If you’re not a full-time writer, you need a functioning system to plan your writing process. With all the other tasks you have in your life, it may otherwise just fall short. At least, that is the case for me. I’m a person who likes to plan their days and weeks in advance, simply because otherwise it would cost me too much energy to remember everything I need to get done. Currently, I’m not working as a teacher, which is my day job, but I’m at home to take care of my six months old baby. Still, I always plan which projects I want to work on in a week. That way I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about what to do when I have some writing time. I can start right away.
I use a writing bullet journal for many reasons. First of all, you can use the pages in a bullet journal the way you want to. I use a dotted notebook and draw the spreads for my weeks myself. That way, I can change things if they’re not working for me. It also allows me to decide which tasks go in there and how much space I need for which section.
I always start with a section in which I keep track of how many words I’ve written in a week. That way, I can see if it was a good week writing-wise and if it wasn’t, I can try to figure out what kept me away from my laptop and, if possible, change something about that in the next week. It also always makes me proud if I write many words, (which, for me is, anything above 4000 a week). I always work on two to four projects at the same time, and my bullet journal is the place where I add the word count of each project, so it’s always a little surprise for me at the end of the week to see how much I’ve written.
Next is a section that is called “Weekly Writing Goals”. Here I list down how far I want to get with editing or writing. For example, I might write down “Pumpkin Spice” in 10.000 words, which means I want to get to 10.000 words on that project. If I manage to do that, I can tick off the box behind that task. I love ticking off boxes, so that’s a small reward in itself for me.
On the next page, there is a section for “Social Media” where I track everything I’m doing on social media for my writer’s life. Posts on Instagram, Twitter, or my writer’s board. Also, live streams with my writing group Word & Shield or Blog entries. Next to that is a section called “Self Care”. I’ve discovered that there are things that fuel my writing process: going on walks, doing Yoga or sports, drink a cup of tea, and draw. So I also note down which of these I want to do during the week and how often.
Beneath that is a tracker where I can track tasks that I would like to do daily or as often as possible during that week. Most of the time I track a healthy habit like doing sports or going for a walk. I might also track if I drink enough water or eat less sugar (which never works, unfortunately). I also often track how often I write or edit.
Underneath that, I always write down my best achievement of the week as a kind of reward to myself. (For example, if I wrote a lot of words on one project or even finished it) and I can also move one task that I didn’t finish to next week.
I have been using this exact planning system since August of last year. And it was a real game-changer for me. Not only is planning my writer’s life a lot of fun for me, but it also helps me a lot to see how much I managed to get done every week. Especially if it feels I’m treading on the spot. Here I can see that even small steps get me somewhere during a few weeks.
I’m trying to keep my bullet journal simple so as not to use it to procrastinate too much, but I’ve started drawing a little title page for each month. I love doing that, and it gets my creative juices flowing and also relaxes me. It’s fun to pick an idea every month.
Another thing I love about having a bullet journal is that I get to use stickers. I often purchase them from Etsy shops. “Aurora’s Heart, Jellyfish Sticker, and Violin design are among my favorites. They are all located in Germany. But there are so many others.) Setting up my bullet journal page for the week with my plans and decorate it with stickers is among my favorite times of the week.
There are also some special sections in my bullet journal. For example, I set goals for every quarter of the year that I try to accomplish. And I keep track of projects, which also motivates me.
All in all, my bullet journal is a great companion for my writer’s life. Do you keep a bullet journal as well, and has it helped you? Or do you prefer other planning methods?