• Dana Ellington

A Writer's Best Friend is Their Planner

(title adapted from Norman Bates, Psycho...coincidence? I think not...)



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You're just 11 days away from writing your first, full length novel. Are you getting that spine tingling feeling of dread...I mean, anticipation yet? Feeling a bit crazy when you think about what all has to get done next month and wondering how in the world you're going to fit writing into your schedule? It can all make you feel a bit, well...Psycho, eh?


It always comes back to having a good plan. Plotter or Pantser, you’d do well to have a plan for how you’re going to get the day’s writing done. If you’ve watched any of the videos on the Nowata Press YouTube channel or read the posts here, then you already know, I’m a sucker for a writing schedule.


Also, if you’ve been following for any length of time, you will have seen these steps before. But for those of you who may be new here (Welcome, by the way. Glad you're here), I’ll outline them below. Following these steps, I find I always have time to squeeze in work to achieve the day’s word count.


Note - The following tips are based on taking 30 days to draft a 50K word novel per the NaNoWriMo guidelines. Also, also...and this is important. Self Care (ie. REST, FUN, RECREATION) should factor into this process. Block off days / times for activities that foster your mental and emotional health.


Step 1:

Grab a monthly calendar and mark off the days you know for sure you will not get any writing done. You’re traveling; have a medical procedure that’s going to render you useless for the day; etc. Cross those days off.




Step 2:

Drop down a level and mark off time each day that, again, you know you won’t be doing any writing. Example, meetings, presentations, medical appointments, kids’ activities, game / date / movie night, you’re going to be driving…whatever. Get as close to the hour or minute that you can and block it off.






Step 3:

Highlight the days / times that are open and schedule in your writing. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours, there is time to get the writing done.


Whatever tools you use to plan your day, be it paper planner and pen or tablet and project management software, setting up your writing schedule beforehand gives you a head start toward having a finished draft at the end of the 30 days.

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