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My Writing Calendar
There are some weeks when I have so much writing work that it’s hard to know how I will get through it all. It’s at times like those that I realise how important it is to have a plan for handling the writing jobs. To do this successfully, you have to know what work is coming in and when it is due.
I keep track of writing commitments in a simple spreadsheet which tracks the job, the rate, and the deadline date. (There are also a couple more columns for invoicing and payments.) Each project has a unique name and the latest version of my spreadsheet generates a unique invoice number to go with it. The spreadsheet gives me an overview of my deadlines over the coming months, including recurring jobs, so that I have some idea of when I am available for new work.
To keep track of my weekly commitments, I use a calendar. In my case, that’s Google Calendar, but any calendar will work. All my writing jobs are colour coded so that they stand out from personal appointments. I have tried many ways of using a calendar. Putting the job in on the day that it is due is useful up to a point, but there’s no leeway if you miss a reminder.
So my approach is different. If I have a batch of 20 articles to do and five days to do them in, I set myself a target of 5 a day over four days, giving me the actual due date for checking and mop up. I do the same with each job, so I can look at a date on the calendar and see that I have 5 of this job, 3 of that, and 2 of the other to do on a given day.
I do it this way because breaking up a job can keep me from getting stale. When you have 100 articles to do on the same subject, I find it best to divide them up. Of course, every approach needs to be flexible, so if I’m on a roll with a particular project, I might do double the number on that day and then move onto something else the next day.
The point is that putting my writing deadlines on the calendar keeps me focused on what I have to achieve every day. It also prevents me from having unrealistic ideas about what I can do. Let’s face it, if my daily commitments already add up to more than 6,000 words, then there’s a limit to how much quality writing I can produce. (My best day yet was about 9,000 words, but that’s just asking for RSI.)
I find that this is a great planning tool. What do you find most useful for keeping track of your commitments and planning your daily writing schedule?