Author: kristina

#BookRec: Kristan Higgins’ Good Luck With That

I think I’m probably the last reader in the universe to pick up Kristan Higgins’ Good Luck with That, which landed on a slew of “best of” lists for 2018 and even won Fresh Fiction’s Best Book of 2018. But I did finally pick up the book. Not only did I pick it up, but I loved it. Seriously. L-O-V-E-D. I brought the book along on our 20th (gah, 20!!) anniversary cruise a few weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. It visited a couple of beaches (and still has some St. Maarten sand in it’s binding!), and the pool deck, and had several people asking me what I was reading (I told them all to get a copy), and came close to finding a new home in the ship’s library, but at the last minute I couldn’t part with it. So no instead of sailing the high seas, Georgia, Marley, and Emerson are living on my keeper shelf. 

The book follows three friends who meet at a “fat camp” as teenagers, and walks the line between women’s fiction and romance. Here’s the blurb: Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.
For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.
But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves. 

What I loved about the book: Kristan writes some of the best “friendships” out there. Seriously. I have the same conversations with my friends, have the same thoughts, wonder about the same issues…Her book-people are like real-people, which really invests me in the book overall. Marley was hysterical her moment-in-the-mirror was so empowering. Emerson was..heartbreaking (and my one issue is that I wanted more of her). Georgia was frustrating and strong and so, so…lovable, especially when she just couldn’t love herself.

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, friends-girl-power read, definitely pick this one up. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

By the way, what are you reading right now? 

We All Need #SelfCare

It’s been a hectic start to 2019, gang, and I can’t quite believe we’re staring down June already. I kind of thought we were still in March last week (and not just because of the weather!) and then I realized we *couldn’t* be in March still because we’re back from our anniversary cruise (which was wonderful!) and state testing just finished up for bebe.

Over the weekend bebe and I had a little craft-a-thon. She’s been wanting to make surgeon masks (I dunno, she hates doctors…maybe she’s planning a heist?), but didn’t want “regular surgeon masks, Mom”. So, a little You-Tubing and a little craft-stash stalking and we were ready to go. I (of course) did the bulk of the sewing because the actual sewing machine scares her ( she lives in fear of running over her fingers with the needle… *whatever*). The point isn’t that we sewed a surgeon mask, the point is that it reminded me – I haven’t been sewing lately. For, like, nearly a year.

I like sewing/quilting. It’s sometime creative that is outside the realm of writing, so I use a different part of my brain…and yet, I get writing (plotting, character ideas, scene thoughts) done while I’m taking time away from the computer.

bebe & her mask

Sewing has been part of my self-care routine for…well, since before bebe. But as she’s grown up and needed more (and sometimes less) of my time, as my writing career has grown to the 20 book mark, as RadioMan and I have tried to carve out dating time while also raising a kiddo and having careers…the list goes on, but self-care has kind of fallen to the wayside. And that isn’t a great thing, I don’t think.

Self-care is time that I spend just on (and for) me. It’s reading a book just for fun, it’s taking a walk at

a nature preserve, it’s brainstorming with a writer friend, it’s a date with RadioMan, it’s movie time with bebe. It’s all the things that remind me that as much as I take care of RadioMan and bebe and my career, I also need to make time to take care of me – and sewing should definitely come back into that part of my life.

Because the hour or so we spent on the project? Was filled with laughter and silliness. It reminded me how much I enjoy making “things”, and how much I get out of the process. Things like a calmer mind, a new scene idea, a memory of bebe laughing so hard she fell off the chair…So, I’ve resolved to add sewing in to my routine a little more. I mean, I do have about 3 UFO (unfinished objects) in the crafting stash….

Oh! And if you find yourself in need of a “reason” to take some time for self-care, give this (5 Reasons to Love Yourself) a read. I read this a few weeks ago and loved it. For the past year or so I’ve been trying to give myself a break/give myself permission to focus on me – at least a little bit of the time – because self-care is really important. And self-care doesn’t mean you don’t love your DH or kids, it just means you recognize the need to refill your own well, to give yourself a break.

How to Create a #BlockSchedule

Earlier this year – and by this year, I’m technically talking about December of last year! – I decided I needed a planner change. Y’all know I’m a Happy Planner fan and have been for a long time. That hasn’t changed. But I was finding that having the three dividers just wasn’t working for me. I was getting lost in my day, skipping over things that needed to be done…It was time for a planner change. I’d been looking at the Teacher Planners for quite a while and decided to pick one up and customize it to what I wanted it to be. You can read more about why I chose a Teacher (and created a Writing Notebook and incorporated a Mini-Happy-Planner, too, here). 

