• Michelle Leigh Miller

The Customized Planner Fiasco

Updated: Jan 5

On this week’s episode of the situations I get myself into, I introduce the customized planner.

But first, let me rewind to last week, when I was trying to format my novel in Word. On a scale of one to ten of mind-numbing and painful experiences, formatting a 65,000-word document into a novel in Word is a solid twenty. (Granted, I’m still learning and there are probably tricks to make it easier, but as it stands right now, solid TWENTY.)

As I researched different aspects of novel formatting on the web, I stumbled across a tutorial about using InDesign to format novels. Five minutes into said tutorial, I downloaded the app that has been sitting unused in my creative cloud and formatted the aforementioned novel in just a few hours.

And all of that brought me to the bright idea of creating my own planner. You see, it was time for a new planner, and I was lazily scrolling through planners on Amazon when inspiration struck. I’ve learned over the last year, planners help keep me productive—especially ones with hourly schedules. My brain has a tendency to skip through the fields of my imagination at any given moment, so the hourly schedule helps keep me on track. Not to mention, I have a lot of balls I’m juggling at the moment—work, author career, two side hustles, family, everyday personal stuff—all vying for my attention.

And I’ve yet to find a planner that completely works for me. So, my brain, as it has a tendency to do, got very excited about the possibility of using what I learned formatting my novel to create my own planner pages. A planner just for me, that fits what I need, without all the bells and whistles. Just simple and to the point.

So, I sat down and started the process. And it was as easy as I had hoped. Before long, I had my planner pages all ready to go. I needed a binder and a hole punch. Made that trip and opted for a cheap binder for now, just to be sure I use it the way I think I’m going to use it, before buying a permanent, nicer binder.

This morning, the plan was to finish it up, print out the pages, put them in the binder, then begin filling it out.

That was the plan.

That is not how this morning went.

Binder and ruler in hand, I created the hole punches on my planner pages, exported to PDF, and printed a few pages in booklet format.

The hole punches were in the wrong place.

No problem. I did have to use math after all.

I double check. It looks right. I print again. Nope. I double check. It dawns on me I had measured upside down. Fix that. Adjust. I should be good now!

Hit print.


Lots of bad words.

Take a breath. Stare at it. Then realize the margins are wrong. Do some research and realize Adobe Acrobat is doing an automatic 1 inch margin all the way around. More research. Can’t find a way to change it.

Cuss more.

Try to print from InDesign. Try every setting. Nope. Research. Try other things. Still no. Find that I actually have two printer drivers. (Why? I don’t know, nor at this point, do I care.) Find settings. Change. Print. One step closer, but still no!

More bad words and coffee. Consider giving up, but at this point, I am going to figure it out or die trying.

Finally find a way to print them so the hole punches are in the right place, but there are a few pages that aren’t going to print in the order I designed them.

By this time, it is nearly 3 p.m. I started the printing process at 10 a.m. I am hangry, tired of sitting at my computer, have done nothing else I planned to do today, and still don’t have a planner.

So, I print. I cut. I hole punch. I put in the binder. I make myself ignore the few pages that aren’t right. It will do. I stare at my planner with loathing, but it’s done.

And that is how I’ve spent my Sunday on this third day of January. All because I had a bright idea.

(Update: I printed this to read over and it came out tiny and on two sides. Argghhh!)

(Update Update: Yay for two printer drivers!)

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