I thought it might be cool to add some blog posts to the site as well as the podcast posts. A lot of times, audio just doesn’t cut it for a writer. So I’m going to try adding a blog post every time I post a podcast and see how things go. It might be too much and I need to cut back, but I think if I stick with it, it’ll all become a habit anyway.
So let’s talk about planning today. I’m not talking about planning a story. I’m talking about planning your life.
For anyone that knows me, you know I’m big on planners. Washi tape, stickers, multi-colored pens, brush pens… all of it. I love it. I don’t use all of it all the time, but I do go through phases. Everyone’s gotta have a hobby, right? And you guys thought this was my hobby. *giggles*
You might think it’s weird to have this kind of topic on a website about story, but a lot of my podcast is talking about what I struggle with as a writer. I might talk about technical things like how to plot, how to revise, whatever. But the core of what I want for this podcast is to be a place where writers can see that even published authors struggle sometimes with life.
So let’s talk about planning styles. The best part about these different planning styles for me is that I don’t have to stick with just one. I can change, and very often I do. It all depends on what’s going on in my life at the time.
1. Planning with Stickers
I’m not gonna lie. Unless you’re like me and you design, print, and cut your own stickers, this can get expensive. If you’re big on scrapbooking, this would be a natural extension for you. The good thing about this style is that it’s visually gorgeous. Some people love the whole “no white space” planning, which is basically when they cover every inch of a planner page with stickers. Etsy sellers have sticker kits that you can buy that will help you with that. Most of them are fitted for Erin Condren planners, but if you look around you can find stickers for other planners like Happy Planners or Hobonichi.
Creatively, I like sticker planning. It stretches a different muscle than the writing does for me, so I still get to be creative, but in a different way.
2. Memory Planning
I’m not big on this one. What memory planning is… Basically, it’s a scrapbook in a planner. So if you have the kid’s first musical recital, or date night with the significant other… you can attach a picture and put in stickers and when you look back at your planner, it’s all right there. It’s like a scrapbook for every day use rather than just recording big moments.
3. Functional Planning
This is actually more my speed. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. Purely functional. So no stickers, no extras like washi tape or stamps. It’s all just noise to the Functional Planner that distracts them from planning out their week.
Of course, I say that this is more my speed, but I still like adding washi tape or stamps or stickers. I’m more of a combo girl.
4. To Do Lists Planning
This is also big in my life. When I created my custom planner, I did both a weekly spread and daily spreads so I could add my To Do list. I love crossing off things from my list when I’m finishing tasks. It makes me feel accomplished and awesome. So, I use my weekly page to plan out my week. I write out what I’m working, what I’m planning on writing each day, book promo that’s planned, any appointments, ect. That all goes on the weekly. So when I get to the daily pages, I just start listing out what I want to do each day. I take 10 min at the beginning of my day (or the night before, but I tend to forget the night before and end up doing it when i get up) to make these lists. Though I kind of like doing it in the morning, because then I motivate myself.
5. Bullet Journaling/Creative Journaling
So this is a lot like the To Do List Planning one. I did this a lot before I finally created my own planner. At the core of bullet journaling, it’s really just a list system. But a lot of people use the term bullet journal for creative journaling as well. For me they’re separate but creative journaling was born from the bullet journal system so you’ll see a lot of similarities. But where the bullet journal is plain and simple, creative journaling can be all flourish and beauty while also being simple and functional.
This is where a lot of people get into brush lettering and creating planner spreads. I did this a lot when I was figuring out what I liked in a planner. I drew different spreads, tried different layouts. I probably did this for about two years before I finally figured out what I liked and had fallen into a routine of drawing similar layouts every week. Once I realized I wasn’t changing as much week to week, that’s when I opened InDesign and created my planner pages.
Finding your own style
Figuring out what works for you is a story of all its own. There’s too much really to convey in one simple post. But I do believe that all writers should have some sort of planning system that works for them, in order to schedule out releases, deadlines, promotion, ect. Trying to keep track of it all in my head is enough to make mine explode.
One thing I didn’t touch on was digital planning. You can simply use your calendar on your phone. Mine syncs with my home computer and my laptop, so I always have it with me and I have it set to send my reminders about important dates, too. So not only do I work with my paper planner, I supplement with digital tools as well. But we can talk about digital tools another time. That’s a whole other post.