Bullet Journal Your Fiction: 3 Time-Saving Tips

For new authors, writing fiction is unexpectedly chaotic and messy. A bullet journal helps you to get organized and saves time too.

Perhaps you’ve seen others’ gorgeous bullet journals: they’re works of art. You can decorate your notebook if you wish, but when it comes to bullet journaling, there are no rules. My BuJos are plain and unadorned, except for an occasional doodle or diagram.

How does a BuJo help when you write fiction?

Your bullet journal keeps you organized while you write

In a previous post we looked at bullet journaling your novel, and said:

Bullet journal your novel your way.

Discover your process over time.

Here’s what works for me.

Whenever I start a novel, I start a bullet journal for it.

Your journal keeps you on track. Even if you can’t write for a few days or a week, it reminds you of characters and plot, and becomes a repository for your brainstorms and ideas.

Most importantly, your bullet journal saves you time.

A member of our writers’ group said: “Before I kept a BuJo, I’d spend half an hour of each writing session getting up to speed on the novel. That gave me too much time to think and worry. Sometimes, I just deleted my novel from my computer, because my inspiration vanished.”

Let’s look at some time-saving tips.

1. Save time by creating several Collections of scenes

Scenes are essential to your fiction. Moreover, writing in scenes helps you to structure your novel.

From Fiction Writing Essentials: Avoid Scene Pitfalls:

Every novel you write has a certain number of scenes. Even if you hate outlining, the number of scenes gives you a clue to the action at various points in your novel.

Keep a one-sentence summary of each scene in a BuJo “Scenes List” Collection while you’re writing. Then, on even the foggiest day, reading your Scenes List catches you up on the action of your novel.

Other useful Collections:

  • Scenes in which a specific character appears;
  • Twist/ turning point scenes;
  • Essential scenes.

2. What happened when? Your novel’s timeline saves time

A timeline of your novel is vital for every genre. In the Mystery and Thriller genres timelines are essential.

For example, in your mystery, your sleuth will want to know where all the suspects were (and whether they have an alibi) at the moment the murder occurred.

Over the years, I’ve used apps and spreadsheets to maintain a timeline, but for me, they were overkill. A BuJo “Timeline Collection” turns out to be all I need; it might be all you need too.

You can set up your timeline as a simple list. Alternatively, you can create diagrams. Either way, a quick glance at your timeline orients you while you’re writing. (And when it’s time to revise, too.)

3. End each writing session with: “Next time, I’ll write…”

Have you noticed that you get ideas while you’re writing?

Try jotting a couple of sentences at the end of every writing session. Then, whether you have another session tomorrow, or in two weeks, you can quickly dive into your “writing” mindset.

“A bullet journal seems complicated…”

Yes, there’s a small learning curve to bullet journaling. Nevertheless, you can pick up the basics in less than twenty minutes.

That’s time well spent, because you’ll save yourself hours of time and frustration when you’re writing fiction.

Please share your thoughts. Do you use a BuJo? What benefits have you found?


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