Monday 25 December 2023

Planning Your Year - The Creative Process


Firstly to those who celebrate, I hope you have a great day with friends and family. I'm planning to have a quiet day at home, which is pretty much the only reason there's an actual post today and next week. I also didn't wanna leave those who don't celebrate with nothing to read from me. So with that said, let's move onto the post!

There's a week left of the year and of course those of us who plan are looking to get goals set, and deadlines pencilled in and things to get done when and where, and I wanted to give you my thoughts and some tips, on planning your year. For those who don't know, I do a mixture of digital and paper planning. I have a planner where I do all my monthly spreads and the like, but I also love using my ipad calendar as a way to have a longer look at things throughout the whole year itself.

I don't generally plan out my year in one go, but I will do a few months in advance on the ipad just because it's a lot easier to work out what goes where if things are to change, and it allows me to see, at a glance, just how busy each month is going to be. I do make yearly goals on my Authortube channel (found here) and I will do a check in here on the blog around June/July time to reach see how I'm doing on those goals. They'll feed into my monthly spreads, my weekly goals and all the like, as well as get put onto my monthly to-do list that I keep on a private blog.

So with a week left, I have to be pretty much set up, right? Yes in some ways, no in others, because everything is subject to change. I have my January all planned out in my planner, and I have planned on the ipad up until May I think because of some deadlines that are coming up. So what are my tips when it comes to planning out on a large scale like a year?

This might seem like an obvious one. It might seem like I'm teaching my grandma to suck eggs, but you'd be amazed at how many times I see people planning everything down to the day of the week they're going to get things done by, when they either don't know really if that's feasible, or whether they'll even have time to get it all done. I'll talk more about starting small in a moment, but for now you  have to remember that a year is a very long time. I know it doesn't always feel like it, it can feel like the days are whizzing past but twelve months has a lot of time for things to change, for things to happen that you couldn't plan for, and for hiccups to come along the way that knocks all that careful planning out of the window.

So my first tip? Keep it simple. Plan the things that you know aren't going to change, and keep things flexible as well, which I'll go into more detail about in a moment. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm yourself and end up a crying mess by January 15th or something. Take what you know has to get done, and add in a few bits and pieces here and there, while also keeping in mind other things that can't be missed, moved, or avoided.

This is always a tip I give when it comes to planning. I know that I come across as highly organised and in some ways I am, but I also know that I only got there by starting small. I didn't ever do more than set goals that I might be able to reach, and I didn't overload my plate because I knew that doing that would just leave to upset, stress, and the possibility of me falling flat on my face when the next year came around.

You don't want to pile up stress upon stress upon stress, and while I get that you want to actually get things done, there's nothing wrong with starting small and then when you have a handle on things, adding bit by bit to allow yourself to expand your reach. There's no rule that says goals and plans can only happen in December/January, they can be started or added to at any point, so even if you want to achieve more than you feel or know you're capable of right now, start small, get used to it all, and then add from there.


We've all done this where we're pretty sure our plans are not going to change and we make plans, big ones or small ones, and then something huge lands in our laps and we have no choice but to cancel or adapt our original plans. When you're talking about planning out a whole year, you have to remember that nothing about that huge time-frame is set in stone. You could get sick, you could have problems that you've not thought of yet, and that's why as well as starting small, you should always leave yourself some breathing room.

I've done this. I've told myself that I would release this book then, and then had something massive come along to change things. I managed to pull things off, but the stress of it all really tainted the end result and left me with a bad taste in my mouth about how things had worked. So take it from me, don't assume that everything is going to go to plan, because like I said, twelve months is a very long time, and things can, and do often, change at a moment's notice.

So there we go, those are my tips and thoughts on planning out your year. I hope you have a good rest of the year, and I'll see you all in 2024! Happy writing!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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