What I like about blocking out my days is that everything is in order. When I was dividing my days into three “areas” – Home, Writing, Family – I was forever skipping over the things I didn’t want to do (hello, unfolded laundry!) in favor of what I wanted to do (why, there you are project I’m not set to start for another 3 weeks!) and missing a LOT of stuff. And not just the “mom” stuff of dusting or carpooling, but sometimes even writing stuff. I needed a better solution and after Googling a lot and reading a few “plan a better life” type books, I thought block scheduling would be a huge help. Only, when I first started, I was simply setting up the blocks in my Teacher Planner like I had my old planners – a box for house stuff, a box for writing…and it was the same vicious cycle of skipping over X in favor of Y. So I adjusted and created a time-blocked schedule where each time-block of the day has specific tasks. So far, it’s working. Here’s how I set it up. 

Step One: Figure out how many time blocks you need. I like having five blocks, some people like four, some six. Whatever works for you, try it. Five made sense to be because there are five basic “parts” to nearly every day in our house: getting up/getting bebe off to school, morning, lunch/early afternoon, after school run/homework/practices, and dinner/evening.

Step Two: Make a list of all the things you do daily: working out, meal prep and eating, house chores, grocery shopping, writing/editing, post office and school runs. Everything you do should be on this list. Don’t worry about prioritizing the list, just get everything down so you can see all the things you do in a week. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t worry, that’s what the next step is all about.

Step Three: Figure out what Key Activities fit the best in each block. A “key activity” is a most-important: you should have a “most important task” for each of your blocks. If you have five blocks, choose your five most important activities and think about where it makes the most sense to put those activities. Create a new list, with the number of blocks you’ll be using, and fill those in. My five are: Working Out, Writing, Business (which includes graphics/websites and additional writing), Family, Me Time. Once I’d figured out my focus for each block, it was time to fill in the other activities. 

Step Four: Fill in the “extras”. For me, working out fits best when I first get up, but during that block I’m also getting the kiddo off to school, having breakfast, showering, and even doing a quickie email and social media check. I’m also most productive, writing-wise, in the mornings. So I set up my second block as a strictly Writing block. No social media, no email, just me and the pages. BUT. I can fit in a few loads of laundry while I’m writing (because no one should be stuck in a chair for 3+ hours!) or unload the dishwasher. Next comes lunch and my Business block: a check in with email and social media and a little outside time, maybe 20 or 30 minutes. Then back to writing if I haven’t met my daily goal, or time with graphics, editing, website updating and that kind of thing. My third block is the Family block – it’s the school run, homework, karate practice. Then comes the Kristina block – it’s me time, time to read or watch a favorite show or maybe sew or do something else creative.

It may sound weird that separating my blocks out by time works better than separating out by task, but it does work for me. If you find you’re struggling to get things done or that your planner feels like a jumble of “stuff” that you can’t keep up with, consider changing up how you plot your days – you may just need a change in your planner scenery! 

#BookRec: Elin Hilderbrand’s The Identicals

Hiya, readers! It’s been a while since my last post – and there’s a good reason for that! I’ve been on vacation – RadioMan and I skipped town for a cruise to celebration our anniversary. We didn’t even take bebe along – she got time with The Grandma’s (my mom came to town and RadioMan’s mom lives in our town), who spoiled her rotten. It was a lovely vacation: we cruised to Labadee, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and St. Kitts. Beautiful, beautiful islands, amazing people, and really, really good food.

Oh, and books! I caught up on reading over the 9 days we were away. I read a Kristan Higgins book that’s been on my TBR for quite a while, an Elin Hilderbrand book, Caitlin Crews was in there, too. And don’t worry – lots of sun was also had! I’ll put up a couple more book recommendations later on, for today’s post, Elin Hilderbrand is up!

The Identicals is a women’s fiction book, focused on estranged twins. What I love about Elin is her voice. She writes (primarily) about Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and other islands around the Cape, and her voice brings those islands to life. I can almost smell the ocean breeze, can feel the sting of the hot sand on my feet, and this book was not a disappointment.

