Making plans

I’d originally meant to post about this topic back at the end of last year or the start of this one, but day job + state of the world have pretty much crushed my motivation for a while. At any rate, the subject is timely again, so better now than never…

One of my favorite parts of the end of a year is buying a new planner. (Yes, a paper planner. If your apps work for you, that’s great, but this post isn’t for you.) I’ve never been quite satisfied, though, with any of the ones I’ve tried. In my case, I don’t have that many things that have to be done on a certain day (so I don’t need a huge space for each day), but I do have things that need to get done sometime that week. Inevitably, I’d wind up writing a bunch of to-do stuff in the Monday and Tuesday slots, only get a couple things done, and then wind up highlighting the rest so I’d still pay attention to it by Friday. Or I’d find myself keeping a to-do list elsewhere, of stuff that needed to get done that week or that month, just not on a specific date. I also hated that my planner didn’t have a monthly calendar page integrated with the weekly layout.

The other issue for me was trying to figure out how to organize both my regular day-job/household-type planning needs with my writing/creative planning needs. For 2015 and 2016, I’d tried having a separate writing planner, but even though I loved the idea of that, in both cases it never quite worked as well as I hoped. It was too much separation. I needed both aspects of my life in one place, but my writing planning really didn’t lend itself to a regular day-by-day layout.

So as the second half of 2016 came around and the 2017 planners started hitting stores, I looked at all different brands and styles — Japanese imports, the Leuchtturm planners since I’d liked their notebooks, the usual B&N offerings — but there was always something missing.

Finally, staring at Google one day, I told myself, “That’s it. It’s 2016. We’ve had print-on-demand technology for years. There’s GOT to be somebody online offering customizable planners.”

Enter Agendio.

(Can I just say, I love their name? It’s like a Harry Potter spell to create a to-do list.)

I found other companies selling “customizable” planners, but the options tended to be more along the lines of, choose what picture you want on the cover, put your name on it, choose which type of layout you want (always the same types of layouts you can get in regular planners).

With Agendio, you can customize pretty much everything — the full layout module by module, the font, the colors, whether you want lined pages added in, or a pocket, or an elastic band, or tabs. You can have all your family’s birthdays printed in there (one of my favorite things). You can choose which holidays to include based on what country you live in or faith you observe. If some event happens the same day and time every week, you can have that printed in there automatically too. I spent hours — wonderful, happy, nitpicking hours — tweaking every last thing.

(For the record, you wouldn’t have to spend hours building your planner. It’s not that the process is difficult or massively time-consuming; it’s just that I was a kid in a candy store with all the options.)

So now I have a planner with the left page showing the days of the week and the right page made into two to-do lists: Household and Creative. The household one has a bulleted list format; the creative one is just a blank shaded block. There are monthly calendar pages (to keep track of bills and pay dates) interspersed where they should be. It has lined and blank pages in the back for notes, a pocket for business cards and clippings, and a lovely charcoal gray cover.

In short, it’s pretty much perfect. (And yeah, it’s more expensive than your average B&N planner, but I expected that. Still, even with all the bells and whistles I added on, mine breaks down to be a cost of about $5.83 a month, which to me is pretty good for something I was able to build to my own specs.)

I mention all this now not just because I’ve had a couple months to try it out and still love it, but also because Agendio has a sale going on right now. Until March 12, using the code INeedAnAgendio will get you 15% off any planner or refill (they print refills for Day-Timer, Filofax, etc, too).

And just to cover the fine print:  They’re not paying me to post this and I don’t get a percentage of clicks or anything; I just like signal-boosting good stuff, and they’re a relatively new company that I’d love to see thrive. That said, if you want to see my layout, I do have this referral link that will show it to you, and if you buy a planner from that particular referral link, I do get a credit toward my next purchase. So there’s that.

*opens planner, checks off “Write blog post about Agendio”*

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Cyber Monday sale – Hero’s Best Friend ebook and more!

Just a quick heads-up that herocoveras part of Seventh Star Press’ Cyber Monday sale, the ebook version of Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions is on sale for just 99 cents today. If, like me, you’ve always been more interested in hearing about the animal sidekicks than the fantasy heroes, you’ll probably enjoy this one. It includes my short story “The Emerald Mage,” about a wizard and his snowcat companion dealing with the personal and magical effects of the wizard’s aging.

