This blogpost was originally published as a guest post about the third volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner on Mythical Books.
The 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner springs directly from my experience coaching writers and is based on the materials I use in my practice. It has been called ‘a writing coach in book form’ and that’s exactly how I intended it.
Of course, no journal or workbook can stand in for an actual writing coach, someone who will work with you one on one, but 52 Weeks of Writing asks the same questions I ask my clients, and includes numerous writing quotes, prompts, and exercises that I could have picked out or come up with for any of them. Some of them I actually did use in my one-on-one practice and I know I’ll use them again.
Because I poured my approach to coaching into book form, I won’t be around to prod further when you’re holding back or aren’t entirely honest with yourself. That work is entirely up to you. It’s why some questions come back weekly, to help you dig deeper and unravel any unhelpful patterns as you go.
I’m not there to keep you accountable either, which is why I recommend finding yourself an accountability partner as you work your way through the journal/planner. Anyone who purchases 52 Weeks of Writing is also invited to join my Facebook group, The Accountable Wordsmiths.
So how should 52 Weeks of Writing be used?
The journal/planner consists of various elements, some of which return weekly, while others show up every quarter, or only at the very start and end.
Except for the first week, each week starts with a Tracking section, where you’re asked to reflect on the goals you set for the previous week and why you did or didn’t achieve them. Here, you also get to ponder how to better next week, if needed.
The weekly Planning section is where you get to plan your week ahead. If realistic planning isn’t one of your strengths, don’t worry. Just keep tracking your achievements and you’ll soon learn what you can realistically expect of yourself.
Another weekly element are the writing quotes that start off each week and the prompts or exercises that come at the end. Each of the latter is designed to make you grow as a writer, whether in practical terms or those of mindset, and I—obviously—highly recommend doing them.
52 Weeks of Writing starts off with a Clarity section and is designed to help you get clear on what makes you tick as a writer and what may be in the way of your goals and dreams. This section returns every quarter, as does the Reflecting section, which invites you to go back over the past three months and consider how far you’ve come since.
There’s also the Goals section, where I ask you to write down your long-term writing goals. Since goals are not set in stone—we change, our circumstances change—the journal/planner checks in with you every three months to see whether any of those big goals need to be adjusted. You might realise some need to go, while others should be added.
At the very end of the journal/planner, you’ll find the Goal overview. As the name suggests, here you can write down all of your goals of the year, whether you achieved them or not, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. It’s an extra opportunity to reflect on your progress and get clear about any of the patterns that keep tripping you up.
But… You have to do the work. 52 Weeks of Writing won’t work for you otherwise. You have to actually use it consistently for it to be of help. One of the first reviews this volume received said it well: ‘This is one of those books that you get out of it what you put into it.’ So use it, use it daily, answer the questions, especially the hard ones, and then enjoy the results.