What I did when my life and writing got out of control…

I know I’ve mentioned that when I started writing, I lived in Siberia. I had four kids, I was teaching ESL, going to the market every day and carrying home our food in a backpack, washing cloth diapers by hand (yes) and trying to learn another language. My plate was pretty full.

But I had this dream, see, the one that kept me sane late at night when Hubs was away, when the kids were in bed. I wanted to be a novelist. I didn’t know how it would happen, I just followed the nudge. Followed what brought me joy. Followed my talents and skills and passions to see where they would lead.

Nearly twenty years later, I’m a full-time novelist, written over 60 books, and run an academy for novelists. And I’m a wife, mom, grandma and I try to be a participating, good servant in my world. But it can be overwhelming, I admit it. (She says after feeding people for a week of Christmas festivities.)

For years, I struggled to find the right planner—one built for the creative mind, the spiritual person, an entrepreneur and writer and a busy get-it-all-done woman. I usually ended up with four planners—a journal for my inner life, a wall calendar for the family activities, a business planner for my marketing and speaking events and a writing journal where I could capture my brainstorming. I had to lug them all around in a big bag.

This year, I thought…I’ll simplify. (And, I’ll go to the chiropractor less!) I wanted a place for meditation and prayer, a place for my goals, a place for my daily logs, and a place to keep all my habits and daily tasks.

After all, this is the story of my life.

Working with a talented artist who understood the needs of a creator, I sat down and created a planner for a creative, busy writer. I synthesized the organization of a seasoned CEO, the motivation, and self-analysis of a life and business coach, the daily habits of a wife and mother, and the brainstorming techniques of a career novelist. Organizing them into logical (and pretty!) logs, I put together what I consider the perfect planner for a career novelist/authorpreneur/creative. Someone who wants their whole life in one, well, big book. One fabulous place to keep track of everything.

And, the really cool part is that this feels like a book, with the interior and cover set up like a novel. Because it’s the story of your life.

I’m so excited to introduce The My Book Therapy Dream Keeper & Planner 2018. Classy, Pretty, Motivational—the place to create your vision, stay motivated, ignite your writing, improve productivity, live with joy and get it all done.

  • Jumpstart your Year with analysis and planning to discover the most lucrative and joy-driven projects, a place for reflecting, dreaming big and following your passions.
  • Plan for Success with the Brainstorming and Project Boards to hone your ideas and create actionable projects. Quarterly and 90-day task sheets help you break them into energizing and goal-crushing tasks.
  • Make it Happen with the Month-at-a-Glance and weekly planners. You’ll see your projects take form.
  • Put Action to your Task List with the Daily Logs, a week-at-a-glance planner that incorporates not only your big projects but daily habits, menus and exercise/life activities.
  • Stay Motivated with the daily inspiration section and motivational quotes in the back.
  • Analyze and plan for the next amazing month with the month-end analysis.
  • Finish your year with a review and a plan for the next.

You’ll be amazed at the brilliant year you had.

And, don’t forget the BONUS STORYCRAFTING Section in the back. Brainstorming and plotting sheets for three books, including an indie-book project sheet to track your deadlines and finances!

This is more than a planner, it’s a keeper of your dreams. Because your story—the one you live and the one you create—matters.

8.5×11, matte cover, paperback. 490 pages (yes, it’s big, but so is your life.)

Some snapshots!

I’m not sure where you are in your journey, but if you’re a creative, a business person and a person who wants to incorporate their spiritual journey with the rest of their life, then this planner will help you keep it all in one amazing place. Get your copy today (and then attend my FREE webinar next Thursday on how to follow your joy and create your brilliant 2018 plan!)

Most importantly, it’ll help me keep all those deadlines for the brilliant (hopefully!) books I plan to write in 2018!

Your Story Matters!

Make it brilliant in 2018!

P.S.  If you’d like a PDF copy that is downloadable and printable, find it here!


Writing Cheat Sheets by Donna K. Rice


My husband and I run a law firm. One practice we’ve implemented is to have well thought out systems in place for our business. Checklists and consistent procedures make our practice much more successful than most two-lawyer firms. As I learn about professional writing, I’m applying these same concepts to my writing practices.