I have to admit, I was rooting more for Harper throughout the book. Mostly because Tabitha was…a little too blam-ey for my liking. I don’t mean she was a bad character (she was really interesting), but she didn’t own any of her choices. Instead, she blamed others (mostly Harper) for the things she didn’t/couldn’t do or was afraid to do. Because of that, she’s in a toxic relationship with both their mother and Tabitha’s daughter..and most of all herself. 

The same can (almost) be said about Harper. She is her own worst enemy, like her sister, not because she blames other people but because she takes too much blame on to herself. Unlike Tabitha, though, Harper owns her choices and decisions…and, yes, they’re usually the wrong choices. Still, she’s a fun heroine to root for. 

If you’re looking for a fun vacation/summer read, consider picking this one up. And if you do, I hope you love it!

#NewRelease & Giveaway: Moonlight Match, Resort to Romance Series

Hi, readers! It’s release day for my book, Moonlight Match, part of the Resort to Romance Series, and I am so excited for it! Last spring my friend, Jill Kemerer, asked me if I would be part of a multi-author continuity – all sweet romances, all set during a matchmaking week at a private island in the Bahamas.

I couldn’t say no once she told me about the resort owners, Goldie and Ginny, and some of the shenanigans she’d already come up with, and I am so glad I decided to take part. Working with these authors has been a privilege and so much fun. And now the best part – the books releasing into the world! – is here! One book from the series releases each week from February 19 through May 7. 

You can pick up my book, Moonlight Match, for only 99¢ but only for a few more days…so head over to Amazon to pick up your copy today!

Welcome to WEEK 4 of the 10 Weeks of Romance Giveaways!
Ten of some of the best authors in the inspirational and sweet romance genres are hosting a 10 Weeks of Romance Giveaway to celebrate their new Resort to Romance series!

Each week beginning Tuesday, February 19th through the week of Tuesday, May 7th, a new book by a new author in the series will release, and you have the chance to win one, some, or the grand prize which includes all ten novellas plus a $150 Amazon gift card!

Here’s how it works: Register at the rafflecopter below. We’ll randomly select a winner each Tuesday. And the great thing about this giveaway is the books build with every author’s new release! That means your entries roll over each week all the way up the grand prize.

This week’s prize is my book, Moonlight Match!

Moonlight Match

Aster Harrington believes in love but love doesn’t seem to believe in her. She’s hoping Goldie and Ginny, the matchmakers who’ve matched on two generations of Harringtons, can work a little love magic for her…

Some call Ethan Talbot rigid, but he prefers to think of himself as prepared. Unfortunately, when he’s matched with Aster Harrington at Joy Island’s Matchmaking Week, all those carefully prepared plans go out the window. He can get back to finding a suitable wife once he’s home in New York. After all, how much damage can one week in the Bahamas do to his plans? 

Buy Moonlight Match for only 99¢ for one week only!

Be sure to stop by Constance Phillips’ blog next Tuesday to see what book is being added to the giveaway. 

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/db67253a6/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”db67253a6″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_ckuhm2z0″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

<script src=”https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js“></script>

Coming Soon: A New Multi-Author Series!

Hey, readers! I have big news to share – some of you might have an idea because I’ve been hinting at it on social media for the past week: I’ve been asked to be part of a new multi-author continuity!

For those of you who don’t know, a continuity is a series of books set in a similar place or within the same family or sometimes even the same town. In our case, this continuity uses the similar setting: all 10 books (yep, 10!) take place during Matchmaking Week at the fictional Joy Island in the Bahamas! How fun is that?

Here’s the 4-1-1 on Matchmaking Week: Joy Island is owned by a set of eccentric twin sisters who are matchmakers (by choice and also by profession). During Matchmaking Week, a slew of couples come together for a week of no cell phones/outside contact and lots of romance! It’s been so much fun to write! My book features opposites Ethan and Aster. Here’s the blurb: 

Moonlight Match

Resort to Romance
Ten delightful—and standalone—novellas linked by one matchmaking week. You’ll want to devour each one! This is Moonlight Match: 

Aster Harrington believes in love but love doesn’t seem to believe in her. She’s tried online dating, set-ups, and even chance encounters at her local coffee place. All she’s gotten in return is a series of men more interested in her last name – or their cell phones – than they are in her. She’s hoping Goldie and Ginny, the matchmakers who put not only her parents but her grandparents together, can work their matchmaking magic for her…

