Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Character Study: Planners

 Yesterday, I wrote about my relationship with planners, and not for the first time (by a long shot). That made finding a relevant Way Back Wednesday post pretty easy. And, indeed, today I checked my FYS students' planners, making this post featuring planners, my students, and my characters the perfect choice.

Last week, I revisited my characters' desks. One of my friends, who's also one of my favorite readers, suggested that I go one further and write about my characters' planners. This was not surprising since she and I have a shared love of planners.

Then today, in my First Year Seminar, I did a planner check. Each year, I require my freshmen to have a planner. It can be plain or fancy, techie or old school, cheap or expensive. After walking up and down the aisles, checking out their various choices, I felt very motivated to write about planners. Even better, I got a few ideas for what my characters might use.

Angel is easy. As my friend and fellow Jersey girl Barb predicted, "Angel has the fancy planner with gold spirals and scripty font." She sure does. The cover is floral, and there might even be some flowers on the pages inside. It's a full-size planner -- 8 1/2 x 11 -- with a silky bookmark so she can leave it closed (so the pretty cover is showing) but still easily access the current week. She prefers the week-at-a-glance page.

Marita tossed a freebie month-by-month calendar from the bank into her purse, but she lives by the kitchen calendar. She used to use a white board, but she'd be a week into the new month before she changed the dates, so she went back to a paper calendar. All of her appointments as well as Charli's are on that calendar. That calendar in her purse? A way to jot down dates until she gets home and puts them on the kitchen calendar.

Bets has a sleek red leather calendar -- this year. She made a New Year's resolution to use a planner more regularly, so she thought that if she splurged on a really nice one, that might actually happen. It didn't. She sometimes uses the calendar on her phone, but usually emails herself appointment dates, which she then jots down on a notepad in the kitchen.

Charli has a school-issued calendar that she's actually pretty good about using. She wants to do well in school and so she keeps careful track of due dates for major assignments. Social events go on the kitchen calendar because she usually needs her mom for transportation. Her assignment due dates don't make it onto the kitchen calendar. As long as she keeps her grades up -- which she worries about more than her mom does -- her mom doesn't nag her about her school work.

Kelsey, a protagonist in an upcoming novel unrelated to Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance, is a professional organizer. She, like Bets, has a high end calendar, only hers is spiral-bound because she uses it a lot and she likes being able to open it up and fold the pages over, something she'd never do to an expensive leather planner. Her husband, Jake, tried to convince her to go electronic; his school swears by a shared online calendar and he thought they might do well to try that at home but, when it comes to time management, Kelsey is old school. She never buys a planner without built-in tabs for the months, and often creates tabs of her own as well.

As for me, my planners are ever-evolving. I have one for school (work) and one for home/family. I also have a few others that have morphed beyond the calendar function to become planning tools for writing and other projects.

What does your planner look like? And, if you know my characters, what do you think is the most interesting thing inside their planners?

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