by Joanna Maciejewska
At some stage of my life, I gave up on buying diaries, calendars, and planners. They all had “wrong” layouts, not enough space or too much of it, and in the end I never really used them much. Then, a year and a half ago, I discovered bullet journaling and fell in love with it. I use it for my everyday life, but since writing is a part of it, I want it to be reflected in my “bujo”. If you are a bullet journal fan or looking into starting one, here are some ideas.
What is Bullet Journaling?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, bullet journaling is fully customizable organization method – you can learn the basics here. You get to decide the layout, the sections, and the daily format of your entries. Bullet journaling also leaves a lot of space for lists and notes, like story ideas, interesting books to read, tracking your projects… You name it.
With such freedom, there are multiple ways to incorporate your writing goals and plans into it.
As the time goes by, it’s easy to lose the sight of the bigger goals. I use my yearly goals section to track things that won’t be complete within a week or even a month.
I prefer empty boxes to fill (or cross out) in vs. the traditional box, and I learned to leave some space for notes (like the story’s or book’s title), so that I don’t get confused whether I already logged progress on something or not.
For bigger tasks, like novels, I break down the goal into smaller tasks. It’s more specific than “have a novel ready”. Depending on where I am with the project, I might use such sub-tasks like “finish the first draft”, “revise the first draft”, “implement beta readers’ comments”, “language and grammar edits”, “prepare a synopsis and a query letter”, but your choices would depend on your process.
I write quite a few short stories each year and dutifully submit them to magazines. Some of them open only in the specific times of the year, so I use my Future Log section to track the submission windows I know of. This way, at glance, I know when I need to have my stories ready.
If your Future Log section gets too busy during the year, or you prefer to have it separate, you can easily create a separate page just for them.
Also, if you’re not a fan of the online submission trackers or they don’t meet your needs, you can dedicate a page or two to listing your submissions with the sent dates and responses.
If you’re trying to build a habit of a daily (or at least regular writing), adding a writing-related section to your habit tracker might help.
List of your projects
If, like me, you work on multiple things at a time, such list might help you to keep track of them. This is different from your yearly goals that focuses on completion of certain stages of your prioritized projects. On this list you can put anything that you want to work on in the future, started working on, or temporarily put it on the back burner.
For me, it’s also a nice reminder of my own creativity on those days when I feel burnt out or idea-less. It’s nice to remember I have so many things going on, even if it’ll take me a while to finish them all.
The strength of bullet journaling lies in endless possibilities. Do you want to track words written or hours edited? You can color in boxes or fill the page with colorful stars. You can have a section to note down particularly interesting dreams to keep you inspired or something down to Earth like a list of your writing-related income (complete with dates and payment method).
Ideas are countless.
Do you have any more? Or maybe you already have a bullet journal and use it for your writing projects?
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science-fiction writer who was born in Poland, spent a little under a decade in Ireland, and now resides in Arizona. She had stories published in Polish magazines (“Nowa Fantastyka”, “Science-Fiction Fantasy i Horror”) and anthologies (Fabryka Słów, Replika, Solaris), and she also writes in English (“Fiction Vortex”, “Phantaxis”). You can find out more about her and her stories at melfka.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.