As we start the new year, I thought it might be fun to share my planner set up for 2023. It might be a little intense. I have a few different ones that I use for different things.
I’ve used planners for a while now. It’s taken me a while to find a set-up that works for me. I went through a bunch of different planners/bullet journal ideas before I found the ones that work for me.
I have a weekly planner that I use for my writing and personal stuff. I took a photo back in December before I’d done more than put some stickers from Sweet Kawaii Design into it.
This is the planner I use for figuring out my week in advance. I also track my writing goals and personal goals in it.
The second planner I use is more of a notebook that has a to-do list in it. I use this for a monthly brainstorm and to-do for author stuff that isn’t necessarily writing but admin/promo/etc.
The third planner that I use is a simple Campus (by Kuyoko) Monthly one. It’s literally just a month-at-a-glance spread. I use it to keep track of promos, book releases, and deadlines. I find it really handy to be able to flip through each month and figure out what I’m doing (or what I’ve already set up in advance.)
The last thing I use isn’t a planner but a simple long notebook. It’s for a daily to-do list where I take what’s on my other planners and jot down by order of importance what I’d like to get done. Executive Dysfunction means that I don’t always complete my to-do list, but I find it helps me feel less stressed if I can see what needs to get done.
Some of my characters are created on the fly while I’m writing. Often, they’re ones that show up unexpectedly. Or, I’m so eager to start the novel that I don’t stop to consider who a character is until they’ve appeared into the story.
Dempsey from my Motts series was a character who surprised me. I never imagined he’d appear at all, never mind showing up in three of the novels. He played a far more central role than I anticipated.
Ivy and Tens are both characters who I knew would exist in their respective novels. I just didn’t take the time to develop them fully. I was in full panster mode while writing, so their personalities were created on the fly.
Ah, the joys of being a pantser.
Other characters required more careful thought and consideration.
Motts sprung from her name. I knew before I even plotted out the first book in my Motts Cold Case series that her name would be Pineapple Mottley. I spent weeks fully creating her marvellously quirky personality. She’s one of my all-time favourite characters.
Francis, from After the Scrum, was also developed from his name. I knew I wanted him to have a name that wasn’t gender-specific. The first meeting between Francis and Caddock had already been in my mind before I wrote the first line of the novel.
Of the two methods, I think I prefer the second. My characters who aren’t written on the fly are easier for me to write. But I still love all of them equally.
Almost every year, I’ve created a writing playlist for that year. Well, maybe not every year, but I’ve frequently done it. I always have a playlist for a book or a book series but my writing playlists are just random and not focused on a particular one.
The general writing playlists usually have more to do with my mood at the moment. I’ve started building my 2023 list so I thought I’d share the first ones to be added.
Easy on Me – Adele
Set Fire to the Rain – Adele
Let’s Stay Home Tonight – NEEDTOBREATHE
Good Life – One Republic
Try – P!nk
Someday – One Republic
Rise – Calum Scott
wish you well – Wrabel
All of Me – John Legend
love is just a word – Jasmine Thompson, Calum Scott
If You Love Her – Forest Blakk with Meghan Trainor
There were a million things I wanted to do with this novella. And the title was less of an issue than figuring out the plot. It started life as a ‘next door neighbors’ sort of romance that slowly shifted into the second chance romance it is today.
A few things never changed from the beginning. One of the MCs was always going to be a farmer who enjoyed cooking. I think it’s about the only thing that didn’t change.
The location changed.
The timeframe changed.
I was all over the place when I wanted to write this story. But then the idea of two people who’d had this awkward encounter then panicked, being forced to spend time together in isolation, took hold. It evolved a little while writing, but that core concept remained.
So, in the end, unlike many of my other stories, the title was relatively easy to decide on once I’d given the characters names.
I’d started with this idea of Farm to Table.
But Farm to Table isn’t a new concept, and I wanted something a little different.
I took four days off social media a few weeks ago. I was finding myself completely overwhelmed. Something I’ve always struggled with, but since 2020 it’s only gotten worse. So I gave myself permission to take a break.
I thought I’d share a few things that I learned in those four days.
I check Social Media, Twitter especially, far too often.
I have no need for social media apps on my phone. And I’ve removed them.
A constant deluge of ‘news’ is terrible for my mental health.
The world didn’t end because I wasn’t immediately informed of things happening.
I am in control of my social media timeline. There’s nothing wrong with muting/blocking people and tags. Boundaries are healthy.
The biggest takeaway for me was that I need to be giving myself a break from social media more often. I never realized how often I was just doomscrolling for no reason at all. So I’m trying to learn to set boundaries.
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