Last year, I decided it was time to finally make myself a planner that encompassed all the calendar pages, charts, and spreadsheets that I needed to keep charging forward as an author. I approached my friend, horror author Emerian Rich, who is also a talented graphics designer. My intention was to hire her to make me the perfect planner.
As it turned out, Emerian was also hunting for the perfect planner. Figuring that there were a lot of other authors in the same position, she suggested that we make a planner to sell. The Spooky Writer’s Planner was born!
I’ve been using the planner for almost 8 months. The thing that’s been most useful about it came as a surprise to me. I am always working on several projects at once: the new book I’m putting together, a book or two that I am planning for the future, photo organization projects, preparing for podcasts, writing articles, juggling social media updates…and the planner helped me to keep it all straight!
In the past, it’s always been a struggle to figure out where I was when I needed to circle back to a project that had been set aside. Now I can just go look at my planner. Did I finish the edits? When was the last time I checked in with my assistant? Have I scheduled next month’s Instagram posts? When does my blog registration come up for renewal? When should I send my next newsletter out? Did I remember to post the new book on the HWA site? All that information is easily findable now.
I sit down every Sunday morning while my family is sleeping in to play in my planner. I start by looking up the coming week’s schedule: when do I have writing dates, are there any classes I’ve signed up for, is anyone I know giving a reading? I mark those down first.
Then comes the fun part. I go wild with stickers and washi tape, bringing the blank pages to life.
As I do that, I think about what needs to happen in the coming week. Which project is hot right now? What deadlines are coming up? How can I move everything forward? This is probably the most crucial part for me. In the past, I kept a master to-do list that ran for pages and pages. Since nothing was prioritized, I’d do what was easy or looked like fun — and then feel guilty because I wasn’t accomplishing the bigger projects.
This year, I have finally crossed some of those big projects off my list. It’s felt amazing.
I’m not saying that THIS planner is the one that will change your life, but it may be the one that helps you figure out where best to focus your energy. It’s available both as a bound and printed book from Amazon or as a digital download from Etsy, which is the version I use. I like being able to print as many pages as I need, especially duplicates of the submission charts and guest post trackers.
Choose the version that works best for you.
And if you’re one of the people who has already gotten a copy of the planner, what did you like about it? What do you wish it had that it doesn’t? Emerian and I are wondering whether we should do an updated version for 2021. We’d love to have your input.