My Writers Bullet Journal
I discovered bullet journals back in September 2016. So, of course, when it was getting close to November and I was beginning to plan for what I would write for NaNoWriMo, I decided to make a bullet journal just for my writing.
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I wasn’t sure I needed anything as fancy as the typical Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, and I was all about using what I already had on hand. A trip to the basement to see what was in the file drawer full of school supplies left over from all those bargains found during back-to-school sales was in order. I found a stack of wide-ruled Composition Notebooks, so I grabbed the boring black and white version and decided right away that it needed to be made uniquely mine. This meant it needed more color. So, I got all of the Sharpies and similar markers I could find around the house and began coloring all the little white parts in with various bright colors. Once I had written the title on the front and colored all the little white marble sections in with color, I used clear packing tape to “laminate” the cover and protect it from smearing. See how that turned out below. After a couple of weeks, I noticed the back was getting a bit beggared up, so I colored it with green, blue and purple Marks-A-Lot markers in a bulls-eye pattern of circles and cover that side with tape also.
In true bullet journal fashion, I created an index. Mostly this notebook is full of prep pages for NaNo and notes I’ve taken when reading writing craft books. I also used this notebook to take notes at writing classes and workshops I was taking. There are inspiring quotes and the occasional writing goal sprinkled in here and there too. Just like with any other bullet journal, I just started on the next empty page and wrote the notes until I was finished with either the book or the class. Every month, I make a new word count tracker. I also decided that I wanted to track where and with whom I was actually getting words written. So, I numbered the page along the left margin from one to thirty. On any day that I actually wrote words I record the details of who and where in my monthly tracker. For more info on writing as a group sport, see Writing with Others.
As you can see from the back of the first index page, the Sharpies and Bic permanent markers were not the best choice for the thin paper in the notebook. I should have used the last page in the notebook to test the pens and markers to keep from ruining the pages with marker that bleeds through so much. To be honest, I didn’t really care because I doubt I paid more than fifty cents for this notebook. I also figured this was my first try at a writers bullet journal so this was like a trial run to see what worked and what didn’t.
Obviously, in November I write more than any other month all year because of NaNoWriMo. The word count trackers after November are not especially impressive once you see how much I wrote for NaNo, but to me, they are especially great because they mean that I am actually succeeding at a goal I set for myself way back in November 2013 while doing my first NaNo event. That goal was to become a year-round writer. If you look at my early blog posts, you can see I wrote occasionally outside of November but not often and not consistently. So all of this is to say that I have been much better this year about writing blog posts regularly and that is due at least in part to my writers bullet journal and wanting to have something to record in it so I wouldn’t feel like a failure.
Now, lest you judge my April word count too harshly, just know that I did participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, but my goal was 20 hours of editing on the novel I wrote in November 2016. So the words I did write were blog posts written in addition to that goal and the fact that I was on vacation for 10 days at the end of the month. While in the past I have tracked editing time using the 1 hour = 1,000 words formula that is standard in NaNo, I decided to track editing separate from word counts this year so I can get a realistic idea of how many words I typically write in a calendar year.
So, do you have a bullet journal for a specific craft or hobby you do? Would you be so kind as to leave a comment telling us about it in the comments, please? Do you have a special writers notebook? What do you write in it? I know we would all love to know, so tell us all about it in your comment below.