I’ve started planning again for several reasons. I want to be more aware and conscious of my actions — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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?