Have you noticed that every January an epidemic of posts about how to organize your life and manage your time populates blogs?
I blame calendars.

How can we resist the urge to plan better when faced with a pristine new calendar filled with panoramas of places we’d love to visit, or with scrumptious images of dishes we’d love to try, or adorable pictures that make us smile every time we look at them?

These days…I use calendars for another reason—to plot my characters’ actions.

After all, as much as many of us would appreciate an eight-day week or an early Friday now and again, a writer can only take fiction so far.
By fitting the scenes of my book into corresponding days on a calendar, I ensure I don’t have a dreaded eight-day week or a Friday two days after a Monday.  
Meticulous historical authors working with specific dates will go as far as to note the times of the full moons and new moons, sunrises and sunsets, high tides and low tides. I merely ensure I don’t have two full moons in the same month, although I pay special attention to those sunset times!

The current book I’m plotting features a heroine who is helping her folks with their flower shop, so I’m on the lookout for a floral calendar that will give me added inspiration.

Your Turn: What’s your favorite kind of calendar? Do you use calendars in less-than-usual ways?


  • I keep getting calendars and ignoring them. Last year my calendar was five months out of date! I end up just keeping them for the nice pictures.

  • Hi Sandra. Nice being on your blog. I believe Calendars are to help us organize things, especially time for plots and characters. I nearly had a six-day week in one of my recent works! lol!

  • Favourite kind of calendar? Um…cute dog pictures! Are you surprised? And I started keeping track of book release dates for my favourite authors on my calendar last year so I wouldn’t miss a single delicious read. Does that count as unique usage?

  • LOL, Imogen. Some days, I wish I could!

    Olufisayo, welcome! I so relate on the six-day week dilemma. Sometimes my real life feels that way 🙂

    Kav, dogs, of course! And I love what you use your calendars for!! Um…do you have March 6 and October 6 marked? 🙂

  • Sandra, I use calendars to keep track of my novels’ time lines. I have a small pile of 2012 calendars waiting to be used.

    My favorite calendars? In my kitchen, I have a kitten calendar on which I keep the family organized. In my office, this year I have a calendar with scenes from Thor. 🙂 Last year I created a calendar that highlighted a family vacation. Each month had a mosaic of family photos. Now that calendar’s a keepsake.

  • I try not to use calendars at all. LOL Actually though, I do love calendars with really beautiful scenic places.
    I have a calendar I use for appointments and thinks, but I generally don’t plan ahead.
    A floral calendar sounds really interesting.

  • Oh, wow, Jessica, it’s really interesting to see the different personalities coming out in how we use calendars. An interesting detail for a book, I think. Hmm. Now I have to wonder if my heroine would be a slave to her calendar or a free spirit. 🙂

  • Love all these ideas! I keep a calendar in office and one in kitchen!! Kav’s idea about release dates is great idea!

  • Calendars help me to keep white space in my life. By having dual careers, my calendar can fill quickly with trainings, conferences, etc, but now I need to plan word counts, booksignings, etc

    I use my calendar to mark my word count progress. It helps me to stay focused and on track with my writing schedule.

    I use an online calendar to schedule my blog posts and guest blog posts. I guess a calendar helps me to stay focused.

  • What a great idea! I do have a Civil War Battlefield calendar by my desk.

    I always love the light house calendars too…I’ve never written a story with a light house in it…something to think about.

    I do believe in filling your work space with inspiration. I’m sending you a dozen roses from my writer’s heart to yours.

  • Ah Lisa, I’m continually amazed by how much you work you squeeze in to 24 hours!

    Loree, thank you!! The roses are beautiful 🙂 I have a lighthouse painting on my wall. There’s something romantic, inspirational and yet melancholy about a lighthouse scene.

  • I do the same thing, Sandra! I’ll look up the calendar, since I write historical, and put the days into Excell. Then I can enter in major plot points to see time-wise how they all work. Cool to know someone else does the same.

  • Like you, Stacie, I often use Excel. Although I inevitably peter out halfway through the book and just jot the main points on the calendar where it’s easier to quickly see them. I also have a 20 box chart, much like a calendar, to keep track of my chapters. I input the number of scenes, word count, pov and goal, conflict, disaster for the scene.

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.