Some call Ethan Talbot rigid, but he prefers to think of himself as prepared. Nothing can prepare him for seeing Aster Harrington again – or finding out she is his match at Matchmaking Week. Aster is the daughter of a hotel magnate who regularly appears in tabloids. Neither of those attributes are on Ethan’s list for the perfect wife. But he finds he can’t simply walk out on Aster – or his well-meaning if slightly dotty cousins, Goldie and Ginny. He can get back to the business of finding a suitable wife once he’s back in New York. How much harm can Aster do to his plans? After all, it’s only for a week… 

Moonlight Match releases March 12, 2019  RESORT TO ROMANCE SERIES

Get ready for ten weeks of romance in the Bahamas with a new series brought to you by some of the best authors in the inspirational and sweet romance genres…
It’s Matchmaking Week at an all-inclusive resort on a private island in the Bahamas. Each guest has been expertly paired and is here to enjoy one full week with their match. While there’s no money-back guarantee on the paid trip, the participants are guaranteed to find love!

You can pre-order now by clicking the Amazon link above; this book will be exclusive to Amazon for the first 3 months. And, mark your calendars for February 19, 2019 when book one, A Meddled Match, hits retailers! 

How to Create a Vision Board for Writing

I love Pinterest. Next to Instagram, its my favorite of the social networks because of all the pretty pictures. If you follow me at all on Pinterest you know I have boards for all kinds of things: favorite quotes, meals that I’ll probably never make, inspiration, and I even have pinboards for each of my books. My book pinboards are filled with nature pics and some quotes and (naturally) the models and actors that I think represent the characters in my books. These pinboards are very much like vision boards for me, and while I create them in the beginning stages of each draft, I add to them throughout the writing and editing and publishing process. These pinboards help me keep my vision of the books fresh while I’m trudging through the middle (middles are HARD for me, people!), and last year as I was setting up my planner I thought: why aren’t I making pinboards for other things? I should do that and so I did.

I made a vision board for 2018 on Pinterest. It was beautiful. Filled with quotes I like, pictures of places I’d like to visit or that inspire me…you get the idea. The problem was that while I filled that board up quickly, I forgot to go and check in on it (which made for a fun surprise this year when I discovered in again…but I digress). I wanted a vision board for my year that would actually work to inspire me – that I could see every day and not forget about. That meant it needed to be a physical board, not a digital one. The big problem with creating a big poster or cork board sized vision board is the size of my office and the fact that it doubles as a guest room.

Page 1 of my planner vision board

I kept thinking and wondered if I could create a vision board that would live in my planner for the year. I use my planner daily, so I wouldn’t lose track of my vision. I could add to it throughout the year because I use the Happy Planner/discbound system, that was a bonus. I played around with that idea and it turns out, I could. And I did. And I am so excited about it!

I wound up putting the vision board in my project planner because that’s what made the most sense. So far I’m really loving it. When I see those images I chose to represent my expectations and hopes and plans for the year, it just makes me happy and inspires me to keep moving forward. So much, that I wanted to share the process with you guys because I think it could help you, too! Here’s what you need: glue, a few blank pages that will fit into your planner, and clippings from various magazines or digitally printed. The images can be words that are inspiring to you, nature images, inspirational/aspirational sayings, and even people that inspire you if you’re so inclined. If you don’t have any magazines laying around, contact your local Goodwill – most have stacks and stacks of magazines that you can buy for $1/bag.

Another planner vision board page

Step One: go through the magazines page by page looking for images, headlines, and even bits of text that make you happy in some way. Cut them out and stack them in piles. I made piles of nature pics, some health/wellness images/words, inspirational words, and even a couple of pics of people (Oprah!) who inspire me. The number of clippings you have will vary, but I think a solid number is probably 20-30 clippings.

Step Two: decide how many “sections” you want for this vision board. I used three sheets of planner paper, and “titled” each page according to what it represented. I have a page for work (writing), a page for home, and a page for health/wellness because those are my top three areas this year.
Step Three: figure out which images you want on what pages and/or, if you’re just doing a single page, which section of the page. I like to have one big image and then I fill in the rest of the area with quotes and pictures that either reinforce what I see in that image or that build upon it.

The “home” page from my vision board

Once you’ve figured out what goes on that page, it’s time for Step Four: start gluing! Rubber cement or glue sticks work well, but I prefer a tape runner (I use a TomBow) because it isn’t as messy but it keeps things in position. For my vision board, I also used washi to tape the pages together so that they fold in on one another. Speaking of, washi would be a great way to stick images to your pages and add a little more color/texture to the overall piece. That’s it. You’ve created a vision for your year that can be tucked into your planner (or put on a cork board if you have one!) that will keep you inspired for the next year.
Do you like vision boards? What would you like to create a vision board for?

