Something I keep handy while writing my first draft - something I can't believe I've forgotten to mention - is a blank calendar. This is something I decided to do after my editor pointed out some serious continuity issues with Me, Just Different. And it's so easy to keep a blank calendar that I continue to be embarrassed about how long I wrote without one.
The one I have is completely blank so I can fill it out as desired. I like having it on paper (as opposed to on the computer) because I like pinning it on my bulletin board. This is the template I use. You can also create custom calendars here at TimeandDate.com, or here. Here's a picture of mine all filled out:
As you can see, I'm pretty basic about the info I include. The calendar is just for you, so there's no need to get fancy with it.
Since I write contemporary fiction, the year I choose doesn't really matter. I never specify what year it is because I don't want to "date" my story. I usually just use whatever year we're really in. The only time that gets tricky is when Valentine's Day or some other holiday falls on a weekend when it would be better for me if it were a weekday.
I'd love to hear how you guys keep track of dates when writing. Especially if you're a historical writer, where you're balancing real-life events as well as story events.
Next week we're going to be talking about scenes - writing scenes, what makes a good scene, etc. We're also going to talk (either next week or the week after) about the different genres and manuscript lengths. As always, if you have a question or topic you'd like to see covered, shoot me an email.
Have a great weekend everyone!