You can get Hero’s Best Friend here on Amazon — again, 99 cents, today only:
http://www.amazon.com/Heros-Best-Friend-Anthology-Companions-ebook/dp/B00IAHEI1W/

Seventh Star Press is offering the same great deal on a lot of other novels and anthologies today, and they’re also giving away a Kindle HDX. You can find all the details about the giveaway and a full list of discounted titles here on their website.

 

Now on Kickstarter – Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things

Didn’t mean to be so long between posts — it’s been a busy summer and fall — and I’ll be back very soon with some updates of my own. Right now, though, I want to help spread the word about a new literary journal of stories and poetry, aimed particularly at young writers and readers ages 10-18.

ember titleIt’s called Ember, and in addition to just plain looking like a gorgeous publication with a worthy purpose, they’re also planning to reprint my story “The Frog Who Swallowed the Moon” in their spring 2015 issue (after it appears first in their sister publication Spark: A Creative Anthology).

They’ve commissioned beautiful cover art for the spring issue, inspired by my story. (I’ve already pledged to get a print of it.) 🙂 Please have a look at their Kickstarter campaign and contribute if you can:

https://www.kickstarter.com/project…..uminous-things

 

Signal boost: Disabled Poet Seeks Healthy Macbook

Awesome person who also happens to be an awesome poet had something lousy happen to her, and here’s a chance to help restore balance to the universe by contributing to making something good happen for said awesome person/poet. Best of all, the donation perks are poems custom-written just for you:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/disabled-poet-seeks-healthy-macbook/x/1631391?c=home

I know that psychologically it’s probably hard to feel like contributing to a funding campaign when you can see that the goal has already been reached. Do keep in mind, though, that in this case, the goal was only half the cost of a new computer, and personally I’d like to see it get a lot closer to the full cost. (Besides, custom poems, people! Textual art that did not exist before in the entire world! How cool is that?)

Which reminds me that I still need to decide on my favorite season… (Whatever it is, it’s definitely not this bizarre hybrid winter/spring/sprinter/wring thing we’ve been stuck in for the past several weeks.)

 

Signal boost: KLINE layered sketchbooks Kickstarter

As those of you who’ve read this post already know, I’m something of a notebook junkie, so when I saw Neil Gaiman tweet about a sketchbook Kickstarter, I had to check it out.

I’ve been wondering for a little while if some kind of new sketchbook/journal company was going to come along to be a true competitor for Moleskine. Not in the sense of creating a cheaper version (that’s been done pretty well by a couple of companies now), but in the sense of taking a similar idea but improving on it, particularly in terms of using better materials. (I’ve always hated the Moleskine paper in both the regular notebooks and the sketchbooks; it doesn’t seem to truly take anything well, or at least not any media I use.) And there’s also the aspect that, in trying to appeal to the broadest market possible, the Moleskine brand has gotten… well, kind of diluted. While the pop culture geek in me thinks it’s fun for them to have Star Wars and Lego and Hobbit tie-in versions, the creative iconoclast in me (smaller but vocal) can’t help feeling a bit turned off. Call me a notebook snob, but it’s harder to trade on the elite cachĂ© of being the notebook of Picasso and Hemingway when you’ve got Darth Vader on the cover. *shrug*

At any rate, when it comes to being the next sketchbook that all the really cool artists are using, I’ve got my money (literally) on KLINE. I’m impressed by the quality of the materials and construction they’re using (look, actual artist-quality paper and not slick beige stuff!), I love that it’s been created by artists for artists, and while I know I’ll probably wind up doing more writing than art in mine, well, there’ll be that watercolor paper in the back just waiting patiently for something to be done with it.

And their Kickstarter’s a chance to be able to someday say that, yeah, I got one of the very first KLINEs. You know, back before they were trendy and you could buy them anywhere. (*arches eyebrow, sips exotic tea*)

There are still a couple days left to contribute and get your own:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/klinenyc/kline-layered-sketchbooks-and-journals