Planning, tracking, and motivating in my writer's bullet journal



hello today I am talking about my writers bullet journal so if you want to to see a little bit more about my bullet journaling system I will have a separate video for that check that out but today I'm just going to focus on my writing journal you can see I have a traveler's notebook style so I've got a couple of different journals in here and I use composition style notebooks this is a moleskin kaa I will link it down below if you are interested in seeing what those are a little bit more this is a printable from boho berry she's really great has a ton of printables for people that subscribed to her mailing list so I will link that down below for you too so you can check her out and I will be coloring this in you know as I'm watching TV and I'm feeling like I need to so why am i doing a separate video about my writers bullet journal the reason is because for me as a writer who self motivates works from home on getting those projects done and if you're a writer you know that there are times when writing is very very fun and there are times when it is very very hard and keeping yourself on track and feeling like you're making progress and sometimes you know be a struggle when you don't have those external deadlines my writing journal is a way for me to primarily is a way for me to keep motivated and of course to track and organize my writing projects okay so here is my index it's very short right now but in my writers bullet journal I do a lot of actual journaling this definitely goes to the journal part of bullet journaling as well as the planner part so as I'm taking notes on things or writing when I decide I want to write freehand this is definitely going to fill up here is my writing dashboard I haven't migrated yet so here's what it looks like in my other in my older one the one that I'm migrating out of so for each of my projects I use the post-it note and this is one of the reasons why I like the larger composition so almost people bullet journal in a smaller journal but this is one of the reasons why I really like the composition notebooks one because when you do a lot of note-taking and writing of course having more space is really important but so because of this sort of planning style that I have I really like the visuals with the post-it notes so for each of the writing projects that I have I put into one of these little columns into something I'm currently writing is something I'm currently revising is it something I'm currently querying or is it on the Shelf waiting for the next step of whatever and then I have a little alpha beta when something is pending for beta reading so I use this just to add a glance tell me what I'm doing and when with what when I'm sitting down trying to plan my next step I've kept this page blank I don't know exactly what I'm going to use it for but I always need something there's always something I've forgotten but I don't remember it till later and so I'm leaving that blank for now so this is my five things add a spread and if you've ever heard of wards block he is a successful writer of various kinds of crime fiction and he also wrote some writing books books for a writing advise one of the pieces of writing advice that he gives is that you should do five things a day for you one of those things should always be writing one of those things should always be reading something but then you should do three other things each day that forward your writing career so it could be reading a blog post about blog advice it could be researching agents that you want to submit to it could just be having lunch with another writer in commiserating but something that's keeping your writing moving forward and I have found that to be a really effective principle in my writing so here is what a completed one of these looks like and I think this was this is for the month of February and so for each one I mark off each day if I wrote I cross off each day if I read and then for the other three things I wrote what I did and then over here I list what all exactly that was so that at the end of the month I can see what sort of things that I did so if there's something I know I should be doing and like like researching agents and it's not on my list by the end of the month I know I need to prioritize it for next month and this also keeps me a little bit more honest because I know two five things every day I'm supposed to ideally but you know as long as this is looking more full than not I'm feeling good but it all reminds me like if I get have two days in a row like this one here when I only did one additional thing I need to step it up for a little while and so I do a chart of this for every day so this is my chart for June this is my chart for July next up is my reading tracker so it can be very when you're especially when you're really excited about a writing project I'm sure you know that you can just get really focused on writing this reminds me just to make sure that I am doing my reading every day a little bit can be half an hour doesn't have to be you know five hours worth of reading but just that I'm doing a little bit of reading every day so my initial goal was to make sure that I was getting over the halfway point and March I did really really well and I did well again in April May so although not as good as this so this really helps to keep me on track because there are a lot of times where I you know I'd go four or five days about reading and not even realize it and because I was so busy you know revising something that I wanted to get down for and done for a deadline to submit to you know somebody somewhere so this makes sure that I'm keeping on track of that and it's really ridiculous because you know I love reading and you know I have no problem sitting down for you know five hours on a Saturday afternoon and just reading but making sure that it's not getting lost in the process so and this is my writing project tracker and what that looks like is this so for example these were books that I was working on revising so if they're like in this one when I started there there were 80 scenes in the book and there ended up I ended up having to add two more scenes when I as a part of the revision but so I could go through and as I revise I can I can note which ones I've revised so I watch my progress and again it both keeps me on task because I know how many bites of that particular elephant I have to take in order to eat that whole elephant and so I can break it down into daily goals and weekly goals and also it keeps me motivated because when I'm done look all of that is you know marked off that's awesome I can I can feel good about myself and I can celebrate that because I think it's important for us to celebrate some of the things that we do as well and you can't tell as much but like this 48 scenes originally and then more scenes had to be added as I rearranged so this allows that kind of flexibility to while still allowing me to really track what it is I'm doing in and of course I'm also going to move that over when you feel like letting think about why you started because there's some days where it just feels like the revision will not end but of course you love the story and that's why you're writing it so this is my reading log so I'm keeping track of everything that I'm reading for the year this is another printable from Bubble Berry she actually made this for NaNoWriMo and the idea was for every day that you wrote the goal that you're supposed to write you could color in a book and there's I guess 30 books here so what I'm going to be doing is just when I have time to color I'm going to go through and color in a book for every book and my goal is to read 30 books for the year so and that's a minimum I actually hope to read a lot more than that and so this is my writing log here is what it looks like when it's actually filled out every day I go through and I just write what is what I worked on what writing I did that day I'm so it might be three seems revised and one new scene written or you know whatever and the reason for me for doing this is that I can – you can get to the end of the week end of the week or the end of the month and feel like you haven't accomplished enough or you feel like you haven't accomplished too much and what this allows me to do is first it keeps me accountable because every night when I'm updating my bullet journal I want to have something to write in there and if I don't have something right in there I feel really crappy so like here's a day that I didn't write here's a day that I didn't write and everybody deserves a day off now and again which is fine but if there were like four or five or six of those then I would know something was wrong so this keeps me motivated to do I need to do but then also at the end of January I can go back and say no look I actually did do quite a map quite a lot of work so that's just my head messing with me telling me that I didn't do enough I really did do a lot and I need to everyone so well it's good I think and healthy to pat ourselves on the back for that and say you know I did do something and there's nothing wrong with that so for now in terms of some spreads that are tracking already that's pretty much it a lot of what is going to be filling up the rest of this I take notes like for writing advice for blogs or for other things I look at that fills up a lot of these pages in the writing in my writing bullet journal so these pages kind of fill up pretty quickly I also do free writes and things in here so research notes that I'm doing will go in here and that's what a lot of the rest of this is going to be used for so if you have any questions let me know I will link everything down below and thanks for watching

