Getting Started

The Writer’s Mission Control Center is a dynamic tool. Some pages work best after others are filled out. To save a little time, we recommend filling out these pages first: 

  • Being A Writer: Writer’s Dashboard
  • Being A Writer: Writer Profile
  • Getting Published: Publications List
  • Your Writing Career: Companies & Orgs
  • Your Writing Career: Contacts

Click on a title below for specific instructions on how to complete each page of your mission control center and start functioning at optimum capacity.

You decide what is important to track. Choose between the number of words, hours, pieces, or submissions. You may also decide what timeline you want to use: per day, week, month, or year. Click directly in the cells to change the terms.

Get a snapshot of your progress in the Writing Stats and Writing History sections.

This section provides information that will autopopulate other areas of the sheet.

Fill out all fields accordingly. If anything does not apply, leave blank.

Contact Information

  • Full Name:  Write all parts of your name to be included in your professional letters
  • Address:  The number and street
  • City: The city you call home
  • State: Same for the state!
  • Zip: And zip!
  • Email: The email you use for professional purposes
  • Website, if any: Type full website URL address. (e.g. www.pauletteperhach.com)
  • Twitter handle:  e.g. “@pauletteperhach” (not the same as Twitter name, i.e. “Paulette Perhach”)
  • Instagram handle:  e.g. “@paulettejperhach” 
  • One-sentence bio: This will be added to some of your pitches, so consider it a quick introduction. e.g. “I’m a writer living in Seattle with work previously in The Stranger, Moss, and The Seattle Times.”

Forms

This is where you can document the various forms of writing you do.

Check “yes” next to any and all boxes that apply. If anything does not apply, leave blank. This will populate the drop-down menus in other areas of the sheet.

If there are any other forms you write that are not listed here, fill them in under “Other.”

Publications

Check “yes” next to your favorite publications by genre. If there are any other genres you like that are not listed here, fill them in under “Other.”

Projects

Check “yes” next to the type of projects you take on by category, e.g. Grants, Writing Contests, Anthology, etc.

Other Information

For me writing is

Check “yes” next to all that apply, e.g. A hobby, an enjoyable side gig, my full-time job, etc.

Enter the year you began to take writing seriously. (Whatever that means for you!)

Themes

What do you write about? Travel? Finance? Self-Help? Put it all here. This will help you match your pieces to the best publications later. 

Click Submit, then click the X at the top right of the form to go back to the dashboard. 

No fireworks will go off when you hit Submit, but your information has been recorded!

A place to keep a record of productivity! This information populates the graph on the dashboard.

If you are curious about how much you write or are training yourself to write a certain amount more regularly,  you can check in on yourself here. Enter the date and what you want to track. This will be measured against the goal you set up on the dashboard. You can set your measurement, either by words, pieces, or submissions.

  • Date: The date you did the work (probably today!)
  • Words/Hours/Pieces/Submissions: Enter the number of words, hours, pieces, submissions (however you chose to measure your progress.)
  • Notes: Any notes to self about your writing day

Click Submit and your entry will appear in the table on the right-hand side with an indicator of how close you are to your goal. You can edit and delete entries from this table as well.

You’ll use this sheet a ton! It’s the place to keep a record of all your ideas, drafts, and published pieces.

Working Title: This is a short description for you that you’ll use throughout the life of the piece, though the real title may change. Newspapers call this a slug. It could be something as simple as “Cliff Story.”

  • Stage: This describes the phase your work is in:
    • Idea: a spark for a piece
    • First Draft Complete: You’ve written your rough draft
    • In the Works: You’re more than two drafts in
    • Final Edits: This piece is moving toward completion
    • Ready to Submit: It’s done and ready to send!
    • Writing a Pitch: You’ll be writing a pitch to sell this story idea
    • Assignment: This piece has been assigned to you by a publication
    • Published Piece: This piece is out in the world

  • Form: The kind of piece you’re writing. These are populated by the forms you selected in the Writer’s Profile. If you don’t see a form you’d like listed, check it on the profile, or add it to the “Other” field there.
  • Current/final Title or Headline: Your latest idea for the title or headline, or the one it ended up being published with. This can change, whereas the Working Title should generally stay the same. Cliff Story might become “Living on the Edge, Literally: Homes Perched on Cliffs.”
  • Notes: Any notes to self on the piece.
  • 1st Draft Completed on: The approximate date you completed the first draft
  • Approximate word count: The number of the words in the piece, rounded to the nearest hundred. 

A place to keep track of books to read and already read.

  • Title: What is the book, article, or collection called? Something like Welcome to the Writer’s Life.
  • Author: Who wrote it?
  • Form: Is it a book, article, anthology?
  • Publication or Publisher?: Who published it?
  • Status: Have to read it, are you reading it now, or do you want to read it in the future?
  • Notes: Who recommended? Thoughts? Was it Jill who told you that you had to read it? Note that here so you can discuss when you’re done.
  • Rating: 1-5 stars
  • Best sentences: Did you mark any passages you especially enjoyed? Write them here to remember.

