Fauxdori and Bullet Journal Update

It’s been about six months since I posted an update on my bullet journal. I’ve made a few changes, but they’re all small. I love that I’ve hit the point with my bullet journal that I’m only making small tweaks as needed.

My Fauxdori
These days I carry three notebooks in my fauxdori. First is my current story notebook, next my bullet journal, and finally a scrap notebook. I’ve switch my bullet journal to be on the second elastic with the scrap notebook. I don’t care about being neat in the scrap notebook, so I never remove it to write in it. I pull out my story notebook frequently to keep it legible. Giving the story notebook its own elastic was a very small change, but  seems to have made a big difference in my willingness to pull it out as needed.

The rest of my fauxdori is the same, I have my picture insert around my BuJo and my plastic pocket around my scrap notebook.

My Bullet Journal
I’ve just switched to a large squared moleskine cahier. I’ve wanted one for a few months, but I had to wait to be ready for a new BuJo. I started a new one December 1st, and I LOVE the squared format. The lines are a bit smaller, so I have almost ten extra lines on each page. This is great for my monthly layout where I couldn’t fit on two pages. Now I can easily fit on two pages. One side for my days of the month and goals, the other for my fitness tracker and legend. The squares also make it easy to switch a page to be landscape instead of portrait. Love it!

BuJo Monthly fitness tracker page

Speaking of the fitness track, that was one big change I made a few months ago. I now have a monthly fitness tracker. I’ve kept it very simple. This month I’ve included each day of the month on the left, a column for the types of exercise I normally do, and a column for notes. Hopefully having all days of the month will allow me to track times when I stop working out. Last month I did very well until the end of the month when I took an unplanned week off. In my previous BuJo I didn’t have room to track each day. I could only include days I’d done something. (loving those extra ten lines).

Future log with calendar in bullet journal

The last change I made was to my future log. In my newest BuJo I’ve include a mini calendar next to each month. Sometimes when I’m trying to schedule something in an upcoming month, I run into trouble because I have no idea what days are weekends etc. This should help when my critique group needs to set the next meeting or when my Mom wants to know what day we should book a family dinner.

Everything else is pretty much the same. Daily logging, but I only migrate when I move to a new page instead of every day. I keep my collections few and far between. I index each month from the first to last page used for the month so I don’t have weird number sets because of collections. Instead of 1-2, 4-6, 8, 11-12, I just have 1-12.

Do you use a Bullet Journal? What little changes have you made that made a big difference?

 

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My Love of Notebooks

A pile of unused Moleskine large cahiers

I love notebooks and journals. The pile of journals in that picture? My UNused large Moleskine cahiers.

The first time I really fell in love with a journal was when I was in Italy in high school. My parents took me, and my best friend M to Europe for three weeks. While we were in Italy we ended up in this little store that sold daily planners. They were simple school planners. Each day had a page, and they weren’t year specific. Anyway M and I each picked one out. They were about 5 inches across, and 7 inches tall. Mine had a pinkish floral design (which is funny because I’ve never been a pink kind of girl). I wrote in it every day for most of the year. The writer in me wishes I’d kept it, even with all its embarrassing confessions.

After that I started using whatever notebooks I could find. Coil bound 5 star notebooks in various sizes were a favourite. They were cheap and you could get them for multiple subjects. they laid flat when you were writing in them. The coils got in the way on the back of the page though, so I often only wrote on one one side.

When I started university I discovered those blue lab notebooks. I bought an extra a few times and they became my go to for writing fanfic. I liked the hard cover, they didn’t get messed up being tossed in my backpack, and they weren’t too expensive. The bright blue took some getting used to, but it wasn’t out of place on a university campus.

Then my husband, technically boyfriend as this was before we were married, discovered the ‘Everyman’s journal‘ from Lee Valley. I filled one with fanfic stories of my favourite show at the time. A second is still sitting in my study untouched. They are lovely journals, but big. Not something I want to drag around with me all the time. I certainly can’t throw one into my small L.L. Bean boat and tote.

Through university, and after, I would pick up notebooks when I found them on sale racks, or when I just needed something new to write in. My father was a Moleskine fan, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on my notebooks. Sometimes I bought coil bound, sometimes a regular book bound one. I ended up with countless half finished notebooks. When my father passed away one of the things I did was raid his notebook stash for the Moleskines. There is still one left, with a beautiful blue map cover, that I know I’ll grab someday, but so far I can’t bring myself to take the last of the ‘good’ ones from him.

