The Best Calendar for Writers in 2021

My kind of planner

I’m old school when it comes to calendars. Probably because I’m a list-maker, I find the more traditional calendar with large squares for each day works for me. I turn each daily task into a handwritten list I can check off then throw away. My calendar helps me remember where I’ve been and what’s coming up within my writing career. I sometimes use different colored pens or a pencil for things. I even write reminders in the blank squares of things due to the next month. It is messy, but I’m happy.

Phone calendar

The calendar on my phone is for doctor’s appointments, etc. I don’t like to work on my phone because of the keyboard size. However, those who love their phone will find that feature valuable. You can sync it with other online calendars.

Online calendars

Google calendars can be shared. Great if you are working on a project with someone. It makes co-authoring a book less confusing. There are more complex online calendars, like Airtable. You can create a year’s worth of social media ideas and then mark them as done once you’ve posted for the day. Airtable has a free version and a paid version that helps get other aspects of your writing life organized. You can also download printable calendars from the internet and create your own daily, or monthly calendar.

Chunky Calendar

A calendar I find useful for novel writing is the Chunky Method Calendar. Allie Pfeifer author of The Chunky Method created it. She teaches you how to determine your writing chunk. The chunk of words you can write before your creativity dies. For example if you can write 500 words a day then you can use the calendar to calculate what day you will complete your novel, this includes adding in time for edits and rewrite. Knowing the endgame makes writing so much easier.

Dot and Bullet journals

Then there are the dot journals. Each page you can add your own dates and use colored markers to organize your events and daily goals. Some come with stickers or you can purchase them separately. You can draw your own backgrounds or just doodle. For those who are artsy or love neat, colorful calendars, these are for you.

Your choice is the right choice

Whether you prefer a simple block calendar, ,an artistic or an online choice than that’s the perfect one for you. And if you have no idea, take the time to explore all of these options. Use a block calendar and color code it. Try google calendar at the same time. It won’t take you long to figure out which option is best for you.

The goal as writers is to get things done on time. A calendar is only one of the tools in your writing career to help you reach that goal.

What is your favorite calendar to use, and why?

It’s a Struggle to Keep My Writing Torch Lit

Don't let your writing torch dim. Image compliments of morguefile.com

Don’t let your writing torch dim. Image compliments of morguefile.com

Like most conference attendees, my heart and mind are on fire with all I’ve learned and the encouragement I received. My I AM A WRITER torch shines so brightly in my soul that it overwhelms every other thought. My world is changed. Sigh!!! Then I drop my things inside my front door—reality hit hard. My mother has called several times. My grandchildren are needy, and there’s a pile of laundry that needs to be done.

Realty shows its ugly face in the form of laundry and other tasks.  Image compliments of morguefile.com

Realty shows its ugly face in the form of laundry and other tasks.
Image compliments of morguefile.com

I want time to decompress. But I spend my first day back with my elderly parents. Calming anxieties, attending to needs and cheering them up. Back home I am hugging grandbabies and cuddling granddaughters while their parents attended to things they need to do. I have a few days to organize myself before I go back to work.

If I let it, my day can return to business as usual. Well, I choose not to. I have projects to complete and new ones to start and this blog to get out on time. I will lock myself in my room and work. I’ll ignore the phone and the knocks on my door by family members. (Well, most of the time.)

I spent a lot of time and hard earned money to make connections toward publication at that conference. I’ve learned valuable things I need to start implementing right away. And I’ve discovered more friends who get my writer’s mind. Yet, it is easy to let my other life, the one full of housecleaning, job responsibilities and grandbabies squash the zeal, bury the plans and deconstruct my conviction that I am a writer.

Schedule it and follow through to keep your  I AM A WRITER flame burning bright. Image from free microsoft clipart.

Schedule it and follow through to keep your I AM A WRITER flame burning bright.
Image from free microsoft clipart.

Over the years I’ve started with baby steps. Scheduling time, even if it’s only a few hours a week to write. Taking reading material with me when I am waiting, pulling out a notebook to write. Even taking my laptop on long trips. I have my email connected to my phone. I can delete unimportant emails during break time at work. I rise extra early to write. Sometimes if my brain is functioning I write at night. Whatever it takes, I will not let life extinguish my writing flame.

The funny thing is—perhaps funny is not the right word—I always had excuses over the years as to why I couldn’t write. I’d lay it aside when life changes came. I’ve slowed my steps toward publication on many occasions. It was simply easier than pressing on. Now, however, I am now busier than I have ever been, yet I am writing more than I ever have. And truly experiencing what it feels like to be a writer.

I will do what it takes to feed my writing flame. How about you?

 

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Home from the Conference Now What?

Clip board do list

Now that you’re home from your writer’s conference, it’s time to get organized. While you are decompressing that first day back, take time to send thank you notes. Yes, thank-you notes are still in vogue even though they may be electronic ones.

Thank you notes

Send them to all the people you had appointments with, thanking them for their time. You could send a note to the conference organizer and the instructors whose classes you attended. Gratefulness is an attribute every writer should practice. We all know how good it makes us feel to be thanked and appreciated. Go forth and do likewise.

Send stuff

If anyone requested information you mentioned you had (not proposals), send it now. It is easy to get busy and forget, and when you see them next at a conference, it will be awkward and embarrassing.

Request stuff

Some teachers will say, “If you email me, I will send you my notes.” Or they might have a special email for submission not available at the conference. Be sure to email your request for those things right away. It may take them a little while depending on their schedule to get back to you.

Sort, friend and follow

Sort through the pile of business cards you collected, and if they are not a friend on FB, add them. Follow them on tweeter, and if you use Linkedin, make the connection. Add them to your email list. All those connections are golden.

Post comments and photos on social media. Tag you new friends in pics or mentioned them in your comments.

Organize and rewrite

Organize all your notes. Don’t just place the notebooks on a shelf without perusing pages. You may find you wrote a vital piece of contact information in the midst of your workshop notes. Search for web addresses and books mentioned by teachers, and transfer the info to another sheet. I had written proposal request information from an editor who didn’t have a handout on a page of my notebook. Good thing I found it.

Calendars and time

Time Management is mentioned many times and in many ways at conferences. Plan how you are going to conquer it. Write down your commitment. Get out your calendar (whether on paper or PC) and plot your writing projects. Set goals for completion and days, hours, minutes you plan to write to reach those goals. You don’t want to let a whole year pass and conference time rolls around and you still haven’t submitted to all those who requested your work. Be sure to plan time to edit the things editors and critique groups suggested.

Read and Listen

Go through the books and CDs you purchase and plan when you will read and listen. If you commute to work, you can make that a classroom time with your CDs. Most writers are avid readers so I’m sure you know when your primo reading time is.

Do it now to gain success

The sooner you do these things the more like a writer you are going to feel. The discipline of reaching your conference goals builds confidence. Confidence is just another step toward the success you desired when you attended the conference in the first place.

What’s the first task you do when you come home from a conference?

 

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