Writing a novel is a big, exciting undertaking. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the moving parts involved in bringing a book to life and eventually to market, though, you’re not alone. Setting up a writing planner can be a huge help.
I decided to put my own writing planner together a couple of years ago so I could keep track of my writing goals, as well as all my projects’ info. It’s helped me stay motivated, make consistent progress, and keep everything organized in one place. (I’ve even published all my writing planner pages as printables, which you can purchase as instant downloads in my shop.)
The great thing about a writing planner is that you can make it entirely your own. You can customize it to your specific needs and workflow so it supports your unique process.
This post includes tips on how to set up a writing planner and ideas on what to include in it. Implement whatever feels right to you you and leave behind the rest, and let your writing planner evolve as you go.
Other posts you may like:
- How to Set Writing Goals You’ll Actually Stick To
- 5 Ways to Avoid Losing Motivation When Writing a Novel
- How to Win at the Mental Game of Writing
How to Set Up a Writing Planner
Choosing a planner
Start by choosing a planner that suits your needs and personal style. Here are some things to think about:
Three popular options for planners are bullet journals, ringed binders, and digital planners.
Bullet journals are great for very artistic people who want complete control over every page. You draw and design each page yourself, so you can set up the pages however you please and there’s flexibility to change them as you go.
Ringed binders come with 3 or 6 rings so you can add and remove pages and inserts with ease. There are a variety of different sizes and styles to choose from, so if you’re someone who enjoys trying new things, this could be perfect for you. You can change the binder out whenever you want by simply moving the interior contents to a new one.
Digital planners are perfect for people who don’t like physical planners and prefer the convenience of planning on their iPad or tablet.
What planner size is going to be most efficient and practical for your lifestyle? You may want something small that you can easily drop into your purse or something larger that gives you extra room to write in it.
There are lots of different options out there, so make sure you choose one that fits your personal preferences so your writing planner won’t become a burden rather than a benefit.
The right interior pages, whether that’s figuring out how you want to design them yourself or choosing ones that are premade, will have a big impact on how useful your writing planner is to you, too. It’s important to consider things like color, style, content, and the setup of each page to make sure they’ll be both inspiring and efficient for the way you like to work.
Goals and progress
Keeping track of your writing goals and the progress you make on your projects is a great way to maintain motivation and momentum. Here are some things to include in this section of your writing planner:
- Writing goals— Your overall goals for your writing career and those goals chunked down into smaller goals for the year, month, week, and day.
- Project Progress — Your goals and progress tracker for each of your projects.
- Word Count Tracker — Track your daily word counts.
Create your own novel planner by keeping all the details about each of your works-in-progress organized, such as:
- Basic Story Info — All the basic info about each of your projects, including title, genre, etc.
- Character Details — All the important info about each of your characters.
- Settings Details — Info about your project’s settings, including maps and descriptions.
- Story Breakdown — Your outlines, storyboards, and chapter details.
- Notes and ideas — Plenty of space for miscellaneous notes, research, and ideas.
Put a plan together for your revisions and the publishing process, whether you’re going the traditional or self-publishing route:
- Revisions — Everything you want to edit in the next draft.
- Beta Reading — Your questions for beta readers, as well as notes from their feedback.
- Post-production — Planning for agent querying, self-publishing, marketing, etc.
Include quotes, imagery, and anything else that inspires you for your projects and your writing career overall. It’s your writing planner, so have fun with it and make your own!