For the love of spreadsheets

ROW80I love spreadsheets. I know this is an unusual thing, but it’s true. Maybe it’s because in the distant past I spent some years doing accounting of one type or another for various cooperative businesses I was involved with. Back then, accounting of all sorts was done by hand on wide pages of carefully lined accounting paper. Everything was added by hand, and double-posted so that you had a check on your original tallies.

Hand-written ledgers could give you the information you needed to run the business (How much of widget X did we sell this week? How much cash do we need to cover next week’s bills?), but they were labor intensive and, in the end, still limited in what they could do for you.

On the computer, spreadsheets do all the math for you! I love this about computers generally, you know, that they do all the math. So I keep spreadsheets for our household bills, and for my garden, and for my small personal businesses, and of course to track my writing.

For a while I tracked my writing by word count. That came pretty naturally when I was doing NaNoWriMo back in 2012. But tracking my work by word count quickly faltered. My own way of writing is not a sprint but instead is more of a two steps forward, one step back process where I edit and cut as well as write new words. When I was using the steadily-advancing word count as a motivational tool, any day when my word count went backwards was hard on me. Even though it was necessary for my work, it felt like a failure.

So I’ve switched to counting hours spent on projects, and that’s what I track in my spreadsheets now. I still have a list of current word counts on my various projects, but using hours for my daily tracking gives me a sense of progress even if I’ve spent the hour deleting words instead of adding them.

Here’s today’s blog hop link for this Round of Words check-in. I hope everyone else is progressing towards their goals, whatever form those goals may take.


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