2019 Goal Planning Tools for Writers by Vanessa Kier

Let’s welcome back monthly columnist, Vanessa Kier as she shares with us “ 2019 Goal Planning Tools for Writers” Enjoy! 

Happy New Year!

’Tis the season of resolutions and yearly goals. Are you a goal-setter? Or a wannabe goal-setter? Some years I research planning systems, invest in the one that seems to best match my needs, and dive in to set my goals. I know that the best way to succeed is to set achievable, relevant goals and to review them regularly, but once my life starts getting complicated, checking in with my goals falls to the bottom of my to-do list.

This year, I’m vowing to do better. I want to work smarter, meaning that I want to stay laser-focused on my most important writing and publishing goals instead of getting distracted by the latest shiny new idea. Since I’ve never tried a goal setting and planning system aimed specifically at writers, I want to see if one of those will help me stay on target. Here are the planners that are currently on my radar:


If you only want to track your writing and revision goals, check out Jamie Raintree’s 2019 Writing & Revision Tracker spreadsheet.  It’s set up to allow a writer to track up to ten projects in a year. I like that you can set revision goals based on the number of pages you revise. You can view your progress in a graph and also see the percent complete for each goal. Head over to YouTube to watch her explain how to use the spreadsheet.



The Pathforgers Publishing Indie Author Book Launch Management Software
is a comprehensive project management spreadsheet modeled on a Gantt chart. (That means that some task views have tasks represented by horizontal bars.) Despite having “Indie” in the title, I think this spreadsheet can be used by any author, not just an indie author. There’s a section for your yearly tasks overview, a place to track tasks related to your book releases including the writing, and another spot to track promotions. It’s more of a time and overall task management spreadsheet, so it doesn’t have the detailed writing and revision tracking that Jamie Raintree’s system has. Pathforgers also has a YouTube video explaining the process.


If you prefer a physical workbook, check out Audrey Hughey’s Ultimate Authorship Planner. This planner helps you keep track of your word counts, your publishing schedule, and also gives you a place to track your writing expenses. There’s a perfect bound (solid spine) version on Amazon.  If you prefer coil spines, there’s a slightly more expensive version available on Lulu. Or you can get her free PDF weekly planner for tracking your goals for writing, editing, and visibility, along with your health goals such as the amount of exercise you want to get and how much water you intend to drink, by going to the Self-Publishing Show podcast page for episode 153.


Sarra Cannon’s free downloadable PDF writing schedule is the only planner I’ve seen that has you sit down and figure out how much time your life activities take up before you start planning your writing schedule. You first block out times when you don’t plan to write, such as holidays, birthdays, or vacations and move on from there. This PDF is more text-based as Sarra guides you through the various planning sections with explanations and things to consider. It’s like having your own personal goal setting coach. She also has a YouTube video.


These four planning systems are only a small sample of what’s available. I suspect that I might want to use a combination of planners. I can see myself maybe using Sarra’s guide to give me a big picture of my schedule, then maybe the two spreadsheets to track and schedule all of the tasks involved in writing, editing, and publishing my books.

Do you have a favorite writing goals planner? If yes, please let me know in the comments below.



Vanessa Kier, Author, Tech teacher for writersTEACHER/TECH SPECIALIST FOR WRITERS/NOVELIST

Vanessa Kier combined her love of teaching and her fascination with technology to form The Writer’s Tech Stop, where writers can get coaching, classes, and services related to Scrivener and other writer-related tech. She also writes action-packed romantic thrillers with an edge. When not working, she likes to take long hikes in the local hills, play puzzle games on her mobile device, and read.

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