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The 2023 Goodjelly Writing Planning Compendium


No. 144 | By Christine Carron

It’s that time of year again. We are a skip, hop, and jump away from the final quarter of the year. That means even if you don’t consider yourself much of a planner, you are likely going to feel some energy pulling you to take stock, assess, and get into gear to knock out your 2023 writing goals. Soon, I’m guessing, you will also feel the pull to map out your 2024 writing goals.

To help you leap into planning the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, I’ve curated a list of a few of my favorite Goodjelly planning resources that I’ve created over the past nearly three (wowza!) years.

Let's dive in . . . 

Rock Your Writing in Q4

I wrote 7 Tips to Focus Your Writing in the Final Months of the Year to help writers take charge of their annual writing goals in the last three months of the year. Many writers fail to account for the increased time and pressure that holidays bring, which mess with their “normal” writing plans.

If that reality isn’t handled in advance, it often leads to Inner Critic attacks. That is a  bummer in general, but it is particularly ick during what we hope will be a joyous and celebratory time of the year. 

Here’s an excerpt of the planning wisdom waiting for you in this post:

There is a project management mantra that states: Slow down to speed up. All planning work falls into the “slow down” part of the mantra. When you slow down to plan the remainder of your writerly work for the year, you purposely step out of do-do-do mode to pause, reflect, and think about your priorities, what you want to accomplish, and what you can reasonably accomplish in light of all your extra end-of-year commitments and activities.

Note: This post was one of the most read and most shared Goodjelly blog posts of 2023.

To read the full post, click here.

Embrace a Planning Mindset

In Planning Savviness, I assert that if you want to get better at planning your writing work, a key step is changing your perspective around planning. A lot of writers believe that if they make a plan, and then something happens that wasn’t “on plan,” then the plan failed.

This misunderstanding of the purpose of planning will keep a writer from realizing the full power of planning. It is also just one more way to invite in the Inner Critic—which I don’t think any writer really wants to do. Here is a taste of what you will learn in this post:

What you might find surprising is that the foundational steps to improving your planning chops have nothing to do with learning new planning skills. Those come later. Instead, true planning savviness starts with:

  • Embracing an in-charge-of over an in-control-of planning mindset.
  • Understanding why you plan.
  • Trusting that planning can support the way you work as a writer.
  • Knowing the different ways plans go “off plan.

To read the full post, click here.

Handling Plan Failures

In What to Do When Your Writing Plan Doesn’t Go to Plan, I dive into the importance of rethinking your response when your plan “fails.” This is another important mindset adjustment that will empower you and your writing productivity.

In the post, I weave in planning wisdom from one of my creative inspirations, wire walker Philippe Petit, who calls the successful execution of a finished work a “coup.” Here’s how I kick off the closing to this powerful post on planning:

Planning is a process. A conversation between you, your work, and your evolution as a writer. Stop expecting a plan to somehow magically control your writing future. That kind of thinking doesn’t serve you or your coups-in-progress.

To read the full post, click here.

See Your Writing Plan as Part of a Productivity Process

In this 5-minute video on Goodjelly's Youtube channel, I outline Goodjelly’s Jam process, which is an Agile-based approach to helping writers get their writing work done with greater ease and speed. 

This is the same process I teach in The Jam Straight program, which is helping writers bust through blocks, take charge of their writing process, and build a practice of sustainable creative productivity.

Watching this video will help you see how a writing plan works in context of an overall productivity process.

To watch the video, click here.

Handling the Unexpected

In On Decapitating Joseph, I walk you through the importance of adding contingency to your writing plans. Contingency creates a safety net. It protect your forward momentum by giving your plan breathing room and the capacity to absorb the unexpected. And unless you have psychic powers of precognition, the unexpected will arrive to mess with your plans.

Here’s a taste of the planning wisdom this post holds:

Figuring out how much Schedule Contingency to put into a plan is an art and a skill that will grow the more you experiment with it. Some general rules of thumb I use:

  • If it is the first time I am doing something, I add in hefty Schedule Contingency. I do that because my initial plan will have more holes in it and my estimates will be less reliable. 
  • The more I repeat a process (e.g., write a novel) the less Schedule Contingency I will need since I will know to account for the things that surprised me the first time(s) around. 
  • Any time I add a new variation to the mix (e.g., write in a new genre or format, like novel-in-verse), I up my Schedule Contingency again. New equals more unknowns and more errors in estimation. 
  • If other individuals (agents, first readers, etc.) have tasks in my plan, and I do not have oversight of their work priorities, I build in lots of Schedule Contingency on top of scheduled waiting periods.

To read the full post, click here.

Handling Plan Resistance

Many writers are full-on resistant to planning. Are you planning resistant? If so, and you got this far in this post, then there must be some part of you who thinks there may be some value for you around learning more effective planning skills, yes?

If so, check out On Resistance and Connecting to Your Inner Advisors. In this post I share the audio of a visualization I created for a writing conference. Allow yourself to do the visualization, focusing on your resistance to planning.

The beauty of this visualization is that it invites you to connect to your inner knowing about how a deeper focus on writing planning will serve you. Which is loads more useful than me telling you (over and over) how useful smart planning is. 

To do the visualization, click here.

Proceed with Process, Power, and Kindness

Planning is a powerful tool in your writing productivity toolkit. May these planning resources—all grounded in power, process, and kindness—serve you well as the air chills, the leaves fall, and you turn your focus to wrapping up your 2023 writing plans and cooking up a motivating set of 2024 writing goals.

On those endeavors, I wish you ease, speed, and many grand leaps of delight.

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