Monday, July 22, 2019

In Praise of Paper Planners

A post by Mary Fan
Most folks who know me have noticed a significant uptick in the number of hobbies I've gotten written before on just why I find purely-for-fun activities that I aspire to be mediocre at so rewarding.

In a nutshell, it's because with all the pressures of writing and publishing and day job-ing, I find relief in getting to just play around for a change.
involved with over the past year or so. I've

It started a few years ago with choir...

... and then last year it really took off when I decided, pretty much around the same time, to resume kickboxing (which I'd done a few years back but dropped for... more writing time, I guess? laziness?)...

... while simultaneously taking up aerial silks (say what now?).

And then choir let out for the summer, so I decided to use that time for flying trapeze classes, which I quickly became addicted to (who'd've thunk).

Meanwhile, I'm also an active member of my local writers group, in which I co-moderate the full-novel critique track and give the occasional workshop. Plus, you know, having to visit my family and hang out with friends every now and then. Oh, and traveling for conventions or vacations... basically, I've totally overscheduled myself. But it's okay -- it's all fun stuff.

Problem is, I have Swiss-cheese memory. Can't remember a dang thing on my own. It was really after I started publishing and doing writer-type events (conventions, events with my local writers group, etc.) that my schedule got really whack. At first, I tried doing it the modern way -- that is, entering things into my iPhone's calendar. I mean, I carry that thing around with me everywhere anyway, and this is how us Millennials are supposed to do it, right?

Except I hated that stupid app. I hated how when it showed me a month, it only indicated with a frickin unhelpful dot that something was up on any given day -- not what. I hated that it somehow synced with Facebook and added the birthdays of all my rando Facebook friends (most of whom I barely know anymore... Facebook is basically a phone book to me), so I couldn't tell if I ACTUALLY had something to do, or if it was the birthday of that random friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-someone-I-met-once-at-Freshmen-orientation. I hated how annoying it was to add an event -- typing things out on that stupid keyboard, fighting autocorrect, scrolling around for dates and times... ARGH.

So a few years ago, I switched to a wall calendar. It was also because I just liked the idea of having a wall calendar (and it was Star Wars-themed). That worked nicely. I could quickly jot down "JCW 1PM-3PM" to indicate that I had a critique session with the Jersey City Writers... much faster than typing all that into the stupid, stupid app. It also made it a lot easier to visualize any given month, particularly when I had multi-day events. I even started entering writing deadlines so I could plan my writing schedule around all my other things.

For about 3 years, this worked nicely. There was just one issue: if I was out and about and someone asked if I was available for a thing, I'd always have to say "let me check my calendar when I get home." So last year, I switched to a planner. And it's been AWESOME.

I can't tell you how much easier it is to just track everything in one place, and then take that place with me everywhere. Also, something about the physical action of writing things down actually helps me remember it better.

Maybe someday I'll give that annoying app another shot. But for now, I'll be jotting things down old-school.

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