20 thoughts on “Planning, tracking, and motivating in my writer's bullet journal

  1. I have began 3 books and published none. I get stuck at 90% when everything is all over the place and instead of editing I just start a new book. I want to help people with my books but at this pace, I am not helping anyone

  2. Oh my goodness! Your system is my new favorite. I already use the composition size traveler’s notebook so this will be super easy to implement! Thank you!!

  3. Thank you for taking the time to share your writing journal.  I think this will be helpful to many people – definitely me! 🙂

  4. I really love that Writing Dashboard idea! I might have to find a place to incorporate that into my own BuJo, cuz that looks immensely helpful, especially for someone with tons of projects on the go!

  5. Love this!! I'm always looking for bullet journal ideas for writers, but the keywords are ridiculous to find what I'm looking for

  6. This is exactly what I have been looking for to track my writing! Thank you – love the style too 🙂

  7. Very nicely explained and done, Michelle. Thanks for the insights. I feel I can't do a writer's bullet journal in my daily errands journal and seeing this I feel I am totally right. I will check out the Boho Berry printables or I will just draw that out. I started reading and tracking how much I was reading because like you I would forget to read.

  8. This is really helpful. Thank you so much. I was looking for some spreads to help me as a screenwriter. Thank you so much.

  9. Michelle – This is just what I needed. I will probably rewatch to get a better handle on all your tips. Thanks so much for sharing. You should do a class on this.

  10. Nice to get some insight into a working writers journal, thanks! Some of your trackers are very similar to mine.

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