How To Make A DIY Planner [Video]

Create A DIY Planner Blog Graphic

For most writers and readers, self-publishing means creating books. But it’s also a great way to make journals, notebooks, and planners. If that seems like a tall order, stick with me. It’s not only easy to get the basics set up, but you can also customize your planner for a variety of cool tasks too!

Why A DIY Planner?

You can easily go online and order a planner. So why would you design your own when someone else has already done the work?

There are a few reasons, but most of these come back to customization

Just like any self-published, print-on-demand project, you’re in control. You build your planner pages to meet your needs exactly. And with this control comes the opportunity for monetization. For example, if you’re between book releases or you don’t have a book ready to release for a few months, you could create a custom planner or notebook. 

The cover might feature a rendering of your most popular character from past books and you could include references to your past stories on each page. 

You’ve just created an additional means of earning money, marketing to your audience, and keeping your readers happy! Seriously, these kinds of items are popular (who doesn’t love notebooks?) and offer easy ways to supplement your income from book sales.

Create Your Own Planner

Whether you want a daily or weekly planner, or a monthly calendar; when you go custom you can do anything! 

The best way to build your planner is to start with some templates. You can find lots of free printables and planner inserts around the web. Simple designs are best because you want to customize them to fit your needs.

Take your template and open it up in a publishing tool like InDesign or Affinity Publisher

Alternatively, you can use Canva’s free resources to design your planner. I just popped over there and made this (very simple) design for a daily planning with a couple of pages for notes and a monthly calendar page.

Ignoring the poor choice of green colors and the month grid being a bit rough, this took me about 10 minutes to put together. Once it’s set up, I can export the pages from Canva as a PDF (like I’ve done) and I’m ready to upload to Lulu for printing!

Lulu’s Grab-And-Go Templates

If you’re not excited about creating your own templates, don’t worry! We’ve taken most of the challenge out of creating planners and notebooks of all kinds with a variety of free templates you can use to get started.

Get Planner Templates

Our notebooks and planners page offers a variety of individual and bundled template options. Download the planner design that’s right for your next project!

Notebook and planner template download image

Customizable Planner Ideas

I love notebooks. I’ve written about this before, but taking notes by hand is one of my favorite things to do. What makes custom planners so cool is that they break all the book-making rules.

If you’re publishing a novel, you’ve got creative freedom in the story, but how you design the book (usually) needs to adhere to industry standards. Planners are different.

With so many free planner templates and the ease with which you can customize them, you’ve got more control and freedom than most book projects afford.

Custom Journals & Planners

Custom notebooks make the perfect gifts,
promotional items, or personal projects!

Custom Journals & Planners

Custom notebooks make the perfect gifts, promotional items, or personal projects!

Lulu University: Notebooks And Planners

Okay, so this video is primarily talking about creating a notebook, but the principles for preparing your interior and cover files remain the same. Be sure to check out our Notebook & Planner page to grab templates for your planner, custom-made by Lulu’s design team!

To help you create, here are a few of my favorite ideas for creating your print-on-demand planner.

Daily Writing Journal

Create a daily planner where you can include your page count goals, notes about the scene you’ll be working on, and motivational quotes. Writing journals takes a lot of forms. A design that focuses on tasks and organizing your work as you might for a day job can be a huge boon for some writers.

I know it helps me stay focused, both in writing blog posts for Lulu and in my own personal writing.

Exercise Planner

One of the more common designs you can create a journal with exercises built in. If you’re a fitness instructor or just passionate about physical health, an exercise planner might be the perfect way to share your routine!

And for the average person (like me) who just needs to stay active; an exercise planner is a perfect way to create personal accountability.

Curriculum Calendar

Not that I want to suggest teachers do any more work than they already do, but the opportunity to facilitate learning with a custom planner is huge. Each student could have a planner in hand, with lesson details and assignments already included. Particularly with digital and distance learning becoming more common, having a clear view of the semester and the assignments is vital.

And since print-on-demand means it’s easy to revise and update, once the curriculum planner is set up, most of the work is done! Each semester the design can be updated, iterated on, and improved.

Diet & Meal Planner

Every week, I sit down with my wife and we put together a meal plan for the week, then a shopping list for groceries. And every week I think to myself, ‘this would make a great little notebook.’

If you’re dieting or on a restricted diet, a planner might even be a necessity. So why not craft one unique to your needs?

Hobby & Skills Tracker

Maybe you just took up a new hobby. Or you’ve decided to learn German. Or the trombone.

Whatever skill or hobby you’ve taken up, you can create a custom tracker, planner, and practice calendar. It’s a great way to stay on top of learning that new skill and to document your growing abilities.

Finding Your Perfect Planner

Books are more than memoirs, textbooks, and novels. Journals and planners are popular and unique ways to take advantage of print-on-demand. Along with the relative ease of creating a custom planner, printable planners offer a terrific opportunity to establish additional revenue streams for your publishing (or other) business.

Paul H, Content Marketing Manager

Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.

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I would like to customize the Book itself , by adding dividers? How would I go about doing that ?

Can you add a pen loop , bookmark ribbon and elastic band?

Is there a maximum timespan that can be put into a planner? I mean like years or whatnot.

I already have a PDF of all the information.

I need a notebook to take notes during my intakes and follow-ups. I want something that matches up with my EHR so i can easily transcribe it into the system.

Hi lulu team. I came across this page when researching custom letter writing stationery. Do you offer the ability to customise letter writing paper? I’m not really looking for a notebook, but since you offer notebooks I thought you may also offer this type of product.

I am trying to understand what paper options are best for using pen on for the interior. The couple of books I’ve printed with Lulu have had a kind of glossy finish on the interior and are not great for pen because they smear. I’m using these for notebooks for my homeschool classroom and smearing is not going to be good! Also, can you clarify what paper options provide the most durable cover?

I don’t see coloring book printing. Is it a option???

Kind regards! Excuse me, I’m creating a notebook with my own content inside, my question is the following:
¿What format or type of printing should I choose to print, since, based on what I have read, printing images is not the same as printing the inside of a basic notebook; so he asked me what would be the correct format could I download the template of a notebook and change the content or what would I have to do in this case?

I have created a planner using Canva, and see here that I need to use your template to format it. Will your templates work with Canva? If not, can I manually adjust the format on my planner to match your template?

I’ve created a custom planner but I don’t want it to be spiral bound. But, I also worry about it laying open (flat) so it’s useable. What type of binding do you recommend?

Hi, I had a question regarding having a weekly planner printed. I have a Front cover design and then I have the interior pages designed for 52 weeks. I separated the weeks by four seasons – so I have 4 different page designs for each season (each one three months- totaling 12 months/ 52 weeks). So I guess what I’m asking is if you can have different page designs printed per planner? Thank you!

How can I uploado my own design for my planner?

How does the paper handle fountain pen inks?

Can a photograph be used for the front cover page and can I place a logo design on the back cover?

I’m super excited to give this a try. I take it as a sign since this was published on my bday. Thanks 😊☺️👍 Lulu is amazing!

This is a really good idea, so I went and did it via Lulu. Thanks for the inspiration!

Thank you

Dear Paul,

I apologize for my persistence, but with regards to your last comment “If you included the correct email in your support case, we should be able to connect with you!” I just want to make sure it’s understood that with regards to my two emails, it’s my ‘Hotmail’ email address that is not receiving any messages from lulu, and that if any one at lulu is trying to contact me, they have to email my ‘Outlook’ email address.

I’m really sorry, but I really just really want to access my old account, which I am unable to because either lulu hasn’t sent anything through, or because my ‘Hotmail’ account isn’t receiving any of their emails.


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