Today I have writer and freelance editor Misha Gericke as my guest.
Thanks for having me over, Patsy!
A few weeks ago, Patsy got in touch with me and asked me to write a post about using Excel to keep track of writing and submitting projects. She did so for a good reason. For one thing, I adore Excel. For another, I have been using Excel to keep track of my goals and projects basically for as long as I’ve been writing. (Almost seventeen years. Shhh!)
Here’s the thing, though. Last year, I found something that works miles better than Excel for tracking projects. It’s called Trello, and I think if you’re anything like me, working on multiple story ideas in a year, you’re going to want to make the switch too.
These are my Top 5 reasons why:
1) Excel is actually designed to be a big, automated calculator.
It’s true. While the cells in Excel are good for making color-coded blocks, to fill in the things you need to fill in, and to see things quickly, those cells are actually there to take formulae, automate mathematical calculations, and to make sense of large amounts of numerical data.
Would you want to keep track of your deadlines on what amounts to a glorified calculator? Yeah…me neither.
2) Trello is designed as an app/website aimed at project management.
In other words, it’s literally made for you to know at a glance what’s going on, not only on one project, but all of them, simply, easily, intuitively.
3) Trello is easy and flexible to use.
When you sign up, you get a quick tutorial outlining how everything works. I suggest you play around for the tutorial for a few minutes, but I think you’d be able to do your thing immediately if you’re so inclined.
Basically, though, Trello is like a virtual pin-board with virtual post-it notes. You can make your tracking board as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
More than that, Trello is available as a smart-phone app, so you have exactly no issues with updating your tracking board if you get news while you’re out and about. This right here is probably my number one favorite thing about it.
4) Trello at its most basic has everything you’ll ever need to keep track of your project status.
Easy duplication of tasks between boards? Check.
Color-coded labeling: Check. (Oooh, I do like a bit of colour coding!)
Space for comments, descriptions, updates? Check.
Easy-to-create check-lists: Check.
Easy-to-see due-dates? Check. (Those due dates also automatically change color the closer you get to them.)
It’s almost ridiculous how much information the cards can hold on Trello, and how Trello has managed to pull all that information together to both have everything at your fingertips and not overwhelm you with all that information.
This picture is of my general to-do list, because that’s where I make use of most of the functionality, to give you an idea of the information I can see at a glance:
And then, let me click into one of these cards so you can see what that looks like:
Another cool thing: Trello is awesome if you need to work with someone on something, because you can invite people to a board to coordinate.
But that’s not even the best thing. That would be:
5) Trello is free.
You read that right. While Trello limits the functionality for free users, the free version is so comprehensive and just plain useful that you don’t need anything more. And if you do want some of the extra services they offer, they’re not that expensive to get. In fact, you can get some perks just by inviting people over to coordinate with you.
So why not give Trello a try? You literally have nothing to lose.
Misha Gerrick is a fiction writer and freelancer who lives near Cape Town, South Africa. When she’s not working on either her own stories or someone else’s, you can find her reading, watching movies and series, needlepointing, or hanging out with her horse (which is the cutest thing you’ll ever find).
You can find her at these social networking links:
And at these freelancing platforms:
I'll confess that I do use Excel to track my submissions – yes, it's a big calculator, but it's a glorified one! ;-) How about you, do you have a system in place which works? Has Misha convinced you to give Trello a try?