I'm back today along with my handy dandy planner! Ok, so y'all haven't been formally introduced, but this big guy is with me in the behind of every single post you've been getting this year. And behind my writing. And my....everything, actually. Because I finally wizened up and got my act together. lol.
Ok to be perfectly honest I did kinda-sorta do the whole "keep track of stuff on paper" thing before. But it was over a multitude of notebooks, scrap paper, files, folders, computer notes, cell phone notes, and a planner. It was actually pretty crazy. I'm not really an organized person, and I'm not really a big scheduler either, but I realized something had to be done. I was getting stressed out really easy, losing (or forgetting) info and to-dos, and getting behind with things. My dream was to not be doing everything so last minute. (Notice I said "Dream" lol!)
So I made a really epic planner. It's also a catch-all, a place to make my life a little bit organized (You super-organizers are probably cringing right now haha). But maybe you're not a blogger. Maybe you're just focusing on writing and publishing. Well, trust me. You will still want a planner. This is coming from the girl who is super random, easily distracted, loves spontaneity, and has pretty much never been a fan of schedules. So you know it's gotta be good, right?
But why should you have a writing planner? Ok, so maybe you're not convinced. Maybe you think that you're doing just fine with notebooks. (Maybe you are. I don't judge--but still, don't write this off completely yet!). Maybe you're the poster child for pantsing and feel a writing planner might get in the way of how you work. So yes, there are reasons people might not be too keen on the idea. But let me give you some reasons why you should have one!
- You can be way more efficient. I have a mega planner where I keep everything. And I mean everything. Life, birthdays, blogging, (on various blogs--not just this one!) writing, editing, publishing, services I offer, passwords, writerly contacts, brainstorming pages, post ideas, finance tracking (for my business), random ideas and thoughts etc etc. It's SO nice to have everything in one place and it's great that I can just grab my planner and not three or four different notebooks. And I have to write things down a lot of times or I forget or get busy and don't think about it.
- It can give you a clear "roadmap" for writing and publishing. I actually fill out calendars with an "outline" for when I publish. It's a lot of work to write a story, it can be even more mind boggling to edit it multiple times, and then you got beta readers and proofreaders, and making sure your cover design is ready, your files are formatted, your blog tour set up, your marketing plan set-- it's enough to make your head spin! Indie publishing is hard work, and you have to do a lot of it yourself, so a writing planner can be a huge help in the process.
- It's a good way to keep your novel notes all together. Now to be fair, I actually use Evernote for collecting most my novel notes as it's just easier that way for me... I have SO many that it would be way too much for a planner. But if you're the kind of person who likes to write their notes down on real paper, then a writing planner is the thing for you. It's just like how I use my Evernote but in a physical format... keep track of your characters, jot down random ideas, do some brainstorming, try a mind-map, have an outline-- especially if you tend to write your novel in notebooks or out while you don't have wifi, keeping all your novel notes in a planner is a GREAT idea. Now, I DO use my planner for novel notes-- just not the kind I mentioned before. The kind of novel notes I keep in my planner are random ideas that come to me while working, (and likely transfer to Evernote later), changes I want to make for novels as I edit, and other stuff like that.
- Keeping your Writing info along next to your calendar is super helpful. This is one area that I appreciate most. I used to buy a cheap little planner for the year and list birthdays and events in it. But usually it ended up unused half the year, or I would get annoyed going back and forth from the little yearly planner and my writing info. A lot of times I'd take a big sheet of paper and write up my own calendar on it so I could enter writing deadlines, goals etc on the calendar. Having a writing planner that combines all that has been so convenient. You can tell things at a glance, shift due dates easier, see the big picture, and set better goals.
- As an Indie Author, it helps you run your business better. Because let's face it. As an Indie Author and Publisher, there's a LOT of business we have to do too. It's not just all literary. There are websites or blogs to keep on top of, stats to track, finances to understand, contacts to have on your list, link-ups, blog tours, reviews, social media... the list is pretty long! It can get really overwhelming sometimes, especially if you're not too strong on the logic and schedules like me, lol. That's where a planner can be a huge help. It basically becomes your right hand man and it keeps you sane to boot. :P
Of course I could probably think of a lot more reasons to have a planner, but those are the main points. :D I have been so happy that I finally just decided to put together my planner-- it's a huge binder but it's been so helpful for me. There's lots of free printables out there for making your own binder-planner, but a lot of them focus on everyday life, menu planning etc. That's great but not going to help us here. lol. So I have two different types of free printable planners to suggest!
Designerblogs.com's Epic Blogger Planner. This is the one I use. It's focused mainly for bloggers, so if you're not big into blogging then I would try the other option. For us writers who ARE blogging a lot or using a lot of social media for our writing brand, then this is PHENOMENAL. It's got yearly goals, monthly goals, stat trackers, finance trackers, calendars, to-do lists, post planners, brainstorming pages, contact lists, and more. There are blank pages too that you can print out, which I use for social media brainstorming, novel notes, and pretty much any random thing. It's really good, especially for bloggers.
Bookbug's Writing Planner. But maybe you're not focused on blogging, stat tracking or any of that. Maybe your focus is... writing and publishing! Then this is the one for you. It's pretty simple compared to Designerblogs' planner, but it will definitely get the job done. With pages for a calendar, monthly goals, to-dos, novel synopsis, novel characters, outline, scene lists, blank pages and more this is a great one for writers! :D If you're not a subscriber already, just sign up below and I"ll send you the link to the free resources tab right away!
That's all for today, friends! Don't forget to sign up if you're interested in free goodies...it's not just the planner that you can have free access to! ;)
Y'all have a lovely day!
P.S. Like this post? Then you might be interested in these, too!
Book Seasons: What They Are and How They Work
The Writing Cycle: What it Means and How it Works
How to Organize Your Novel Notes and Research