What planner to use? My conundrum.

by Cynthia Naden

PLANNER.FRANKLIN 80326_6lrgI have been using a planner since the early 1990s and before when I was in real estate. It was a simple spiral 5×7 notebook. It worked for me until I was introduced to the Franklin Covey Planner when I was a paralegal working for Honda North America. The company was paying for the planners, and everyone was encouraged to use the Franklin system.  I did and loved it. I continued to use the Franklin program even when I changed employers.

I had discovered how beneficial it was and in the habit of writing things down and marking them off when I accomplished them. I hadn’t planned on changing, but when I was forced into early retirement and decided to pursue a writing career, I converted my planning to that of a writer and discovered that it was more important than ever.

PLANNER.NOVEL2 il_1140xN.2394617989_pn00However, I am still in search of the perfect writer’s planner.  I have immersed myself into planning groups and become friends with other authors who use planners. Surprisingly a number of them use a combination of planners. I was surprised to learn that my author friends had incorporated several different ones depending on what they needed to track to organize their busy lives.  They will use an individual planner for personal, family, and writing.

When selecting a planner – there are choices: dated and undated, weekly or daily layout in addition to monthly design, hole punched/loose-leaf, spiral-bound, hardcover bound, softcover bound, size, i.e., 5.75″ x 8.25” or 7″ x 10″, 8” x 11”, and the list goes on. The planner world has expanded into adding stickers for a personal and decorative touch!

PLANNER emma-matthews-digital-content-production-8K62atzbulQ-unsplashI have used a Panda Planner, Amplify, Commit30, Happy Planner, Erin Condren, Define Your Day, Full Focus, and All in One Planner by the Ivory Paper Company.

My problem is that I have tried several different ones besides Franklin and come back to it, but find it lacking and not always exactly what I need for my writing career. Hence, I have a stack of the planners, as mentioned above, that I am using or have tried out.

Help me! What is your go-to planner?

11 thoughts on “What planner to use? My conundrum.”

    1. Hello! I’m just now seeing this post, but I’m the author of the planner you featured above. You’re right! There are a ton of planners out there and I never found one that fit for me, so I created one that had all the various things I needed to plot and plan a novel from beginning to end! I use my own planner for each novel I write. Thanks for featuring my cover. 🙂 Dana


  1. I used to use the spiral “A-Month-At-A-Glance” that you can buy at Staples for $20 or so. I must have 20 of them saved (what for???) in a file drawer. Now I basically use a large wall calendar with cool photos that turn over each month. I write important things on the kinda-large squares.
    But for writing…. well, I’ve seen writers use a large cork or white board and either pin up index cards or use Post-its. Hmmmm. I guess that is for planning out scenes for a novel. For other writing, I’m not sure which planner would work for you. Why don’t you make up one! Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From a friend – Elise Stone
    Not really. I’d make some suggestions, but it sounds like she’s probably seen them. So far over the past year I’ve used a Passion Planner (not specific to writers) and a Kan Ban Board on the door of the closet in my office. I also use a program called Things for Mac, which is basically an enhanced To-Do list with minor project management features. I’ve used that one for several years. I also have a spreadsheet or two for promotions and advertising.
    The thing is, indie authors have multiple hats as writers, publishers, and marketers, which is why they usually wind up with multiple systems.
    Just one minute…
    I just remembered there was one discussed in a FB writers group I belong to at the end of last year. I didn’t purchase it because a) it’s expensive and b) I’ve kind of gotten used to my way of doing things. But it is specifically for authors and covers all the things.
    (Copy & Paste in your browser)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have an actual planner, but I use an online calendar to keep track of things I need to do and when, as well as a print calendar. And for notes about what should happen when, I start a new document on my computer to explain it all! Am I organized that way? Maybe not, but it’s what I’ve developed over time and it seems to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t use a planner as such but perhaps my brief summary, a couple or so describing the characters and plot, serves as a summary. I am always so eager to get into the actual writing that I push planning aside and just get on with it. Chapter 1 – here I come!
    Thanks for the post, interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who wrestles with this. I always have an inexpensive, thin, Month-at-a-glance planner – so I can plan each month. Then a second, smaller one with more daily space, where I write notes of what I’m doing each day. Whether it’s my writing notes – or other things I’m working on. I just keep looking for the perfect planner!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I myself prefer retro-planning than actual planning (I record the days more than I plan them), so I’m fine with just a normal blank journal. My journals of choice tend to have Tomoe River paper though, because they’re the best for fountain pens. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting question, Cynthia. In my previous life I used to order calendars, date books and planners for a staff of 140, and everyone had a different opinion on what works best. Ultimately the most effective planner is the one you’ll use.
    If you’re looking for something to help you plot your novels, I know many writers who swear by software programs like Scrivener. One system that may work for both professional and personal organizing is the funnel method (see my post The Wisdom of the WinRs from 2016).


  8. I use regular calendars that I receive from the various charity groups to which I donate and even those that come in the mail from groups who want me to donate to them. I have them several places in the house and use them for different things. The one in the kitchen keeps track of when the gardener comes and when I water the lawn. The one in the bathroom is for the pills I take and other non-mentionables. (Use your imagination.) The one in my office is for birthdays, anniversaries, doctor appointments and other appointments that might pop up. But I also write out a calendar and/or timeline for stories I write to keep track of events that happen in the story so I don’t have fifty things crammed into one 24-hour day. Those are my most important planners and they usually are on a simple piece of paper, but sure use them. I hope you find a perfect planner for your needs.


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