Squared, unlined, and lined Moleskine cahiers.Over the years I’ve culled my notebook collection. Getting rid of things that were full of scrap notes, or old course notes. Keeping the filled ones that had value to me. These days I usually use Moleskine large cahiers. I sized my Fauxdori to fit them. They are small, but still last a few months when used as a Bullet Journal. The paper is decent and the notebooks are cheap, so I can use one per novel idea and not feel guilty about it. Plus they come in lined, unlined, and squared.

Do you love notebooks? How many notebooks do you have?

NaNo 2017 – Days 4 & 5

NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal SpreadI started the month with a vague idea of doing a reverse NaNoWriMo. Sure it starts with some really high word counts, but I’ve done high word counts before. I could do that. I probably could have with the exception of the first day of NaNo (wed are my busiest day). But it wasn’t fun. I want NaNo to be fun. So by the end of Day 2, I reevaluated my goals for the month. Instead of a reverse NaNo, I set two goals. One was to reach 10,000 by the end of day 4. The other was a goal of at least 2,500 words each day. That gives me a November 20th finish. After that I’ll try and write at least 1,000 words a day to keep my daily habit, but I’ll also more time to spend with my family.

Review time. Let’s start with day 4:
My NaNo Daily Challenge was to “show, not tell”. Great general advice, but also wonderful during NaNo as showing takes far more words than just telling. I managed to get almost 1,000 words in during the day around the usual weekend errands and chores. I also went to my first local write in for two hours in the afternoon. Was nice to see a few people I haven’t talked to since last year, and write somewhere other than a chair in my living room. That night felt like a bit of a slog, but suddenly at about 2,000 words my fingers were flying and I hit my 10,00 words before I could blink. I love when I get immersed in my writing and the story just flies by.

And now Day 5:
My NaNo Daily Challenge was to “not start each paragraph the same way”. This is very specific to one of my writing weaknesses. Probably 90% of the time, I start a new paragraph or scene with a Character’s name or dialogue. This can be a large problem when a scene doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. I really thought this daily challenge would slow me down. It did, in the beginning, but once I got in the groove it wasn’t too bad. This might have been my most useful daily challenge so far. Hopefully it will save me a bunch of time in edits too! Got my word count without much trouble. Total word count at end of day yesterday was 12,750.

How is your NaNo going this year? What writing weaknesses are you trying to work on right now?

Fauxdori – Bullet Journal Update

Leather fauxdori with red coverI’m several months out from my last bullet journal update, so I thought it was time to post another.

I’ve been using a fauxdori, with a bullet journal insert, for organizing my personal life since October of last year. I took a break from the bullet journal for most of June, but as soon as July hit I realized how much easier it was to keep on top of things when I was using my bullet journal.

My fauxdori has two elastics in the spine and usually has four inserts, two on each elastic. My current set up is: First my gratitude journal, second my bullet journal, and finally a scrap paper notebook wrapped in a plastic pocket insert. I keep the bullet journal in the middle because I write in it the most, and I can use it while still in the fauxdori. The gratitude notebook I pull out if I am making a lot of notes, and the scrap notebook doesn’t need to be neat or legible. The plastic pocket is from Michael’s Travelers notebook line. I like it, but it is narrower than my other inserts and the zipper pull might get annoying. I’m not sure yet if I’ll keep it long term or not.

I used to keep a novel or writing notebook in my fauxdori instead of the gratitude journal. If I don’t start using the gratitude journal more, I’ll probably switch back to that set up. I could easily keep both, but I find the fauxdori a little too thick with four notebooks in it. Three is my preferred set up.

My Bullet Journal set up is as follows:

  • Index at the front. I don’t index daily logging pages, but use a range for months from the first to last page used.
  • Set up pages:
    • The first page is my priorities for this year.
    • The second (facing page) is My quilt to do list which includes the sizes of my finished quilts for reference. I use this all the time!
    • The next set of facing pages I’ve broken into four sections on each side. This is my future log. I have June-Dec (I started a new journal in May as I used up my previous one), and the last section is for 2018.
  • Month, daily logging and list pages:
    • Each month starts with a set of facing pages. On the left is the month at a glance calendar. On the right I put my goals at the top of the page, then I do a to do list for each week.
    • The daily logging pages are the usual, but I don’t migrate unfinished items until I turn to a new page and can’t see the items anymore.
    • I put my list pages in whenever I need them and add them to the index as per usual.

Do you use a Bullet journal or a Midori? How long have you been using your journal?

How I use my Bullet Journal

I started bullet journaling in October and it has been several months of figuring out what I like about the system and what doesn’t work for me.

