Bullet Journaling for Writers: Inside my Craft Companion


The bullet journal system has gained so much traction in the last couple years and it has been a fun ride to watch it. I won't go into the basics of the system, if you want more information, please go to the original website for more information!

I love using my bullet Journal to track my writing, my life, my lists, and my interests. I'd love to share with my new set up as I move into September!

But first, an epic back story…

*🎶epic music playing, a la Lord of the Rings🎶*

I was first introduced to this system at the end of 2014. I used it for a school planner and kinda didn't get it.

I tried to use it more like a planner and set it up for the whole year, or until it was full, rather than making a page every day and migrating. I didn't use the future log very effectively and didn't really figure it out that go around. I stopped using it for about a year after that.

I started using it again back in June of last year and got into the Planner Community. Once I saw how everyone was using it; for blogging and their business, using the flexibility of the system to their advantage, using it for creative journaling, it clicked.

My next bullet Journal, I played with the system. I lurked in the community and just tried the system out in that book. I loved it and started to use it to track my writing.

I started to use it for more, even using it to help me get through NaNoWriMo last year, following Kara from BoHo Berry, even though it was my fourth year in a row doing NaNo.

This last planner, I began tracking word count progress more heavily and using it to start a couple businesses and starting my blog.

But now, it's time to go heavy hitter. It's time… for the Purple Leuchtturm1917.

My Latest Journal and How it's Set Up for Writing

Now, keep in mind that this is NOT going to be my only post on this. If you're looking at this later, be sure to keep up with the rest of my planning experience, because it's always changing. That's the beauty of this system! It's VERY flexible.

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I love that it's purple! I have many favorite colors and usually stick to a fairly monochromatic pallet; wearing mostly black and gray. However, purple is an exception.

The sticker is from the NaNoWriMo store and I bought a pack my first year of participating. They are not available anymore, but the merch store is still filled with great swag!

A great way to support them is to buy merchandise or just contribute to their global fund. Please, if you participate in NaNo, consider donating. They do great things like workshops for kids and it keeps the staff employed and able to reach out to so many people!

The pens I will link below. Full transparency , I DO get a commission if I send you to Amazon through my site and you purchase these items in that shopping session. It won't cost you ANY extra money, Amazon is just saying "thank you" to me for getting you to their site. If this puts you off, you don't have to buy ANYTHING. But it does help support my family, and you know you were probably gonna search on Amazon for this stuff anyway, so I appreciate any purchase you make and you have my thanks from the bottom of my heart!

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Obviously, I have a key in the front. As everyone does. My Key doesn't differ greatly from anyone else's, I like the original!

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The Leuchtturm1917 has pre-printed index pages! Which I LOVE. I was Moleskine girl HARD CORE until I found the Leuchterm 1917

While I still ADORE Moleskine and I will probably use them for manyother things, my main Bullet Journal will continue to be Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Journal [Purple] for the time being.

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I have NO IDEA what to put here. Maybe it'll be my "Shut Up and Write" print. Maybe it'll be something else. What do YOU think it should be? Let me know in the comments!

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I've been struggling to fill this out. My goals for this year are so scattered and I need to streamline them and put them into an actionable plan. I'm sick and tired of thinking about these things and NOT doing them because I feel overwhelmed by the steps. Things like this blog. And my books. And starting a business.

When I get this done, I will TOTALLY post an update on this post and I will post on INSTAGRAM! So make sure you are following me there to keep up to date.

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Future planning is the backbone of the Bullet Journal System. It allows the analog book to act more like a computer, along with the index. I usually have to plan about 8 months in advance. That is just me. This is, of course, a very flexible system and there are many people who do this differently from me.

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This is my BRAIN. These are meta goals and minor goals all slapped onto a spread that keeps me SANE. These get merged into monthly, and daily spreads. I need to break a couple of them down into action collections, but most are fairly self-explanatory.

I regret having to cover most of it up, but there are quite a few spoilers. Not just for my books, but also for a couple Blog posts in future! So stay tuned!

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This is a spread that I originally saw on Page Flutter's blog. She got it from The Writers Journey, which is sitting in my Amazon cart. I need to buy it, but I stole this from her secondary source. So DON'T treat me like a tertiary source!

But this is just a reference sheet. It helps me hit certain beats in my drafting and redrafting process. Most of writing is rewriting!

But these beats are part of Meta-narrative and mostly universal. You can pull it apart and rearrange it. However, it will stay mostly unchanged and easily recognizable.

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Again, I stole this from Page Flutter. But I wanted it because, again, it keeps me on track for drafting and redrafting. These are more meta narrative beats that can be pulled it and rearranged.

As she explains the top is, once again, from The Writers Journey

The print out can be found here, Ingrid Sunderberg is the genius behind that. It's so very, very helpful!

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This is can be found here. Again, I used this from Megan at Page Flutter, but it's such a valuable piece of writing theory that I decided it needed to stay. Go check out the original source and her blog post on her Writers journal for more inspiration!

Basically it breaks down fiction into 7 key elements:
1. Character
2. Theme
3. Plot
4. Point of View
5. Setting
6. Conflict
7. Tone
This can be really helpful during your redrafting and editing process. It will help you find plot holes and places where you may be lacking. It can even help you in crafting some side quests for your characters.

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IMG_4894 This has two different sources. They break down the characters into three Types with four subtypes.

The Ego Types

  1. The Innocent
  2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
  3. The Hero
  4. The Caregiver

The Soul Types

  1. The Explorer 2.
  2. The Rebel 3.
  3. The Lover 4.
  4. The Creator

The Self Types

  1. The Jester
  2. The Sage
  3. The Magician
  4. The Ruler

This is for character development. Many of the archetypes here are used for specific roles in a story. It doesn't make sense for an Innocent to l become a Rebel without a very specific character arc. So, the progression must occur. You can't have them just switching roles mid story! So, we use these archetypes, with more nuanced and more developed sub-structures, to create dynamic characters and stories.

