First Off: What is a bullet journal?
The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.
Think of it as a journal for all your lists like to-watch, to-read, to-do, shopping, meal planning, activity tracker, etc. all in one notebook. I keep one. And added on top of that, I’ve made something very few have made (or at least, very few have shared over the internet). A writing bullet journal.
That’s right. Writing.
Below will be a list of things you can include in your writing bullet journal for things such as a personal novel, NaNoWriMo, and basic note-taking.
Basic Writing Bullet Journal
- List of Names – It’s always to have a list handy of names you like. Even make a list of surnames that strike out at you to save for future projects when you’re trying to name a character. I, personally, use three name lists. First names, surnames, and hybrid ideas of first and last names.
- Word Help – If you have trouble with dialogue or description, it’s a good thing to have a list of word help on hand. Anything from words to use instead of “said” to different ways to describe someone’s eyes or skin tone. Here are some examples:
- Inspiration Mood Board – If you’re like me and you get inspired by quite a lot, it’s fun to have a few pages in my notebook set aside for paper clippings or print-outs of what inspire me to write.
- Inspirational Quotes – When I’m feeling very sour about my own writing, it always helps me to go back on quotes that inspire me to keep writing and do my best.
- Book Title Ideas – Naming a project can be difficult. Whenever I feel like I’ve come up with a great future title idea, I write it down on my won book title ideas list.
- Project Ideas – Whenever I have some crazy dream that I feel has potential to be something or a movie (or book) gives me an idea for something different from it, I feel it’s very important to write it down in fear of forgetting about it. I used to not write things like that down, and I’ve lost out on so many ideas I knew could have been good.
- Monthly Log – I always make a minimalist log to plan time for writing. I usually include my work schedule and if I have any plans with friends.
- Writing Playlists – Some people work best with music playing in the background. I like to include specific playlists for certain parts of a project I’m working on. Here are some examples:
- Battle & Aftermath
- Girl Power
- Books to Read – If you’re a reader, than it’s good to take some time to read and refresh your mind.
NaNoWriMo is an event that happens every November where you’re given a goal of 50k words to write within one month. The fun of it is competing with others, meeting other writers, finding help, giving help, and if you win, you get some prizes! You can find out more about it at nanowrimo.org
- #preptober – A list a lot of NaNoWriMo people like to make during October consisting of things they’d like to have or have done before NaNoWriMo starts the following year. I tend to include things like, “stock up on coffee” or “have a new notebook by november 1st” or even “update nanowrimo.org profile.”
- Word Tracker – It’s always a good idea to create some form of a chart to track your word count and to help push yourself to that 50k. Some like to use line charts to compare what word count they should be at with what they are actually at while others enjoy creating fun visual flow charts.
- Future Notes – While it’s not always the best time and place to go back and fix mistakes during NaNoWriMo, it’s always a good idea to make a list of all you want to look into changing once NaNoWriMo is over and you get to go back and revise.
- Outlining – It always helps to have a full plot planned out.
- Basics – Working/Chosen Title, a thorough list of the names of the main character, secondary characters, minors, and even the pro/antagonist. I also include genre and targeted audience. Pretty much anything basic about the story I like to have on the first page of the section of my bujo I’m using for the personal project stuff. You can even add in a word goal, setting, and mood.
- Working Summary – Play around with summary ideas for your project, that way if someone asks what your story is about, you can just word it like your summary. I even keep it for personal use to keep me going every now and then.
- Character Tree – This always helps me keep track of all the characters and what their relationship is with each other.
- Soundtrack – Create a playlist to listen to when working on your project to help stay in the mood you have chosen.
- Outline – I use this to keep track of the most important key points of my story, writing out a small description of what all goes down in the five major plot points:
- Rising Action
- Falling Action
- Character Analysis – I use this for my main and secondary characters. It helps me learn about them and truly know how I’m going to write them. Some people like to create a full outline to fill out full name, age, date of birth, physical features, etc. but I like to write out long paragraphs explaining their personality and talking about their background, even including small clippings of actors that make me think of that character.
- Inspiration List – A list to help keep track of everything that helps you feel inspired to write a scene/chapter, etc. in your project. I include character relationships from movies/tv shows/books and even certain scenes that really inspired me.