The Quest for the Perfect Planner

An ever-evolving search …

I used to pick up a basic calendar at the end of the year, usually with pictures related to something I loved, like Tolkien or Star Trek.

I made notes in the squares of things I wanted to remember and that was enough.

Ah, the simpler days of being able to remember everything.

The years passed and my brain filled up with valuable information (as well as trivial minutia).

The small squares on a wall calendar didn’t cut it anymore.

I needed space! Room for big ideas! Layouts for multi-step projects! And large areas for notes for the things I can no longer hold in my head.

The quest became especially important when I realized my first novel was really the start of a time-travel series. I tried several ways to map it out:

a white board (I don’t have the wall space to hang it up);
a large dry erase calendar (ditto on the wall space);
printed calendar pages (too disorganized for me); and
an online calendar (it didn’t meet my tactile needs).

Simply put, they were not a great fit for me.

In early December I ordered “The Ultimate Authorship Planner” by Audrey Ann Hughey after reading a recommendation for it from a trusted source.

I received a very detailed, very thorough planner — really a road map — for an author to plan out the next 12 months of one’s career.

I have been “working the planner” throughout December.

I love how it drills down from a yearly perspective — what am I going to do over 12 months — to quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily scheduling.

It forces me to take the big ideas and chunk them up into manageable pieces.
Yes, it is a lot of work, a lot of really-worth-it work.

While the goal “publish five novels in a year” can seem huge and unreachable, the goal “write 2,000 words today” on Thursday, June 6 is doable.

There are sections focused on marketing, including a social media, blogging, and collaborations schedule, as well a reading list for genre and business reading, and a section for recording story ideas (to keep all those great ideas in the same place as your great plan).

The thing I love most, however, is the planner’s flexibility. One might assume that with this many layers of information the planner would be prescriptive and rigid in how it is used.

Instead, the planner has built-in opportunities to look back on each month, each quarter, and assess what worked and didn’t work, before moving on to the next month and quarter.

You are expected to learn from your experiences and apply what you learn throughout the year.

Most importantly, the author wisely recognized that even for authors life happens. I fell in love in the first chapter when I read

Although this book is designed to help you advance your writing career, I want it to help enhance all areas of your life

followed by a section for me to list all those competing and juggled important parts of my life.

It allowed me to acknowledge that there are things as important as my writing career. It put me in a mind-frame of how to balance them instead of ignoring or overriding one over another (which usually ends up in frustrated disaster).

Now I created a flexible schedule that honors all those important things and feel more confident than ever in my ability to accomplish them all.

The version I purchased came as a large paperback book which I took apart and organized into a binder — that works better for me. I have since learned there is a spiral-bound version available on Lulu.

Whatever planning tools you choose to use, I wish you a creative and productive 2019.

No affiliate links, no sponsored anything, just an enthusiastic fan.

Making the leap from non-fiction to fiction… Geronimo! Please visit to learn more about me and my works in progress

Image from Unsplash