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I’ve started planning again for several reasons. I want to be more aware and conscious of my actions β€” and lack of actions. I want to be more productive in my life (I am often found sitting around binge watching shows or just surfing Facebook). And I want to put more effort into my writing.

I bought a Happy Planner and I’m trying to figure out the best way to use it. One of the most important things is that I want to find a way to implement planning for writing into my planner.

Do I Really Need To Make A Plan For Writing?

Some writers don’t need to plan. They just sit down and write. They are called pantsers β€” i.e. flying by the seat of their pants. I tried that. Because it seems more natural, you know? But when it comes to fiction, I’ve found that if I don’t know what I’m supposed to be writing, if I don’t come to the desk with an idea of what kind of scene I’m going to write or how long I’m going to write for β€” I just don’t write. I procrastinate the hell out of my writing. And nothing gets done. And I make no money. That sucks.

So, yes, I do need a writing plan.

What Will My Plan Include?

The most important thing for me, as a fiction writer, is I need to have an idea of what I’m going to write. So, part of my plan will be a brief outline of the scene that I’m going to write during that session. It doesn’t need to be detailed. Just a couple sentences.

I also need to know how much I expect myself to write. 500 words or 5000 words. If I’m doing something longer (5000 words or more), I need to break that down into smaller segments and plan for breaks. If I don’t take regular breaks, I get burned out because I write for too long. And then I get tired and I don’t want to write the next day.

I need to know where I need to be and have everything ready, too. So, I might plan to write at my desk (likely) and get my coffee ready ahead of time. Also, am I writing on my laptop or on my Alphasmart? The Alphasmart is a really good tool for me to keep on task. Sometimes, writing on the laptop is too distracting because β€” well, the Internet and all my friends are constantly taunting me to come and play. If I write on my Alphasmart, I might try writing outside of the home. I can leave my phone at home and just take the Alphasmart and go to a coffee shop and not be tempted. I’m going to plan for both of these options and see which one gets the most done.

Finally, I need to plan for editing. I always want to finish a story, do a quick edit, and then publish it. But for the stories I’m writing, I want to spend a little more time editing. At the very least, I want to catch all of my spelling/readability mistakes (because I write fast without editing as I go and that means a lot of mistakes). I can’t pay an editor right now and I’m just not comfortable with it so I will be planning time to edit myself.

The Loose Writing Plan

What: Second Chance Romance novellas

Who: Billionaires, Wild Men, Older Men β€” maybe Men In Uniform

Where: various settings

Why: Because it is a sub-genre that might have some traction, because I like it, and because why not?

When: Writing 5 days a week, editing on weekends

How long: about 10K words

I’m thinking if I break up each writing session into 2000 words that’s roughly a chapter. 2000 words a day, 5 days a week = 10,000 word novella. Also, that’s 5 chapters.

I am planning to write between 9–12 of these novellas and they are all connected with the second chance romance theme.

I also plan to write 3 more novellas about The Red Dress β€” this is a sweet romance modern day fairy tale series about a red dress that attracts the soul mate of the woman wearing the dress. Part 1 is already on Amazon in paperback and it is available in ereader format in all major ereader stores. The paperback copy has done well locally so I think it is important that I continue this series and get it finished.

The Red Dress stories are a little longer in the 15,000 word range so I need to write more per day when I am writing these ones. I’m thinking that I may alternate weeks. Or I could just write them on weekends. It’s not my main priority so I’ll think about that.

In my planner I am going to include the outline and then record my words-per-day in a table format. I may also do some note-taking on stories that are being planned. Main characters and locations and things I might need to do some research on. That kind of thing.

If you’re a writer and use a planner, what kind of information do you include?

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