Several years ago, I used a bullet journal for my fiction but lost the habit.
Here’s a post I wrote at the time, Bullet Journal Your Fiction: 3 Time-Saving Tips: it contains useful productivity tips.
Since I’m struggling with a new novel, I wondered whether journaling could help. Firstly, I had to remind myself of the basics and choose a journal.
Set up a bullet journal for your fiction
My blank notebook stash became useful.
For my elementary setup, I created:
- An index—I used four pages for this. Realizing I’d selected a notebook without page numbers, I numbered 20 pages. I’ll number the others as I need them.
- A future log: things coming up in the next four months. I kept it simple, ruling a horizontal line in the middle of each page, so it took a double-page spread.
- My daily log.
Everything I required was done in 30 minutes, and I was good to go.
Here’s how I’m using it.
1. Track daily progress: this keeps me writing
Each day, in the daily log, I jot the word count before I start writing, and again when I finish. I’ve also created a basic word count tracker.
How basic? Just the dates and the total word count to date on a page; I’ve divided it into two columns. When I get to the end of the first column, I begin the next one.
It’s easy to see if I missed a day. On a couple of days, it was a few minutes before midnight, so I quickly wrote a paragraph.
2. Plan the story: plot and conflict ideas
The most realistic conflicts between characters stem from who they are. The Odd Couple is my favorite example of this type of conflict. When Felix and Oscar live together, they’re so different that conflict is guaranteed.
The more conflict the better.
3. Organize research queries, so I don’t waste time
I love research too much, kidding myself I’m researching when I’m procrastinating, so I write down what I need to research, and limit sessions to 30 minutes.
4. Create collections for the plot, characters, and settings
Although I keep the research and book notes in Obsidian, I’ve created a Collections section at the back of the notebook.
Just the basics: double-page spreads for each main character, the basic plot, and settings. These act as reminders because occasionally, I write on my phone and haven’t installed the Obsidian mobile app.
Can a fiction bullet journal help you?
If you’re struggling to keep your writing organized, it may help, so give it a try—you can decorate the journal as much or as little as you please.
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You can. “The One-Week Fiction Author: Have Fun And Turn Your Imagination Into Profits” is a program designed specifically for new authors. It’s for you if you’re ready to kickstart your writing career and transform your imagination into a profitable business.
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