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This is a LOVELY spread for this equation! And it's a great reminder to plug in all these elements.

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I got this idea from over at BohoBerry ! This allows me to create better and better characters. People are complicated and it can be difficult to construct a complex character if you don't know much about psychology. The Myers's Briggs test and classification is NOT perfect, no personality test is. But it can still help you explore more parts of who you are and what makes you tick. When it comes to characters, making sure they behave the way a human behaves is very important. Studying who people are is an important part of being an author. These descriptions and classifications I got from 16personalities.com, where I took the exam for myself.

I am an INTP (Introverted, intuitive, thinking, prospecting). A big part of who I am is my innovative spirit with an endless hunger for knowledge.

The good thing about this resource is that it also breaks them down into 4 groups.

  1. Sentinels
  2. Explorers
  3. Analysts
  4. Diplomats

This looks very similar to how the character archetypes are broken down! This makes both spreads very valuable when used in tandem for putting together detailed characters.

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This spread is a work in progress. I have to go back and listen to Season 11 of before this spread is done.

Basically, as they say in the wonderful podcast, each genre is supposed to make the reader feel something different. This makes the reader feel fulfilled in certain areas and will help the reader identify for closely with your book.

I encourage you to go and listen to that season if you haven't already. It's so valuable.

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This is my metadata labels for Scrivener, for when I go back through my writing digitally. I will put this into more detail on another post later. And I got the inspiration from The Digital Researcher. This is already a lengthy post, so I won't go into detail. I'll explain that process at a later date.

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The next page is TOP SECRET! Because it's going to be my free printable spread when I get hay digitized. I'm working really hard on that, so sign up for my email list and you will receive it in your inbox as soon as it's ready! Don't wait! It's, of course, FREE!

Then, I have a small Character Catalog for the book, in which I'm in the first draft stages. Not all of them are filled out, as I'm still fleshing these people out, and figure out who they are as I write.

I'll make a post very soon about my personal writing process. Maybe it will help some of you find your mojo!

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This is how I "outline", even as so pantser. It's an idea I took from Wesley Chu and his writing process. It's very vague, and just the events I have to hit as I'm going along. What happens in between those are completely organic, and written in the true pantser style.

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This is one of the BEST pieces of literary theory that has EVER been put to paper. If you haven't read this by Orson Scott Card; PLEASE. Just READ IT!

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This is.. yeah. Anal. I realize. But it's pretty and makes me feel good when I make progress.

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Each cell is a chapter or scene and has a line of five dots next to it. Those dots get filled in with the corresponding draft. I have the goal of each draft written down in my writing to do spread. I'm toying with the idea of filling in the cells with my character color code or my beats color code (more on that later) so that I can see the story as a whole. But I haven't decided that, yet.

The next spread is another character catalog. These are still not filled out, but this is where I'm going to flesh out these characters just a little bit more. Again, I can't show them all to you, but they are a huge part of how I write.

This is ENORMOUSLY long! 😂
I will do a part two of this, which will have a few non-writing related spreads, along with my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads.

Thanks so much for reading! If you're not already follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. I'm also on Twitter, if you want to check of my snarky remarks about the planet there.

Have a wonderful day!

-The Ginger Wordsmith 🐙

Weekly Update!

This is the first of these posts, so we are just going to talk about what I'm currently working on.

First Draft of Novel!

This novel has been years in the making and is truly my baby. It's gonna be so much fun to see how everyone likes it and I am planning on getting it published. Stay tuned for more!

This is the novel I used to win NaNo in 2016 and I'm so excited to be almost done with it. I had to delete a large chunk, because I was so unhappy with it, and rewrote that portion after NaNo was over. I have passed 50,000 words for a second time and am working on ramping up to the big climax! Hopefully I can get that done soon!

Second Draft of the OTHER Novel!

Yes. I do have two irons in the fire. No, I don't want to be James Patterson, or anything. But I do have a first draft novel and a novel in the revision stages. This way, I can be entertained by two manuscripts. This one is one that I can have in a place for publishing before the end of the year.

This is my revision spread in my bullet journal. Use this for keeping track of where I am with each draft.

I'll put together a post about this specific spread VERY soon! Let me know if you want to see more about my editing process!

Favorite Podcast This Week

This is a weekly segment that I may or may not keep around. But it's a great way to share what I've been listening to. Writers and authors should be looking for ways to expand their knowledge, not only in writing craft, but also their knowledge base.

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Stark Novel Meme

Have a character who's a scientist? Listen to a science podcast to get inside their heads. Have a character who loves to cook? Read a blog written by someone who loves food. Keep expanding your base of knowledge, every day, however you can.

I love podcasts because I can listen to them while I do social media stuff for my business and blog, or while I'm cooking dinner. It keeps my brain engaged and allows me to feel productive.

Best Case Worst Case

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This is SUCH great podcast. They take two people from law enforcement and interview them over two episodes. One is their Best Case and the next episode is their Worst case. They often talk about, not just police procedure, but also the emotions that are going through their heads as they are working the cases.

Be warned; the Worst Case episodes OFTEN include crimes committed with children, as those are often the most memorable and scarring for these personnel. If that's a trigger for you or you don't think you can stomach it, this is NOT the podcast for you.

And there you go! If you want more interesting things about writing, be sure to follow my blog, and sign up for my email list! Weekly wrap ups of EVERYHING! Videos on YouTube, social media posts, and blogs that I've done that week! And if you sign up, I'll send you TWO motivational iPhone Wallpapers for your writing!

-The Ginger Wordsmith 🐙