Planning for the Year

I decided I’d best come into this year with more of a solid plan for my writing. “Write more” is too vague, and I need a clearer picture of what’s in process to better prioritize what I’m working on at any given time.

It’s no coincidence that I also have that Exit Strategy I mentioned a month ago already written.

Road Warrior

Startin' 2008 on the road in the pre-iPad days

The idea is to lay out the projects in a manner that makes sense. For example, I want to make sure I’m not overloading a given time period, and I also want to leave some flexibility for edits and proofreads and for other projects and opportunities that may appear during the year.

While I do have tasks and reminders set up in Google Calendar, I felt a simple checklist in Evernote works better for keeping everything in one place as well as keeping it always available and at hand with all of my writing notes. The desktop app includes a checkbox function, which looks like this:

Exit Strategy Screencap

The names may have been changed

This is what the entire year looks like. Some months are thinner for flexibility, others are thinner because they have a larger project lined up. I try not to get meatier than this because, again, I want this to succeed. No sense burying myself in work I’ll never get around to doing. In the Spring I’ll take a look at how many checkboxes I’ve been able to mark off and reevaluate the schedule as I go. Adapt and overcome. By Fall, I will start laying out 2013.

(Yes, there will be a 2013. I don’t care what the Mayans say. Don’t be an idiot.)

Keep it simple. Don’t jump into some organization system that takes more time to maintain than it does to think up the contents. Don’t sweat the process, just get it done. A piece of poster board tacked up next to your desk with checkboxes drawn in Sharpies will work just fine. Or jot it in the front of a paper notebook you like to carry it around.

What’s more, don’t put your list in a dedicated smartphone app. That’s too easy to ignore, and it’s 99c or $1.99 or whatever you’ve just pissed away. If you’re a smartphone app nut, use an app you already use all the time. Got a to-do list manager already? Fine, use it. Into the Notes feature on your iPhone? Knock yourself out. Me, I already get Evernote on all my devices and I use the hell out of it, so I’d be an idiot not to take advantage.

Don’t have a plan yet? Congratulations, your first checkbox is “Create my 2012 plan” and you’re going to work on it this weekend.

After that it’s all about punching the keys.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


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