I’ve always loved journals, but here’s the thing… I’ve never really used them. My lifelong MO with journals goes something like:
- Receive/purchase a new journal
- Delight over its beauty and features and how it’s going to capture the stories of my life so eloquently that my great, great, great, great, grandchildren will read it and feel connected to me in a deep, meaningful way
- Write in it for three or four days.
- Lose interest.
- Lose the journal.
- Dig it out like six months later when something angers or hurts me and I need to scribble down everything that happened and everything I have intense feelings about and how I’ll never be over this incident.
- Regret that if my great, great, great, great, grandchildren ever find and read my journals they’re just going to see me as an incredibly angry and intense person.
- Repeat stages 1-7.
But that all changed a few months ago…
Author Emery Lord’s fall newsletter mentioned her discovery of bullet journaling and included a link to this BuzzFeed article titled: WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why Should You Start One. If you clicked on this post thinking: “WTF is a bullet journal? Why should I start one?” I’ll refer you to that article now, which explains it all far better than I could, so… Go ahead, check it out.
Alright, are you back? Is your mind blown by the brilliance of this concept!?
So, why am I talk about Bullet Journaling on a blog dedicated to writing? Because I’ve found it to be absolutely fantastic when it comes to organization for all the writing things (on top of all the life things).
Writers track a lot of things: new ideas, word counts, deadlines, revision notes, queries, agent research while querying, etc. And I’ve tried a LOT of ways to track them: calendars, sticker systems, per-project notebooks, emailing myself notes, spreadsheets, and more… and all of those systems worked, in their own ways, for some time, but ultimately, none of them ever stuck that long for me before I was searching for a new, better way to be organized.
Here’s why I like bullet journaling, and why I think it’s sticking for me and helping with my writing: It allows for all of the above, and it works into the greater scheme of my overall life. It’s not a separate system, it’s part of the all-in-one of my calendar, to-dos, plans, everything (at least, that’s how I’ve set it up… but that’s the beauty of BuJo-ing, you can set it up in whatever way makes the most sense for YOU). So, I’m looking at my writing goals and progress along with my family and friend commitments, work commitments, exercise tracking, reading tracking, travel plans… EVERYTHING. I use stickers to track writing, reading and working out. I can look at my life as a day, a week, a month, and see what’s coming up. Everything is all together so I can see the checks and balances. Slacker writing week? Well, it makes sense if I see a hectic life-week and I let myself off the hook. Super open calendar? I can get more specific on my book-related goals and use the time to the fullest.
So, if your 2017 New Year’s Resolution sounds like any of these:
- Be more organized
- Manage time better
- Create more balance
- Be more aware of habits
- Try not to be so hard on yourself
- Feel more on top of EVERYTHING
Give it a try!