A place to organize your favorite words, least favorite words, and new words. 

  • Word: something like kerfuffle, commode, or abstemiously
  • Definition: what does this word mean?
  • Classification: best, worst, or new word?

A place to keep track of the publications you’re submitting to or want to work with in the future.

General Information

  • Name: Of the publication
  • Type: What kind of work is published here? These are populated by the genres you selected in the Writer’s Profile. If you don’t see a genre you’d like listed, check it on the profile, or add it to the “Other” field there.
  • Notes: What draws you to this publication? Did someone recommend it? Why is it a good fit for you?
  • Readership: What type of audience does this publication cater to? Travel enthusiasts? Dog lovers? Single women?
  • Desirability Level: How badly do you want your work featured here? Choose high, medium or low from the dropdown.
  • Contact for Submission: The options are populated here from the Contacts section. If you don’t see the right name listed, you can add it by pushing the little red button.

Genres Accepted

Check “yes” for all genres that apply.
 

Is this publication a good fit for you?

This part is where you record the specific requirements for different publications. It will matter a ton when you’re submitting a piece, to follow each individual publication’s guidelines. 
  • Check “yes” or “no” for each of these requirements:
    • Simultaneous submissions ok?
    • Multiple submissions ok?
    • Previously publishing ok?
  • Reading Period Starts/Ends: The calendar dates that frame the calendar period. 
  • Word Limit: How long can the piece be?
  • Accepts pitches or manuscripts? Select one or if they accept both, select “either”. 
  • Accepts via: What form do you have to submit in? Email? Snail Mail? Some other submission manager?
  • Fee to Submit: How much it will cost you (in dollars) to submit a piece
  • Email: Address in case you need to submit by email
  • Stated time to review in days: Some publications will let you know when they’ll get back to you. Some won’t.
  • Payment for work: To be paid or not to be paid?
  • Payment per: word? page? piece?
  • Compensation Level: High, medium or low.
  • Themes: What topics do they like to include? The choices here are populated by what you filled in for your Writer Profile.
  • Requirements: Include any additional special requests for formatting, page length, special interest, etc. 

Here is a place to record and track the status of your submissions. A great way to make sure you don’t send the same thing to the same place twice!

To track a new submission, press the blue button.

Story: Choose the title of the piece you want to submit (populated from your Works List).

Publication: The place you want to submit to (also populated from your Publications).

Followed up on: Enter the date you last checked in on the status of a submission. Or leave it blank.

Outcome: Waiting to hear? Rejected? Accepted?

Notes: A place to put any important reminders or suggestions from a would be editor.

Encouraged to send more? Selecting ‘yes’ is a reminder to try again. 

Streamline your pitches with this handy tool that combines information from other areas of the control center. 

To get the most out of this feature, you’ll want to make sure your Works List, Publications, Contacts and Pitch Writer forms are filled out ahead. 

This sheet will help you figure out where to place your pieces.

Once you’ve filled in information about publications, select the title of the piece you’d like to submit and let the matchmaker pick the best fit for it.

This page helps you rank publications based on pay and desirability. Fill out those elements on the Publications page to get results here.

Calls for submissions, requests for pitches, job offers, freelancing gigs. Put them all down here so you don’t let any opportunities “slip through the cracks”. 

List all of your achievements, big and small. Note if it was in the personal or professional realm, who recognized it, what it was and what year it happened.

Good for your resume and good for your morale. 

Recording what you want to do is just as important as recording what you’ve already done. Journal them here so you can make a plan to make it happen. 

Enter a date you hope to reach your goal and you’ll automatically be given the amount of time you have to work on it. 

  • Goal: Maybe it’s getting your work in a dream publication. Maybe it’s bringing in a certain amount of dough. 
  • What I want / Why I want it: Give some thought to what motivates your dreams. These are the first, important steps towards reaching your goals.
  • Challenges to overcome: Inevitably there will be bumps. Call them out here so they don’t stop you.
  • Progress: Here’s where you keep yourself accountable to your wildest dreams.
  • Habits to get there: The action steps required to reach the top of the mountain.

For freelance writers, this section organizes the workflow and process of projects such as assignments and applications, so you don’t miss an important deadline or forget to invoice for work done!

Click the blue button to Add a New Assignment. 

  • Story: This list is populated from your Works List. If you haven’t already, make sure the assignment you’re tracking is added to the Works List first.
  • Status: Where are you at with this project? Done, on hold, or open (in progress)?
  • Deadline: The date the work is due.
  • Publication: Select from your Publications List. This may not apply if you’re doing client work.
  • Editor: Populated from your Contacts. It may be a client, rather than an editor.
  • Payment: Fill in your rate, and how you will be paid — by word, hour, or piece.
  • Quantity: Enter the number of words, hours or pieces here.
  • Total Payment: How much moolah you get for the whole project.
  • Then check any relevant boxes for background work:
    • Contacted sources
    • Conducted Interviews
    • Wrote first draft
    • Fact-checked
  • Turned in: This date should match or be earlier than your deadline.
  • Notes: Any additional notes or reminders about the project.
  • Invoice #: So you know you billed for your hard work!

