If anybody had asked me, even a few months ago, if I would ever want to use a disc bound system for planning and organization, I would have said a flat out no. They had disks. Which were plastic. A leading brand even had “Happy” right there in the name, and that is a lot of pressure for someone who uses planning to help deal with depression and anxiety as well as writing and the duties of a domestic warrior queen in transit. Fast forward to now, and we have the heavy lifters for the coming year:
That’s classic Happy Planner in the back, with a mini Happy Planner in front of it. Yellow paper is Happy Planner filler paper in an off-brand notebook, and gorgeous galaxy notebook is Happy Notes. The pages are pink, I’ll give it the happy for that. What happened? I got the planners as birthday presents and figured I would give them a shot.
This doesn’t mean that I am abandoning my travelers’ notebooks or ring bound planners or the hordes of hardcover, softcover, and spiral bound notebooks. It’s another tool in my kit, and I very, very much like being able to move the pages around at will, without snapping and unsnapping rings, or leaving paper debris all over whatever surface serves as my desk at the time. Our family is still vagabonding, so having something that I can tote around, dump everything in one place, and then farm out to the proper specific places/notebooks later makes a lot of sense.
Some of the plastic disks are actually pretty, and not all disks are plastic. I can get metal disks if I want (and I probably will, because I know me) and some of the plastic colors are actually pretty. There are a wide variety of covers available commercially, and some creative stuff on Etsy, plus the option to buy a DIY sleeve to fill with my own choice of images. (Yeah, every much going for that one, ASAP.) After a couple of weeks, and a lot of YouTube tutorials, I got the hang of the system, and picked up my first Happy Notes, the notebook version, no planner, just paper, and rescued an off-brand cousin from a clearance rack, which has become a catchall sort of book, with pages I can readily swap out if they belong somewhere else.
Organization helps me to thrive, and pretty organization is even better. I found a few designs of planners/notebooks/papers/accessories that are more on the sophisticated side than in-your-face bright and want-to-punch-their-face cheerful. I like to have a good idea of what I am going to be doing before I am actually doing it, which very much does affect my writing, especially going into a whole new year.
2019 saw the publication of Chasing Prince Charming, another thing that surprised me. I haven’t stopped writing historical romance just because I have a contemporary out there. One of my goals is to have a historical sale and/or release in 2020. At least one, as well as my contemporary collaborations. I also want to leave room in case something else that sounds fun presents itself, because one never knows.
In the past, my writing notebooks followed a very specific pattern:
- pick out color scheme
- choose binder, always letter size
- create four sections: hero, heroine, villain/antagonist, and history/research
- never touch it again
- feel guilty forever
in the one sense, it kind of worked, because a) I kept doing it, and b) usually worked out a few things while doing so, but on the other, it didn’t, because, say it with me now, I never touched them again, and felt guilty forever. This doesn’t mean that keeping notebooks doesn’t work for me (um, have you met me?) but that I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do, and what probably worked very well for somebody else, but not for me. For 2020, I plan to take a more organic approach, which is to say ease the heck up on myself and let things happen as they happen in regards to setting up my writing notebooks, and shut off the annoying troll in my head that says everything has to be perfect right out of the pen. Because it doesn’t.
What I have right now is a bunch of different colored filler paper, and a plan to swoop in on any clearance 2019 disc bound planners at the end of the year. Each project will get its own…thing. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to make the divisions. Maybe as broad as historical and contemporary at first, or for 2020 and after that. That’s one of the things I want to figure out as I go along; the right way will make itself known if I keep showing up and doing the work.
Lately, I’ve been admiring the heck out of authors like Kathryn LeVeque and Sandra Sookoo, both extremely prolific authors. I haven’t read much of either author, so far, but I can still fangirl over their business savvy, and owning their voices and diving in one hundred percent. Yes. That. The question is, how do I get from where I am, to where that sort of writer is? One day at a time, it would seem, and laying out a map so that I know, generally, where I am going, and approximately how I plan to get there.
Planners are a big hep in that. I am not big on word counts, which is how many successful and prolific authors measure output. I can see why. It’s handy. For me, pages are a better bet, so I am going to try setting a page goal first. Whether or not I translate that to words remains to be seen, but a page goal, and an aesthetically pleasing way to record it seems like a good place to start. The most important part is to get the stuff in my head down on the page, all the way to the end. After that, the possibilities are endless.