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If you were convinced by yesterday’s post that an organized writing calendar could be just the thing you’ve been missing, here are some tips for putting together one for yourself.

Get Organized

The first step to creating your writing calendar is to figure out what method works best for you. Chances are you’ve been keeping work or school schedules for years now, so there’s no need to recreate the wheel here—just go with what’s worked for you in the past. My brain tends to work better on paper, so I chose to purchase calendar pages from an office supply store and keep them in a three-ring binder. You may prefer a digital calendar that can be store on your smart phone, computer, or as a part of your email. I like to look a full month’s worth of tasks to see what I’ve accomplished and what I still need to do at a glance, but you may prefer a week-by-week day planner.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s easy and fast for you to add, delete, or reschedule items. The purpose of your writing calendar will be ruined if it isn’t convenient to use!

Here is what mine calendar includes:

Pockets for loose materials. I keep instructions for posting at enchantedinkpot here, and I kept my editor’s revision notes when I was still working through them. It’s good for anything you want quick reference to.

Blank pages for listing main monthly goals. This is where I put my big items, such as: finish a draft, return copyedits, or build a web site.

Calendar pages (duh!). Mine has an additional notes column, which I sometimes use to write weekly word goals.

Because I’m keeping my calendar in a three-ring binder, I also combined it with the author publicity and marketing articles that I’ve been tearing out of magazines for years. Oftentimes, I might make a note on my calendar, such as “Create fan page on facebook (see article)” which reminds me that somewhere in my saved pages I have a nifty article that talks about creating facebook pages.

Tip: If you clip articles, only save those you’re sure will come in handy in the future. If you find two articles that discuss the same topic, choose the one that seems most complete and relevant to you. If you start pulling every article you come across, you could end up with information overload very quickly! (I speak from experience.)

Bonus: helpful articles.

Pen vs. Pencil

Expect things to change. Your writing goals will change as you discover a manuscript being longer (or shorter) than you expected. Things get pushed back and moved around. You may determine that something that seemed important to get done this month can wait until next. For this reason, I recommend writing almost everything in pencil. Erasing, as opposed to crossing out, will keep your calendar looking clean and organized. Exceptions: firm deadlines (like those set by your publisher) and firm events, such as birthdays or conference dates.

Now that you’re organized, it’s time to fill your calendar up! Tomorrow will conclude this little series on writing calendars: What (and What Not) to Include on Your Writing Calendar.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
*jaw drops*

Your writing calendar is MADE OF WIN!!!!
Apr. 22nd, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
thnx! it helps a lot for beginning writers like me!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

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New York Times bestselling author of CINDER and The Lunar Chronicles, in which Cinderella is re-envisioned as a teenage cyborg. I'm represented by Jill Grinberg.

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