Here’s what I mean. As I’ve worked to improve my writing craft, I’ve learned about plotting and essential scenes and character development, among other things. When I sit down at my computer it can be overwhelming to remember everything, however. Flipping through workbooks or going back to blog posts takes time and interrupts the writing flow. So, over the last couple of years, I’ve made myself some cheat sheets.

My cheat sheets aren’t exactly checklists like we use in the firm, but rather bits of information that I find helpful on specific writing topics. Like what the first chapter needs to include, or what the big picture looks like in plotting, or the nine areas that help me develop a character. I may make a computer diagram with the info I find helpful or I may simply type up a bullet pointed list with short bits of explanation. I include whatever helps me focus and write more efficiently.

As I distil information on a specific topic, I limit it to one page only. Rarely, I will use the front and back of one page. I never use more than one page for any topic. My goal with my cheat sheet is to trigger recall about writing structure and story development, not recreate teaching materials I’ve accumulated. Once I’ve boiled information down to what works for me, I print and laminate several copies. I keep some on my desk at home and at my office. I also have a set I can take when traveling if I’m working on a project away from home.

The key to such tools being helpful is to learn the craft well and only use these cheat sheets as prompts and memory joggers. I’ve created less than ten such writing helps for myself. I’m traveling as I write this post and chose three particular sheets to jog my memory as I worked on plotting and starting a new book while away from home. Could I have done my work without them? Probably. But by having them with me, I had a few of those, “Oh, yes I need to include this,” moments. My plotting and drafting efforts were, therefore, more complete. I’ll save time later when I’m reviewing and editing.

For me, writing cheat sheets have been a great help. We are all busy and trying to do three things at once these days. Any tool we can create that makes the writing process easier makes sense and allows for more joy in the doing of our work. What kind of cheat sheet might help you in your writing efforts?


Donna is represented by Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. She’s a licensed minister, conference speaker, and estate planning attorney. She also works with GenderSave, a nonprofit seeking to empower women and girls at risk from gendercide practices in India. Contact Donna at donnakrice.com.

Permission to Kiss by Donna K. Rice

Sometimes our characters need permission to move forward in their relationship so we nudge them along with a kiss. I needed some nudging at the beginning of 2015. But the other kind of kissing met my needs better than the romantic on page character kiss. You know, the ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ kind of kissing?

With the advent of smart phones and tablets I’ve been tempted to try apps, calendar here, write to do lists there, learn Scrivener and Evernote, and then try and sync my life through my devices. Sometimes it’s worked and sometime it hasn’t. The consistent result for me?


Frustration interferes with my ability to write well. Getting lost in the minutia and not getting enough good write time keeps me from getting projects done. So, frustration finally drove me to the kiss I needed.


I am back to a small paper calendar where I can write notes, keep my lists and track my writing tasks and progress with paper, pen or pencil. With or without Wi-Fi, I might add. I’m going to content myself with Word for now and not try to drop an ongoing project into a new program. I’m not giving up on ever adding the electronics or new programs, nor am I declaring myself a pen and paper purist. For now, I’m adjusting so the writing gets done. It’s my desire to be a productive writer and I am clearing the clutter I’ve put in my mind and on my desk. So I can write.

Are you struggling with similar issues hindering your writing progress? Here’s my suggestion. Look back to times in your life when you were productive in a way that worked well for you. What made your days hum? Did you have a code system for your projects and calendar? Did a certain style of paper planner or calendar work best for tracking projects? Pull out some of those old skills and tools and give them another try. New isn’t always best. It’s just new. Sometimes old methods get the job done with less hassle.

Just as you give your characters permission to kiss to set them on the path toward true love, give yourself permission to simplify your writing process. At the end of the day, how we accomplish our writing goals isn’t nearly as important as getting the work done.


Donna K. Rice writes women’s fiction and is represented by Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. She’s a licensed minister, conference speaker, and estate planning attorney. She also works with GenderSave, a nonprofit seeking to empower women and girls at risk from gendercide practices in India. Contact Donna at donnakrice.com.