By: Margena Holmes
Happy holidays! I hope you’ve gotten through Thanksgiving without too much trouble, and Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve and Day are just around the corner. What’s coming up for your writing year next year? What important dates do you have coming up? Any plans at all?
Now is a good time to start planning out your writing year for 2020. What DO you have coming up? Deadlines? Conferences? It’s good to get these things planned out ahead of time so you don’t have any conflicts. I started using a planner this year and it has helped tremendously for deadlines as well as personal events like baby showers.
I use an old school planner notebook to plan out my writing deadlines and what I want to accomplish for the year, but if you’re techy, you can use your phone or tablet. I like to get the pretty planners, and a nice pen, though if you use pencil, you can easily erase if you need to move up or push back a deadline (which I’ve done a lot in the past).
The obvious is deadlines you have. When you plan to have your book finished, sent to the editor, when you’ll be revising, etc. It may seem like micro-managing, but if you have an open-ended date to get your book finished, will you finish it? I base my deadlines on when the next comic cons are in Colorado Springs, so cons usually go into the planner first. I like to have a new book out for those. Since I self-publish, I need that date so I know when to submit the book and have it printed and sent in time for the Con. Deadlines have a way of sneaking up on you. “Oh, crap, that’s tomorrow?”
Regarding conferences, you’ll want to plan that out to take time off from work if needed, and to make your reservations. It’s helpful, too, if you put reminders in your planner a month or so ahead of time. That way you know what’s coming up. [Don’t forget PPWC2020!]
Do you plan out your social media content? You should! It keeps you engaged with your readers. I Google holidays and national days for each month and plan my content around that. January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day, February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day (I have these in my planner for next year). You can plan a theme for the month, or just randomly post each day or week. If it ties into your book or series, all the better! Social media users like to read about personal things, too, like how you spent your day, or see photos of you at different events.
Contest deadlines. If you plan on entering contests throughout the year, you will need to know when those are. When to start writing your submission (if needed), the deadline to send it in by, and when they plan on making the announcement of the winners.
Why plan out your writing year? It helps you stay on track with deadlines, and keeps you engaged with readers. You may not stick to it religiously, but it helps you to know what’s coming up and you can always make adjustments to it, and you won’t be surprised when the Pikes Peak Writers Conference comes up on April 17-19, 2020, almost a month earlier than 2019. Happy planning!
Margena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade. Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.