In July 2018, I interviewed bestselling author Susan May Warren on my podcast, WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast, about her latest romantic suspense novel. We had a great time talking about all things writing, but we had to cut things short because there was so much to talk about! I brought her back in August to focus just on her classes and writing retreats and other tools for authors.
One of those tools has had me salivating ever since she told me about it. Susie May has been creating and tweaking and recreating and tweaking some more a personal planner to organize not just her writing life, but her whole entire life. And she’s offering it for sale to other writers. She calls it My Brilliant Writing Planner, and it’s available for pre-order now with a $20 discount through October 31, 2018.
Now, I have no skin in this game – Susie May doesn’t even know I’m writing this article yet – but you might know that I’ve been teaching time management courses for over ten years and I love a great planner! I’ve been using the ARC system from Staples for the last 21 months, and I really like it. But I have my time/calendar/planner in one ARC notebook, my writing notes in another ARC notebook, and other notes in other notebooks. Susie May’s planner puts a lot of that all together in one place.
Why? Well, when aren’t we thinking about our story and needing to jot down a few notes? Or in the middle of brainstorming and realizing we forgot to make some kind of plan for dinner? Or waking up in the morning trying to remember our new First Five (if you’ve taken my course) or other healthy habits we’re trying to incorporate into each day? Or wanting to capture a motivational or inspirational line to think about more later?
My Brilliant Writing Planner puts all of this together in one place!
Yes, that means it’s big. At 490 pages, this is not a little notebook you can shove in your purse. And maybe just the thought of having everything together in one place is both a relief and…a bit daunting. For me, my question before I buy almost anything is, “Am I really going to use it and get my money’s worth?” And I had to ask that question about this planner, no matter that a part of my brain really wanted it. (Magic bullet thinking, anyone?)
Looking over the great website for the planner, seeing examples of all the pages on the Samples page, and checking out the pages that Susie May had filled in for her life – that all helped me see how helpful this could be for me. But the real kicker was when I read that Susie May also created a course for this (over 7 hours of planning help!), showing us how she uses the Planner to “live with joy and get it all done.” The course is free when you pre-order the planner!
In one of the podcast interviews, she and I talked about how to schedule a writing life to be productive, but still enjoy our friends and family and a good night’s sleep. If I’ve learned anything from my recent collision with burnout, it’s that we can plan and time-manage ourselves into a breakdown. What I’m seeing as I look over the sample pages and read the text on the website is a tool created by a writer who knows the importance of prioritizing and saying no.
We can’t do everything. But a good planner – this one, or something else that works better for you – can help us keep our priorities front-of-mind. For me, I think that’s a key to having both a productive work life and a peaceful personal life.
I bought the planner five minutes after I got the email announcing that it was available. 😀 And I’ve already started the course. I figure it might help me finish out 2018 with a bang, but mostly I want 2019 to be my best year ever – and that’s going to require both planning (duh) and some hard questions. What will I continue doing in the next year, and what will I give up for now? What are my greatest strengths and how can I use them better next year? How can I hold myself accountable for the new healthy habits I’m developing?
For me, My Brilliant Writing Planner and the course that goes with it are going to be my most important tools, so I wanted to make sure you knew about them, too. Bring on 2019! 😀