Tag Archives: practicality

Web Presence

The act of writing today may be as solitary a pursuit as when Jane Austen curled up with a pen and paper in her father’s library.


There is another component to be reckoned with. Public, merciless, painful as it may be to the hermit-like writer, that component is a web presence.

Blogs, such as this one, help the reader find the writer, and get a feel for the writer’s voice. Blogs also help the writer define themselves to themselves – akin to a journal in some ways, more like a hair shirt in others *sigh*.

A website is equally, if not more important. A place where the reader can go to see and order books, it’s as much the writer’s shop as the blog is the writer’s home. My new website is www.leandracollins.com and, while it’s newborn, I think it has its mothers eyes.

Still to come, Facebook and Twitter. And, while all of these things are awkward and scary, it is worth it to be able to write!


Organizing your writing effort – Part Two

I wrote yesterday about a global organization setup, a format to keep track of the writing work as a whole.

Today, I want to show you the setup for the daily writing sessions.

I keep track of just five things,

  1. The date (pretty obvious)
  2. The daily word count – I keep track of the exact number of words, some people just do the 250 words per page rough count
  3. The average word count – I like to see this because the days can fluctuate a lot. The sample shows the formula for average word count.
  4. the monthly average word count – Each month is averaged separately.
  5. Notes – As much as the numbers can tell you, the notes remind you of why that day was great or so-so. And, if the day ever came that you needed to prove your work was your own, these notes would add weight to your assertion.

Here is the sample spreadsheet.

Sample Spreadsheet 2

You can see the formulas I’ve used, to average the daily word out in the way that works for me. I try to work every day, but that’s not for everyone. I wouldn’t record the days you have not scheduled yourself to work. If I take a day off in advance (see the comments on B:8 and B:28) I take them out of the formula so I don’t penalize myself. BUT if I have a rotten day (See January 11th and 31st on the spreadsheet) I record what I got done and why it was so bad. For me, it’s important to be accountable.

Another odd thing I do, is if I am primarily doing editing, it goes much faster. On heavy edit days, I might get through 9000 words. I decided to divide that by 3 – and give myself a “word count” of 3000. On light edits, skimming at a high level, I divided by 10.

You can make whatever rules you want, just make your rules and STICK TO THEM!

Next time, I’ll talk about tips to focus….

Organizing your writing effort – Part One

I’ve been extremely productive in the last three months, writing approximately 2600 words per day and busily editing my first book, Devil’s Daughter.

My second in the series, Sorrow’s Son, is about 70% done. I was reflecting this morning on how I have been able to get so much done, and over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing my thoughts.

Today, I want to talk about organization.

My right brain loves to write. It can flit and flutter over any random occurrence, wondering “what if” and “how about” to it’s hearts content. But my right brain is a ditz. It will pick and pour over anything that strikes it’s fancy at that given moment and then go on to something else.

My left brain thinks my right brain should be locked up. My left brain wants to know how many, how fast, when? And it thinks there should be a concrete beginning, middle and end.

They are both right. When I started writing again, seriously, I thought I would create a spreadsheet to track how much I was accomplishing. I thought I’d throw my analytical brain a bone. “You sit over here, counting, and my creative side and I will have fun. Go away and be quiet.”

But, lo and behold, my left brain has important work in the creative process. It provides the safety net. If you are anything like me, and you have had difficulty keeping “on task”, try a spreadsheet. Think about what is important to you while designing it.

Sample Spreadsheet

I open this every day before I begin writing, and I close it when I am done for the day. If my right brain wants to work on something else, I can create another line for that book. I can also add sheets for short stories, or novellas, or keep them right on this page. With some simple formulas, you can see not only where you are and where you’ve been, but where you are going. I find it easier to relax when I have some boundaries, relax and write. The boundaries keep me safe while I’m picking flowers from the air.

I have a completely different spreadsheet sheet for daily word counts (your mileage may vary on this, I’m anal and like to keep a really tight rein). I’ll show you that one tomorrow!


I baked bread today. I bake it for practical reasons, home-baked bread is about a quarter of the cost of store-bought.But I also bake it because it is a tangible way to say “I love you” and it is an art to make it better and better each time. Creating, crafting, feels good.

I usually bake bread every other day, or every third day. With my husband being gone to Arizona for a while, I haven’t needed to bake in over a week. So, the warm bread out of the oven was especially tasty today.

Something that surprised me is how ingrained the recipe has become. I can measure out the milk, butter, honey & other ingredients almost as if I’m on autopilot. And as I’m mixing in the flour, I can easily see how much I’m going to need, based on the humidity of today. I don’t even have the recipe written down any longer.

It’s like writing.

warm from the oven

If you write every day, eventually it becomes less like a event and more like a practiced exercise. And you can begin to stop worrying about the ingredients, and start thinking about what the particular piece needs.  And like bread, it can be art, creation, and practicality rolled into one!