We all know about the writer’s notebook. But since publication, I’ve come to realise I also need a writer’s diary. I’m not talking about a journal, a place to wander entranced through my subconscious. Nor am I’m talking about a diary that includes scribbled shopping lists, indecipherable recipes or doctor’s appointments. It won’t have anything to do with my day job. After all, those hours are already reserved and accounted for. I just need a place to put all the practical stuff that comes with being a published author.
I need something that tells me when I’m scheduled to submit a guest blog post and remind me to drop by and comment once it’s posted. I’ve also got a blog (link to: email@example.com) and need to diarise the guest authors scheduled on mine.
Revisions or edits come with strict deadlines and I’ll record those and flag some warning cues letting me know time is passing.
I need to create goals, tagged with definite dates. If I want to write two or three books a year I need a plan and the diary is my roadmap.
Maybe I have a coffee date with a fellow writer, an important part of staying connected in the writing community. I don’t want to forget that because those relationships are precious.
And every month a diary reminder to email website updates to my website manager by the cut-off date makes sure I make the most of my investment.
I need to schedule stuff around my new releases, probably the trickiest thing to do; contact my publisher’s PR person, ask bloggers for a spot, request reviews. I need to hone a program that puts me out there but stops short of making people throw up.
When I go on holiday, and that holiday is really a thinly disguised research trip, I want a note of what I need to check and research each day. I may not pass that way again and if it’s related to the book I’m writing, I’d better make sure I diarise the things I need to research at each stop.
My diary will have a note about closing dates of interesting short story competitions I want to enter. Some of those will represent unrealised dreams. It’s so important to have these and record them.
I’ll also use it as a record of what I’ve done not just what I plan to do. Dates of submissions, rejections received, short pieces I’ve written.
In short, I need something that helps me progress my career, keeps my head screwed on straight and stops me waking at 3am with that ‘uh-o’ moment about something I’d forgotten to do. The practical Lou, she of the day-job, reaches for a serviceable black Debden diary. But writer Lou wants Kikki K, something colourful and full of fun that reflects the sort of heroines I write.
What about you? Do you keep a writer’s diary? Or are all the things you need to do kept in your head?
Louise can be found at: