New Year, New Plan

I’m not really into New Year’s resolutions (‘must eat less chocolate’, yawn), but planning your writing for the year is a brilliant thing.

No, wait, come back! I don’t mean the kind of plan that makes you feel bad every time you look at it. I mean the kind that inspires and supports you, that helps you to write a little more and feel better about it. Still not convinced? Here are some reasons to love planning:

1) Planning makes everything feel more manageable

Writing projects can feel overwhelming, leaving you feeling MEH and avoiding writing. A good yearly plan takes all that away by breaking those huge jobs into small, realistic bite-sized pieces. And as a bonus, you then get the satisfaction of being able to see yourself cross those little steps off and feel like you’re making progress.

2) It gives you permission to ignore housework!

Making time for writing is hard for most of us. Life is busy, so it always feels like there’s other stuff you should be doing instead. Sometimes tasks need doing (technically, you do need to feed the kids), but there are lots that push in front of writing just because they feel more urgent.

Urgent and important are not the same though. Writing needs dedicated time and concentration. That doesn’t happen by itself! Planning your writing and breaking it into steps does two things. You are declaring writing is important to you, which in turn helps you to keep focus. This, hopefully, leads to a situation where you are spending more of your precious time writing and less hoovering. Honestly, nobody cares if you hoover a little less.

3) It shows you what needs to change

It’s frustrating when things aren’t happening and you feel stuck. But it’s the things that you do and the action that you take that determines what you create. Basically, you can’t write that screenplay or novel if you’re not… you know… writing…!

Making a good plan can help you work out what steps you’re missing at the moment. It can also show you what routines would work better for you than your current ones. Even small improvements to your writing life can make a huge difference in the long-term. So get planning!

4) It helps you achieve your dream

Everybody has dreams. Creatives are full of them. But while dreaming of going on a journey is great, if you never do anything about it? You’ll still be sitting in the same chair in twenty years wishing you’d gone. A plan connects the dots between your current situation and that far-off dream. It’s the map you need to start on the journey and stay on the right track.

Sure, things might change as you go along, but that plan is the thing you can always come back to. Use it to reassess your situation and work out how to get back to where you want to be.

5) Planning feels goooooooood!

The best plans are the ones that that give you clarity and get you inspired so that you can’t wait to get started. Use that creative energy as a catapult to give your writing a boost, and remember why you love writing.

BIO: Charlie Haynes runs Urban Writers’ Retreat, and is a not-so-secret planning nerd. The 2019 Writer’s Diary and Planner is designed with writers in mind. It helps you figure out what you really want to write next year and break it down into manageable bites. It also helps you work out what works for you, and helps you make writing a priority all year. Check it out!

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