Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Planning 2020 (Kimberly)

Planning 2020

Hello all! How do you plan your schedule? Is it completely detailed or perhaps you have a lot of floating/vague dates more along the lines of "maybe this quarter"? Scattered dates and checklists all over your house or at least your desk? Or one centralized master planner to rule them all?

Honesty moment, I've spent a lot of time being one of the scattered planner people and as I get further into my career, I find that doesn't really work for me. Whether traditionally published or indie, there's a lot of things beyond just hitting word counts we authors must track. There are various stages of the writing journey to reach publishing or submission deadlines, newsletters, blogs, social media, and also ads if that's part of our marketing plan. Add in your life outside of writing and things can quickly become overwhelming, chaotic, and a stressful mess of missed project dates and goals.

I've used regular date planners in the past, but they don't always click due to how much of both writing and business I need to track. So, this year I decided to try something new. I picked up The 2020 Author's Planner by Audrey Ann Hughey, an indie author who definitely understands there's more than just writing to track through the year. We're not very far into the new year, but I'm already loving this planner!

One of the two covers for the planner. Photo from Amazon.com.

The planner is aimed at consolidating the creative and business sides of being an author. What I especially love is the first page of the introduction urges you to be FLEXIBLE. Planners shouldn't be carved into stone, which can often be a downfall leading to author burnout because the author made every deadline immovable. However, planners with the cushion of flexibility can really help streamline and destress your author life whether you're a plotter or a pantser.

Some of the unique features of the Author's Planner are the sections aimed at clarifying our vision/goals for 2020 including the following: 1) agent submission and query tracking for those pursuing traditional or hybrid publishing, 2) reading list for business and pleasure, 3) income and expense tracking for each month, 4) a marketing plan ranging from publishing dates to visibility growth, and 5) a social media calendar. One of my favorite things is how each month begins with a reflection on the previous month and what did or didn't work before launching into the plan breakdown for the current month. Then the weekly calendar maintains a broad focus beyond just word count, which I love. You can make goals ranging from writing to editing to visibility, notate your writing buddy for the week, track the number of pitches you're sending out, and also address wellness goals and life priorities.

Now if this sounds a bit TOO organized and overwhelming for your needs, there are other planners that cater to author needs. One of my friends, indie author and designer Rachel Rossano, has just released her own all-in-one Writing & Marketing Planner. This is the kind of planner you grab if you want to easily track both marketing and writing without feeling bogged down by a bunch of extras. I haven't ordered this one yet. However, it's already moving to the top of my list for next year's planner picks because it's more streamlined while also organizing both the creative and business sides of the job. What I love about planners is that we can play around with them and experiment until we find one or two that's just the right fit for our lives and business styles.

Cover Photo from Lulu.com.

When I sat down at the end of the year to assess my 2020 goals, I knew better organization was going to be a major factor in my success. I've done the make your own planner and used word count oriented planners in the past, but this year I wanted something more structured that had room to coalesce my writing with the business side. Two of my priority goals are to publish a minimum of twelve books this year and to broaden my marketing focus, which would be difficult to achieve without being intentionally organized. Being scattered interferes with my focusing abilities, so I'm already benefitting from using more author oriented planners and I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2020 unfolds.

What about you? What planners are you using this year? What made you choose them? Any trips or tricks for planning your year? I'd love to hear about them?

Until next time!


  1. A great review of both ends of the planning spectrum. Thanks for the plug for my planner. :)

  2. These sounds like excellent planning tools. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I always think I’ll use a planner, but they just collect dust. Maybe I’ll give this one a try - it might actually get used!

  4. What a great tool! Thanks for letting us know about it. I bought a planner already and am working hard to actually use it this year. :)


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