#bujo for NaNoWriMo

Using Your #BUJO for Writing and NaNoWriMo

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It seems that I spend a lot of time with my bullet journal – and I do. And in my quest to make my life work well, I’ve been looking at ways to organize my writing also. As October is Preptober, I’ve found a way to use my #bujo for writing and NaNoWriMo.

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner and Preptober imminent, I’ve made some realizations.

What is Preptober and NaNoWriMo you ask?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written a post about it which will be scheduled in just a couple of days. However, the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel in an entire month but more about that in my next post.

Preptober is just what it sounds like. It is using October to prep for November.

Of course, if you are a pantser and just wing it, you don’t need Preptober. However, if the thought of beginning on November 1st with just a spark of an idea causes great anxiety in you, then Pretober is for you.

As I’ve spoken about in previous posts, I have a writing journal. I use it for all sorts of things. Mostly ideas, snippets, really rough drafts of blog posts, story planning etc. I don’t use it for keeping track of anything. And it is a hodgepodge of randomness, no real organization. It does have an index but I don’t use it for much.

It is the junkyard of my mind for writing.

But I feel the need to have some organization in my life – which is why I never plan my novels in my general writing journal.

I use a separate journal for each of my bigger projects – except for my blog which is weird; I wonder if I should. Keeping a separate journal for your novel or other big writing project is a good way to keep all of your thoughts and ideas in one place.

The one thing that I have struggled with how and where to keep track of my writing specific to November and my progress. You see, I use my project journals as a place to make sure I am consistent in my novels. I mean, have you ever read a novel where the MC has green eyes on one page and blue eyes on another. Shudders.

It took me a bit and some time of watching how other people actually structure their planning but I’ve figured it out. For me anyway.

What I needed to understand is that tracking word count and progress are different and separate from the novel itself.

I’d kept my writing out of my bullet journal because I didn’t think it belonged in there. But, that is so not true.

Bullet journals are for keeping track of the important things in your life. And my writing is important to me. So what I’ve done is this: I’ve added a couple of spreads to my October bullet journal.

I’m still working on making a bullet journal for my project and that will be coming soon, but I can show you my working spreads for October or Preptober.

These pictures are of my entire October beginning spreads. I’m showing you these because sometimes the best ideas come from someone else. It’s where we get inspiration.

The Pages

October Title Page

Monthly Title Page – I’m getting a bit more creative in my bullet journaling but I still like to keep things simple. Just the Month and a quote. This year, I have used quotes from Anais Nin for each month. And I’ve been able to find quotes that speak to me each time. The quote for this month is:

“My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thought, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am.” Anais Nin

Those words spoke to me and I hope they speak to you.

Monthly Overview – Now, if you are a follower of Ryder Carrol and his method, you can see that my month looks vastly different than his. The simple reason is that our brains work differently. While he can do a simple vertical list for the month, I must be able to see all the days at once. It helps me to know what is coming up and helps me to plan. My creativity is extending to these pages too.

#bujo for writing and NaNoWriMo - October overview.
Monthly Overview

Blog Stuff – Even though I am “supposed” to have an editorial calendar, I don’t work well that way. Planning blog posts and all the scheduling for three months in advance is a really good way to shut my creative self off. And as any reader of my blog can attest to, it doesn’t work. I truly work best a month at a time or even a week at a time. I’m trying to get better but life happens sometimes.

#bujo for writing and Nanowrimo - blog stuff spread
Blog Stuff Page

The Week at a Glance – Again, because my brain works differently than Ryder’s, I need to see my week all at once. It works for me. I’ve been experimenting with my weekly spreads. And have had a couple different spreads that I’ve posted on Instagram and for the most part, those have had my entire week on one page. This past week, I learned about a new way to track those things your tasks called the Alastair method. As it’s new, we’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Page

Preptober Pages – These last two pages are new ones for me. Now I’ve only started bullet journaling in March so this is my first official NaNoWriMo season with bullet journaling. However, I’ve used the same methods for planning my novels in other journals for several years. And this is where I am keeping track of Preptober and my focus on writing my words again – building the habit of writing that has served me so well in past years.

#bujo for writing and NaNoWriMo - preptober and #my500words spreads
Pretober Pages

Preptober Checklist – This idea came from a couple different sources but I’m a bit excited about it. To prep for anything, there are a number of items that need to happen. It took a bit of time, but I created a list of things I would like to have done before November 1st. This list is most likely not comprehensive as I’ve never done this before. Being able to look at this list will help keep me on track as we get closer to November.

#My500Words – My very first NaNoWriMo was 6 years ago and wouldn’t have been a success without Jeff Goins and his #my500words group. At that time, I was getting up early to write morning pages but didn’t have a writing habit otherwise. I had no idea if I could even write 500 words in a day so this group helped. Now, I am ready to rebuild that habit to get ready for November and beyond that. The #my500words page will help me keep track on rebuilding that habit.

Well, there it is. I’ve tried to set myself up for success in October so I can have success in November. Last year was the first year I hadn’t “won” at NaNo and we don’t want a repeat of that.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and if you have your own ideas about bullet journal and preptober please post them in the comments. And, if you want to try to write a novel this year, stay tuned for more posts all about NaNoWriMo and setting up your own project journal for it.

Until next time,

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