About the Author,  For Writers

A Yearly Writing Schedule I Just Might Follow

In November of 2022, something magical happened. I “won” National Novel Writing Month by writing 50,010 words during November’s thirty days.

And I’ve been chasing that high ever since.

Apparently, I love the feeling of getting something done on a tight deadline. With 4thewords giving me daily deadlines in my writing life, I knew I could be unstoppable if I could pick a direction and stick with it.

It turns out I also love numbers. (I know! I’m just as surprised as you are!) 4thewords gave me lots of delicious data to devour, so now I know how many words per month I’m likely to write when I’m not pushing myself under NaNoWriMo-like conditions. Believe me when I tell you that I was dying to do something cool and productive with this new information.

When Kristin Durfee mentioned inside the Writer’s Atelier online community that she was considering using a then-upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo session to outline her next project, the lightbulb turned on. All of a sudden, I have a writing schedule that:

  • Plays nicely with my deadline-hungry brain,
  • Also plays nicely with my typical daily output,
  • Aligns with the “writing seasons” (namely, both Camp NaNo sessions and NaNoWriMo),
  • And allows for rest—which I won’t give myself if I don’t schedule it!

I’m so excited about this, I had to share my thinking for next year. If you follow me through to the end, I have a free printable 2024 calendar in it for you!

I have four project slots: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

It’s a very rough correspondence to the seasons, I’ll give you that, but this was the easiest way to classify them.

January through March is dedicated to my Spring Project. In 2024, thanks to leap year, it’s ninety-one days long.

May through June is time for my shorter Summer Project. That’s sixty-one days long. I foresee this being the trickiest project to plan—it’s a shorter period than both Spring and Autumn Projects get, but doesn’t have the pressure of a thirty-day challenge.

August through October is my Autumn Project. That’s also ninety-one days long.

And, finally, the Winter Project is NaNoWriMo: 50,000 words of freshly written fiction.

Now, I thought the idea of “slots” was fine and dandy, but what am I going to do to fill them? Write a novel? Edit one? Pen a series of novellas or short stories written back to back? Hammer out episodes for some kind of serialized fiction platform, like Kindle Vella or even Dorian?

Well, when have we ever known me to stay in a box, right? My two-going-on-bajillion pen names and I will follow the joy, and I’ll release the projects as they’re completed.

I have two planning periods: April and July.

Okay, follow me closely here, because these planning periods are staggered.

During April, I plan the Summer and Autumn projects for that year. That means I commit to which two projects I’m pursuing during those periods, and I fully outline both of them in my own special way.

And during July, I plan the Winter/NaNoWriMo project for the year and the Spring project for next year.

Why did I choose these months—both of them Camp NaNoWriMo sessions—to plan my entire year? Because of the Camp NaNo solidarity, of course! I’ve always loved how flexible Camp NaNo is (especially since I have a history of being a #NaNoRebel), but I haven’t really felt called to participate in recent years. Now I can join in on the fun every year!

And I have December to rest.

Even if I hadn’t already thought to take December off, my loved ones would have demanded it.

There is the tricky matter of my daily writing streak. I intend to keep it going all year long because I just love watching the number go up, y’know? However, instead of writing fiction during December, I’m going to hit the bare minimum, 444-word daily goal by brainstorming and journaling.

I know it’s a little early, but if you’re just as excited as I am to plan next year, I made you a 2024 calendar to download!

Personally, I plan on color-coding mine with highlighters by project/planning period, then crossing off the days of the year as they pass. Tell me in the comments how you plan to use your copy!

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