Posted by: nancyisanders | July 26, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Topics Included


In the center of the photo is my first writer’s journal I kept while working on Jane Austen for Kids.

As I work on my writer’s journal, the topics I include in each journal vary with each different project. I thought I’d share a little bit about the topics I included in this particular writer’s journal, because it includes the same I generally put into most of my book project journals.

I often include a timeline and leave several blank pages for this to fill in. This is a timeline of the progress I’m making on my book. Such as when I got the idea. When I submitted it to my critique group. When I finished my first draft. When I submitted it to the publisher. When the publisher accepted it. Etc. It’s just kind of fun to go back and look at the time it took to go through various stages. Plus, it gives me great content to share on my website or when teaching a video class or when speaking at a conference or retreat.

(Or first line and last line) or start and finish. I like to bring my ending round to my beginning, so sometimes I include a page in my journal to keep track of ideas for how I will do this.

I jot down ideas I’m thinking about including in a proposal if I’m writing a proposal to either pitch the idea and land the contract or pitch the finished book.

Lots of brainstorming goes into a working title for a project, and this is the section I jot down some of my favorites.

When I pitch an idea to a publisher to land a contract to write a book (Like I did for this one) or if I am submitting a finished manuscript to a publisher, I usually include a market analysis. This is a comparison to several competing titles to show the editors how my book fits in. This is where I jot down notes.

Usually when I travel to do research or take photographs for my book, I create a brand new writer’s journal just for that trip. But sometimes I keep general ideas for planning the trip in my main journal. Like in here.

While I’m writing a book manuscript, I’m always thinking about what I can put on a website to help market it after it’s published. Many of my books have their own website, too. This is the place I jot down ideas of content I want to add when I come across it so that after the book is published, I’ll be sure to check back here to see if I added in everything I wanted to.

Some of my books have teacher’s guides. I write some and for some the publisher has them written. Here is where I keep a list of potential ideas. Right now I’m still working on the teacher’s guide for Jane Austen, using ideas from this journal.

This is where I keep my master list of big and little tasks I want to remember to complete as I’m working on the project. It keeps these all in one handy place, which is essential for really big projects like this one.

While I’m working on a manuscript, I’ll often get ideas to help market the book after it’s publisher. I keep these listed in here.


  1. What a great post!! Brilliant to keep a book proposal list

  2. These are great ideas and categories, Nancy. Thanks!

  3. So much great information! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: