rest of the month needs to absorb the 500 words you didn’t write and spread it equally among the remaining 29 days. So, instead of 500 words per day, if you actually start writing on the second day your goal is going to be 517 words (15,000/29=517)
In other words, regardless of how much or how little you write, from day to day you will always know exactly how much you need to write to reach your goal by the end of the month.
The Dashboards shows you at a glance how you’re doing from day to day. You can also see day by day (on the monthly Dashboard) how you’re doing towards your daily goal.
One of my favorite charts is the “words by day” chart that shows what days you write the most on. It’s been a revelation for me in the past to see what days I am the most and least productive on and it’s helped me shift some of my writing habits to become more efficient.
Built In the Cloud
I built the Writing Log II using Google Sheets. This means you can easily add writing sessions on either your desktop, tablet, or even your phone.
Best of all, the Writing Log II is completely free. Just head on over to the product page here on OWL and I’ll send you a link to your copy of the Writing Log II.
To get your copy today, click the link below or go to the Shop at the top of the page.
Click Here For Your Copy
I’m also exploring creating dedicated Excel and Libre Office versions of the Writing Log II. At first glance, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue but I will need to review all formulas and such and make sure they translate to each spreadsheet program properly.
There is also a more complex version of this spreadsheet in the works which will contain projects and different activities. Keep an eye on this space for more on that coming later this summer.