Then click the blue Submit button.

You can edit any of your entries anytime by clicking the green writing symbol next to the title of the assignment.

 

This section can be used for any administrative or other miscellaneous tasks that are not directly related to writing, but are important to the running of your business.

You decide what tasks to track here. Add a new one by clicking the blue button that says, “Add a New Meeting”.

If you choose to use this, you’ll look over these tasks once a week and check off the ones you do!

A place to organize the people you meet in the industry. 

Your Contacts will be populated throughout the rest of your Control Center. 

  • First fill in an appropriate prefix (not always needed).
  • Then First and Last Names.
  • Title: Their official title at the company or publication they work at, e.g. Chief Editor.
  • Role: Some of your contacts will have multiple titles, so what is the one that is most relevant for you?
  • Then fill any other information you have for the contact — Email, Phone, Address, Industry, and Website.
  • Notes: Where did you meet? Or did a friend refer you?
  • Finally, select whether or not you’ve been encouraged to keep in touch with this person. 

This section is different from publications. It may include companies you work directly for, or companies that your clients work for. 

Click the blue button to Add a New Company.

Name of company or organization.

Type of company: This could be media, marketing, an academic institution, writer’s group, or really anything!

Type of content produced: Essentially, what is the mission of the company? Do they host a conference? Or lead workshops? Share resources? Something else?

Email for invoices: Insert the appropriate contact’s email for sending invoices to.

Invoice upon: These are your instructions about when it’s kosher to send an invoice.

File storage or exchange preference: Does the company like to share Google Docs? Do they want an emailed attachment? Dropbox? etc.

Contact: The main point of contact for you at this company.

This page helps you think through all the elements of writing a pitch. You don’t have to think through each one, but any parts you fill out will make your pitches more powerful.

When you’re done, you can merge these fields into a letter in the Submission Factory. 

A place to keep track of projects that aren’t writing projects, such as applications. 

Click the blue button to Add a New Project.

A handy tool to help you identify a contact’s email address, when you don’t have it or can’t find it.

Enter as many details as you can into the yellow boxes. 

Then copy and paste the list of possible emails, separated by a comma, into your BCC field in your email.

By putting the possible addresses in the BCC field, you’ll send an email that the editor will only receive at the correct address, without seeing all the other guesses.

A way to create invoices for clients. Put in the information you need and hit Create PDF.

Scenarios

  1. Go to ✍️  Being a Writer, then 🗄️Works List
  2. Click +Add new work.
  3. Enter a Working Title, anything that reminds of of what the piece is about, such as “Cat Cafe.”
  4. For Stage, select 💡 Idea.
  5. If you have a Form in mind, you can fill that out as well.
  6. Under Notes, write anything about the idea you want to remember, such as “that time we went to the cat cafe and all the cats hated us.”
  7. Click Submit.

Voila! Your precious idea is safe in the vault!

Writing pitches can be tedious. The Pitch Writer helps!

This is essentially a form that helps you think through each of the parts of a pitch. All the elements will be combined into a letter, so be sure to fill it out in full sentences. 

  1. Click on 💰 Your Writing Career, then 📣 Pitch Writer
  2. Click +Add new Pitch.
  3. Under Story, pick the piece you’d like the pitch. This list is pulled from the Works List. If you haven’t entered it yet, Click Add New Story. 
  4. Fill out as many of the fields as you can. You don’t need all, but as many as you can would be helpful. 
  5. Click Submit
  6. To create a pitch letter out of it, then go to the 🏭 Submission Factory. It’s under the 📖 Getting Published menu. 
  7. Select the story and the publication you want to send it to. 
  8. Go to  🧰 Tools, then 📝 Submission Letter Generator.
  9. The letter will appear for you to copy and paste into your email. 
  10. To automatically track the submission in the Submission Tracker, go to 🧰  Tools, then ✅ Track submission.

If the story doesn’t get picked up by the first publication, you can simply create a letter for a new one.

  1. Go to ✍️ Being a Writer, then 📚 Reading.
  2. Click +Add new Title
  3. Enter the Title of the book, and you might want to note who recommended it under Notes. 
  4. Under Status, mark it as To Read

Add them to your contacts! Networking is very important in every field. 

  1. Go to Your Writing Career, then Contacts.
  2. Add in their name, and any other information.
  3. Click Submit.

Hooray! We love an acceptance. 

  1. Go to your 📬 Submission Tracker, and change the Outcome column to Published!
  2. Click Submit.
  3. If you’ve submitted the same piece to other publications, search for it in the Search bar to bring up any submissions, then withdraw the submission from those publications. For each one, mark the Outcome as Withdrawn. 
  4. Have a party!