January Goals & Planning for 2019

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my planner setup for 2019. Well, it’s 2019 and I know we’re only a day in, but I’m already loving my planner! But, as I was setting it up and my planner was getting thicker and thicker I realized something: I needed just a little separation. 2018 brought about a lot of new things here at Casa Knight: bebe started karate, which leads to several practices each week, RadioMan started a new job that not only includes sportscasting but also running a radio group (and all the meetings, late nights, and ballgames that entails), and I started working part-time outside the home.

Kristina’s “mini”/family and health planner

All of that means our family schedule is packed. It also means that, many times, our family schedule takes up space that I need to have dedicated to my writing…and when I don’t, some of the business parts of my writing can be put off or (gasp!) forgotten. Which is where Separation comes in. I decided to split out my writing from our family planning (although some of the same appointments go in both – because it never hurts to have some things in multiple places). So, I bought my first Happy Planner Mini (this one, an hourly format) that I’m not using hourly but as a workout, food, and water log, along with appointments and family things.

Kristina’s 2019 Planner

Kristina’s Project Planner

My main planner (a BIG sized Happy planner, in the Teacher layout will be my business planner) remains, with sections for writing, social media, planning, refilling the well, you get the idea). And, I created a project planner. This is only a planner in the loosest sense of the word – I’m using parts of a Happy Notes BIG, with sections for different writing projects (those contracted through NY and those that are INDIE), ideas for my blog and social media, and a few non-fiction ideas, too. This is one of the project pages, from my book that is coming out in March. Speaking of plans, it’s the beginning of a new month and that means it’s time for GOALS! Meanwhile, let’s recap December: 

  • Set a daily writing goal on Sunday of each week (Sunday is my planning day); my minimum writing goal will be 1,000 words. – CHECK
  • Finalize a partial/synopsis for my agent. – CHECK
  • Finalize the novella edits and formatting in preparation for the March release (I just saw the cover and I canNOT wait to share with you guys!). – CHECK

Despite the craziness of December, I did meet my three main goals, so I’m super happy about that. Now for January’s goals: 

  • Continue setting daily writing goals on Sunday, with a minimum goal of 1,000 on writing days
  • Begin tracking my food and water intake, along with workouts, in my mini planner. Health is going on the front burner this year because…well, because it needs to. And by health I do mean physical, but I’ll be doing some mental-health things, too. Stay tuned!
  • Start writing my next full length project, with a goal of pitching by the end of January. In addition, continue working on my next contemporary series idea, this one with the goal of pitching mid-February.
  • Begin working on plans for my book releasing in March, including a cover reveal and creating a dedicated page for it here on my website.

If you’ve got a goal (or twelve) for January, feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! 

Kristina’s Hot Chocolate

I adore hot chocolate. Seriously. I’m not big on coffee, and I’m really particular about teas (and actually prefer them iced – I know, I’m a Philistine!) so when I go for a hot beverage more often than not it’s hot chocolate. Which I’m also particular about because there is a difference between hot cocoa (which is fine, but not my favorite) and hot chocolate (which, when made correctly, is divine). Since we’re into the cold months, I thought I’d share my grandmother’s hot chocolate recipe. Here we go!
The ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsp sugar – this is completely optional and is actually an estimate…I actually just use a couple of healthy pinches
  • 2 cups whole milk – 2% milk will work but do not, no matter what you think, go to 1% or skim…I’m begging you
  • 4 oz/1 cup dark chocolate chopped (I use my Ninja Food Prep so the bits are super fine, it makes for a smoother overall drink)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • whipped cream 
  • peppermint stick, candy cane, or puffed peppermints if you’d like a hint of mint

The directions:
First things first, the chocolate needs to be melted so pop it into a microwave safe bowl and blast it in 45 second increments, stirring between each blast, in a microwave until it’s nicely melted. While you’re melting the chocolate, it’s safe to start on the milk. Using a sauce pan over medium heat, warm the vanilla and milk until it’s at the scalding phase – you’ll know it’s at the right heat when it’s 180 degrees…or, if you don’t have a handy thermometer, when there are bubbles around the edge but it isn’t boiling. If you make a mistake and the milk boils, my suggestion is to start over because that will give the drink a grainy texture. Turn the burner to the low setting and begin to add in the melted chocolate, stirring as you do. Once the chocolate and milk are well blended, pour into mugs, top with a bit of whipped cream (the kind from the can, not Cool Whip) and add in the peppermint if you’re in a mint-chocolate mood). Serve.