A Weekly Spread
In October I started with the system as described plus I added a weekly spread and skipped daily logging. This meant that at the beginning of the month I had a month calendar page, a month to do list, and a weekly spread. I quickly figured out the weekly spread wasn’t going to work for me. I ran out of space on a few days, and had a few days that I didn’t use all of the space I had allocated. I did really like that I could put to do items onto future days though instead of into the general monthly to do list.

A Weekly to do list
Later in October I tried removing the weekly spread, adding a weekly to do, and adding daily logging. I liked the daily log a lot more than I thought I would. Having the weekly to do list also allowed me to write in things I had to remember for later in the week. After a few days I also decided not to migrate tasks daily. This took up too much time and left me repeating a few tasks for days at a time. Instead I switched to migrating daily tasks when I moved to a new page and could no longer see them at a glance.

Figuring out the right To Do list
In November I tried removing the monthly to do list. I found I was using the weekly one instead of the monthly, so why not toss the monthly! Instead I did a monthly calendar, and used the opposite side to hold goals etc. Then I had a new weekly page spread for each week of the month. It turned out that didn’t work for me either. The weekly and monthly pages all had too much space. It felt very inefficient.

In December I figured out what works for me

  • the six month future calendar.
  • the monthly calendar.
  • on the facing page I put my monthly goals and then start my weekly logs. If the logs run off this page I just move to the next blank page the way I would with daily logging.
  • daily logging, but I only migrate unfinished tasks when I move off that two page spread.
  • I do have a few lists on the go including – books I’ve read, funny things my son says, etc.

In the end the only real change I needed to make was to break the monthly to do list into weekly segments. Who knew such a small change would make such a big difference for me?

In an effort to keep my journal simple and uncluttered I’ve been sure not to include the following:

  • grocery lists. I keep a blank scrap notebook in my midori for this and other notes I don’t want/need to keep.
  • writing notes, ideas, and plotting stuff. I keep a notebook for each novel length project, with the current project’s notebook in my midori.
  • I was very careful in the beginning about what collections I started. I still have fewer than five list pages. Any more and I would struggle to keep track of them.

Do you use a bullet journal or other logging system? Have you ever tried a midori notebook to keep yourself organized?

October Goals

In September my goals were:

  1. Pick a project to work on from now until NaNo and stick to it! 5k this month. – Nope.
  2. Finish my Shoo Fly quilt top. I mostly just have to sew the rows together. – DONE!
  3. Create three detailed characters for my NaNo Novel. – DONE!
  4. Write up a detailed outline for my NaNo Novel idea. – half done

For number one I picked my YA Urban Fantasy Project. It was the project that called to me for submission to my critique group, and I really didn’t need three projects on the go at the same time. I did get some of the novel polished up enough to submit it for critique group, but I didn’t get any new words written.

For number four I have about the first third of the novel outlined, a bunch of ideas for the middle, and a good handle on the end.

My goals for October are:

  1. Get a sewing/writing area set up in the Study.
  2. Finish my NaNo novel outline.
  3. Make my travellers notebook.
  4. Use my bullet journal for the entire month.

What are your goals for October? Did you get everything done you wanted to in September?

Journals, Notebooks, and Organization

I have always loved notebooks. My love of notebooks probably comes from my father. He almost always carried a little notebook with him. When he passed away I found a little stash of notebooks ready and waiting for when he needed them. He used to write notes about books he wanted to read, articles he enjoyed, music he’d listened to, or things he wanted to do on his next trip. Basically he kept a running list of everyday stuff he found useful or handy.

In Jr. High and High school I kept a true journal or diary. I would write in my journal almost everyday. A lot of it was boring everyday things, but it helped keep my mind clear and remind me of what was important to me. It was a great place to let loose when I was angry and struggling to process events, or when I wanted to note a great accomplishment.

These days I use notebooks for writing, crafting, and to do lists. When I’m planing a new story I almost always have a notebook on the go. I start writing out the plot, character sketches, research topics, and random ideas about the story. A friend of mine introduced me to Bullet Journaling and I’ve been meaning to try it to help schedule and keep track of to do items.

My latest idea for journaling is to make myself a Midori Travelers notebook. The Midori brand version is a little too expensive for me, but the concept is fairly simple. My plan is to make a small one to be able to use Moleskine cahier pocket notebooks as inserts. This should allow me to have a bullet journal in one notebook, and another notebook (or two) for stories I have on the go.

Are you a notebook person? How do you organize your thoughts, to do lists, etc?