Guys, I have a problem.
I am not an organized person, but I have an obsession with organization. What is wrong with me? I love looking at Pinterest boards of organization methods, ways to tidy my work station, and different means of putting my life in order.
The worst of it?
I prefer monthly planners, but I also have an affection for weekly planners. However, I rarely fill my week with enough to make use of the third-of-a-page that comes with every daily entry in a weekly planner.
I love calendars and to-do lists and appointments and time blocks.
I haven’t used a planner in the last year, and I’m SO SAD. I stopped working in June and, before that, I was locked into an 11am-10pm work schedule. I had no need for any more structure than that. I missed my planners.
Today, we’re going to talk about how awesome planners are, and how they can help you as a writer. It’s going to be a list. Bear with me.
1. Keep your days structured. Sometimes it’s hard to look at everything you have to do, and think “Hey, I can totally fit writing into this fifteen minutes between choking down my lunch and getting back to work” or “You know where I can write? In the waiting room of my kid’s doctor’s appointment.”
How Does it Help? I recommend a daily planner for this. If you have a ton going on, and you can’t see the spaces between every event in your day, a daily planner can help you lay it out by hour. This appointment happens at this time, and you have half an hour between that appointment and when you have to go grocery shopping. Your partner gets home at this hour, so you have this sum of time to write in. It’s not perfect, but it helps us wedge time in when we’re not standing in line for coffee number three, using our eight year old’s head as a desk while we scrawl on a napkin.
2. Reminds us of the necessary. We may not all have a thousand things to do in a day, but we do have things that need to get done. It’s easy to keep writing through all of it, and have to explain to people why we missed such-and-such an event. It gets awkward and we start looking like dicks.
How Does it Help? A monthly planner should be fine for this. Scribble your events out by day, make sure to include times if they’re relevant. I like including my word count goals versus my actual word count for that day, especially if I’m struggling to write. It helps remind me that I need to make progress, or that I have made progress. It’s a little bit of a boost.
3. It gives us a little direction. Keeping track of events and word counts are awesome ways to use a calendar, but sometimes we need a little more than just a few blocks. I like to have the ability to map out my projects and what scenes I need to do for them.
How Does This Help? A weekly planner gives you a little block and about five to ten lines for each day in your year. Those little lines allow me to write the projects I want to work on, the scenes I want to write out, as well as any events or appointments I have laid out for me that day. The vertical layouts are perfect for checklists.
1. You have to carry it around or you’ll never remember to write things down. Some of the At-A-Glance and Blue Sky planners can be pretty thin and light. The A9-ish size is my favorite, and usually fits in my purse, but it takes up a bit of space.
I recently got an A5 weekly planner by Simple Stories, and it’s friggin’ glorious.
2. You have to write in it to use it. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to write down every little thing, but it really does make all the difference in keeping your head on straight.
3. They’re a little expensive. Some of them are pretty inexpensive, and you can even print your own from a free calendar site, but the visually appealing ones are always a little more on the dollar.
All in all, I’ll always advocate the use of them, even if I’m terrible at remembering to use them, myself. ❤
Have fun in the year ahead, and battle on!
How do you use planners in your writing? Do you prefer paper planners or do you prefer to use something like Google Calendars?
Have a great day, and happy writing!