A couple of notes: This makes about four servings, depending on the size of your mugs, which probably means leftovers. Yay! And, yes, you can keep this for a bit by storing whatever is left in a covered dish/mug in your fridge for up to three days. Reheat over the stove as reheating in the microwave can lead to uneven temperatures and a drink that isn’t as smooth as the original. Also: I do mean use dark chocolate (some call it bittersweet), this recipe won’t be the same (it will still be fine, but not as good in my opinion) if you use either semi-sweet or milk chocolate…if you do use either of those definitely nix the added sugar, as it won’t be needed. I keep chocolate chips on-hand in my house, Nestle’s Dark are my favorite for this recipe. 

There you have it – the perfect (in my opinion) hot chocolate! Do you have a favorite cold weather hot beverage? Feel free to share!

2019 Planner Setup

I love this time of year, from the decorations and the music to the parties and the food. What I love most, though, is that I get to start planning for new adventures, new books, new career plans. It’s scary, but it’s also really invigorating. And, because I’m starting to get things together for 2019, I thought I’d show you guys my planner set up for the new year.

Kristina’s 2019 Planner

First, the basics: what I’m using! I’ve been a fan of The Happy Planner for a few years now. I didn’t think I’d like the disc format at first, because I didn’t realize how sturdy those little discs are. I have yet to lose a page from my planner even though I lug it around everywhere. I also really like the flexibility of it – want to add a page? It’s as simple as using a disc punch, and without pinching your fingers in binder rings. Want all your monthly layouts at the front? Put them all there. Want to divide your year on a quarterly basis (that’s what I do)? It’s as easy as adding in your goal pages and inserting a divider or two. This year, I’m changing one thing about my planner set-up – I’m going with a Teacher Edition from The Happy Planner line.

Why the Teacher Edition? I like the “boxed” format, even though I have to hack it just a little. Here’s what

My weekly, with tasks on the left & days on the top

I’m doing: 

  1. Putting a blank box sticker on the left where Happy Planner puts the Monday-Friday days of the week. Those boxes will now be my time blocks for different projects (literal projects like the contemporary and WF books I’m currently writing) and tasks (like social media, home stuff, bebe’s schedule). Then, I write the Monday-Sunday days of the week at the top of each page. I’m doing this because I like to plan through the weekend. If you don’t, you wouldn’t have to do that hack.
  2. The Teacher Planner runs August-July, not January-December. To fix that, I’m simply putting the July-December monthlies in the back of the planner, where they belong, and I’ll redate them as I need to. Sounds like a lot of work? It really isn’t, especially since I’m already re-dating the weekly pages to be Monday-Sunday. 

Kristina’s Quarterly Goals Page – 1

Kristina’s Quarterly Goals Page – 2

Second, my planner set-up. I mentioned that I plan quarterly. That means I add quarterly goal sheets to my planner in January, April, July, and October. On these pages I list any deadlines I have, both for drafting and editing. I also list weekly and monthly wordcount goals, along with plans for my business as a whole. I’ll also block out vacations, snow days and “add in” time off for things like sick days. My quarterly plans might include goals for backlist promotion, new books, social media/follower goals, goals for this blog and my other social channels. This keeps the “big picture” in one place where I can track how I’m doing.

Kristina’s Monthly Goals Page

I also use Monthly Goal pages. Like the quarterly, the monthly helps me break down my writing goals, my social media/marketing goals, and other tasks that I need to accomplish. I also have a space (you can see it on the left side of the page) where I have three habit trackers – one for writing, one for health (exercise, water intake) and one for “me” time…because self-care is HUGELY important. 

Seems like too much planning? Maybe, but it works for me. What I like about this kind of planning is that it helps me see not only the big picture for the quarter but what I need to accomplish each month (and week, using the weekly pages) to meet those bigger goals. It also helps me be more realistic because it’s already accounting for time off for things like vacation or when bebe is sick (or RadioMan or me, for that matter). If you’d like to give these pages a try, they’re available – and free! – over on my Printables Page. What about you? Do you have a planner system you love or have big plans for the new year? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

1 2 3