I am a planner! I need to have things organised and all my thoughts down for life to make any sort of sense for me. I blame the countless years of training as a research scientist and keeping meticulous notes in lab books that I genuinely like to record all kinds of things. I probably wouldn’t have survived the never-ending task lists of my PhD if it wasn’t for my bullet journal. It kept me on track, while also keeping me sane. It gave me the ability to see how far I had progressed allowing me to allow myself breaks without panicking about what still had to be done.
I now keep two bullet journals. My workload has changed substantially since finishing my PhD and I like to keep work and personal life separate so I have a bullet journal that functions as my catch all for work, functioning as my day to day lab book for the various projects/experiments I am working on, meeting notes, notes on scientific papers, keeping track of students etc etc. My personal bullet journal keeps track of life in general, but it is mainly used for reading and blog maintenance. So with my decision to dedicate more time time my own fiction writing and to make a conscience effort to writing more frequently and put personal time into my writing I have added new writing sections to my personal journal.
I am not an artsy journaler. You are not going to find pages upon pages of beautifully drawn sets of artwork and calligraphed pages. I like to keep it clean and simple as highly functional. I thought I would share some of the spreads I have come up with and some that I have adapted from others. I have two sections one is my September monthly spread and the other is my writing notes/spread for my current WIP (which is at the back of my current notebook).
I always use a Nuuna dotted note book as my bullet journal . I like that it is slightly larger than A5 with 0.5 dot spacing. This suits my hand writing size comfortably and to me just keeps everything looking neat. I use a viriety of pens but have a preference for Muji Roller balls 0.5, The Staedtler triplus textsurfers and my fountain pens. Currently I am using my Lami Safari with an extra fine nib which is filled with Dianmine ink in the Colour Silver fox.
September Monthly Spread
I have been keeping my title pages simple with similar accents and 1920’s style to them all year. I like how bold they are without taking much effort. It makes them look really special without having to spend hours drawing. While it is not needed I like having a title page to separate the months. Its the only real artistic flare my journals have. I use it as an excuse to change colours. This month I have decided to use shades of purple.
Calendar, Blog posts and reading record
These pages also stay relatively similar each month. On the left hand page I have my monthly calendar where I mark important events with various symbols. I also have an list of important dates such as birthdays (which I have yet to fill in for privacy reasons) and ARC release dates, blog tours etc.
On the right hand page I have my books read section. When I finish a book I paste in a tiny thumbnail sticker of the book cover and record the number of pages and my star rating for quick reference. This information then gets filled into my yearly tracker at the end of the month. The bottom of this page is dedicated to my planned blog posts. I can then tick when I have written and scheduled them and then when they have posted.
This is a new section for this month. I have added a couple of pages to track my writing. I am very much at the beginning of the process for this work in progress (WIP). I am still very much in the brainstorming section of my preparation and I am timing goals to lead to participating my NaNoWriMo in November. So I have sections for setting goals from both the Brainstorming and Outlining sections. I also want to track when I write, what kind of writing I do etc to try and build a good writing routine for myself. At the top of this picture you can catch a glimpse of my Writing ideas journal. I keep a small B6 book everywhere with me to scribble down anything that might be relevant.
in the back of my bullet journal I have created a little bit of a writing journal. These layouts are based on layouts suggested by Youtuber Rachael Stephen
My WIP is currently known as Project Space Opera so I have a project title page with space to write a little synopsis and the true title once I have come up with them. I then have some quick reference sections to fill in while I progress for things I want to remember at a glance such as overarching plotlines, character names and settings. After that I have followed Rachael Stephen’s model of setting up overall todo lists for each of the major sections for writing. from Brainstorming and outlining to the various drafts and edits. This is then followed by the title page for the section I am working on currently which is Brainstorming. I have left several pages blank to work on my concept development and brainstorming, I have covered up spoilers for the information I have filled in. Finally I have dedicated some pages to notes I have made on writing craft books and lectures. These notes in particular are from Brandon Sanderson’s lecture series. You can find various writing resources I use in my Friday 5 post on writing resources.
These pages are meant to be a readable and easy access resource for myself. most of the information that has ended up in them have come from my writing notebook that I carry with me. Once I have made decisions I add them into these pages. They wont contain any writing themselves just helpful reminders for me, goals and landmarks for my planning.
Do you keep a bullet journal? Do you keep a reading or Authors journal? what kind of spreads do you use?