Writer’s Tracking Spreadsheet by Laurie Ryan

Members of GSRWA have access through the email loop, to shared experiences, tools, hints, education, and motivation from other writers.

Pirate's Promise, by Laurie Ryan

Laurie Ryan, a romance and women’s fiction author who writes sensual stories of real-life characters thrust into extraordinary situations, shared her exceptional spread sheet with all chapter members.  The spreadsheet is available on her website, a free download for use by any writer.

I experienced almost immediate motivation in two ways.  I could visualize the progress in the revision of my manuscript and  the time/effort required to finish it by the target date.   The data removed the shadows of doubt “that I’ll never get it done in time” and lightened the pressure load.   Additional benefits provide data for planning deadlines, information to give to agents and editors, and evidence of writing efforts for tax purposes.  I suspect that if we are not deducting expenses yet, if sales occur, it may be possible to go back a year or two. but consultation with a tax expert would be necessary to provide more reliable information.

Stolen Treasures, by Laurie Ryan

This exceptional tool has two tabs at the bottom of the sheet.  One is labeled “Instructions” and the other is the sheet itself.  Be sure to read the brief instructions  first.  The sheet is write protected in any area where fooling around with it would destroy the formulas set up  to provide the data calculations.  Folks who are not yet familiar with spread sheets would find it easy to use.

As a thank you to  Laurie Ryan, I’ve included the covers of her two latest novels.

Have a great week everyone!

Writer’s time sheet

A favorite spot on the Bay

To continue on the writer’s record keeping topic, I created a spread sheet to track  time, split into different writing categories.  I’ve found it a useful tool for learning about time management as I tackle the goal of writing every day.

Spread sheets can be onerous if one is not familiar with them, but again, I am happy to share.  Please email me at mspicher1@me.com if you would like me to send an attached copy of the format to you, putting “Time Sheet for Writers” in the subject line.

The additional benefit? The spread sheet provides supporting evidence if you need documentation for tax purposes.  Or to reveal, for example, how many fresh pages or revision pages you can write in a period of time.  Useful to know for setting deadlines in the future.

Have a great week everyone.  For those going to the RWA national in Orlando, I will be anxious to hear from GSRWA buddies, all about it.  Maybe we should have a post RWA party?

Take care, write on … See you Wednesday.

The Business End of Writing: Documenting Travel Expenses: Tip # 2

Nothing like a view of nature's splendor to ease the need for bookkeeping

While pursuing a writing career, shocking numbers jump into focus when we track the total expenses during the pursuit of excellence, whether it be to learn, teach, establish a platform, a brand, publicity, social networking, computers, software, internet, business cards, while we dedicate our efforts to the most important part—getting those words on the page.

Spreadsheets help track writing travel expenses, other than personal vehicle mileage mentioned in Wednesday’s blog.

  • Air Fare, including baggage charges
  • Hotel/Motel
  • Rental Car & Fuel purchased
  • Taxi Fares
  • Internet Usage
  • Meals
  • Meals and Entertainment (entertaining for the purpose of writing as in editor/agent)
  • Cost of workshop, Seminar, Conference
  • Supplies needed to streamline the attendance at conferences
  • Phone
  • Tips

I’ll share the spreadsheet I use. Email me at mspicher1@me.com with “Travel Expense Spread Sheet” in the subject line, and I will attach an Excel Spread Sheet copy and send it to you.

Wishing all of the conference attendees, presenters, and volunteers, experiences loaded with information that will move writing careers forward.  Bon Voyage, all.  For the rest of us, remember as members of RWA, we can purchase the DVD of the workshops later in the year.  They are worth every penny!

The Business End of Writing: Tip # 1: Documenting Driving Expenses

Photo to balance the angst of the topic!

Utilizing spreadsheets can help track your writing driving expenses.

Would you like to take a look at, or use a spreadsheet for tracking vehicle mileages when used for writing?

Email me at mspicher1@me.com with “Vehicle Spread Sheet Request” in the subject line  and I’ll send it as an attachment.  (If anyone knows a better way to share a spread sheet, let me know.)

Because I alternate vehicles,  I utilize two ‘sheets’ on the spreadsheet workbook, one for each vehicle.  For those who deduct expenses at tax time, the needed information is already tallied on the spreadsheet for the year.  Document miles driven to and from:

  • Classes, workshops, and conferences
  • Meetings with Critique groups or Critique Partner
  • Writer’s Association Meetings, Classes
  • Office supply Store, Book Store
  • Research trips

On the spreadsheet, I jot down the odometer mileage at the beginning of the year.

As part of  permanent data, I note the purchase date of the vehicle and the beginning odometer reading for the vehicle on that purchase date.

For each trip pertaining to writing, a quick entry on the spreadsheet: the beginning mileage and the ending mileage. The sheet tallies ongoing data needed at tax time, with formulas already hidden in the appropriate columns. From this data the formulas on the sheet calculate  the % of car expense that applies to writing, or the total miles driven for writing so one can calculate the expense per writing mile.

At the end of the year, I set up a new sheets by clearing only the data, but not the columns that tally information, as they contain the formulas for the calculations.  All you need on the new sheet is the beginning mileage for the new year.

Additional tip: I keep a calendar book in the car so I can jot down the beginning and ending mileage of each trip.  As a cross check, I write the trips down on a day timer at my desk. If I take a moment to think before I pull out of my driveway, I might remember to hit the trip meter button on the car. Hopefully, one of the three methods will give me the data I need!

Whatever method you use, it is good practice to keep records. For those who pay taxes for their writing career, one expense tracking headache will be ready to go.

Next time I’ll offer to share an expense sheet for travels.  (The one above is strictly for personal Automobile expenses.)

Happy travels!

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