Number One With a Bullet (Journal)

For a long time, I resisted the term, “bullet journal.” I know one reason is that the word, “journal,” has always squicked me out, and I have no idea why. Ito does, though, but that’s what the thing I had already been doing for years before I found out that it was a thing, is called, so using the commonly accepted term means that I get to find more resources, and other people who share my interest. That’s not the point of this post, though. That’s me, babbling my way through a first paragraph, because a first paragraph means there is something on the page, and it is no longer blank. Boom. Writered.

The above paragraph is also me, not wanting to get up and retrieve the longhand notes I wrote for this entry while doing laundry yesterday, so I am relying on my undercaffeinated memory to get me through. After I’d stuffed a load of wet washing into the dryer, I asked myself what I could talk about, right now, that made me happy. The first thing that came to mind was this stuff:

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My forever loves

In the past, I’ve always set up binders the way I thought they should be formatted. I’d put together pretty papers, scrapbook paper to cover the section dividers, and have sections for story, hero, heroine, villain when needed, and miscellany, and then, the one thing that was uniform across the board. Never. Use. Them. For. Embarrasingly. Long. Periods. Of. Time. Sometimes, forever. Obviously, this approach Does Not Work. For me. It probably works perfectly for somebody else.

For me, instead of a useful tool, I get aesthetically pleasing monuments to failure. I love setting up the notebooks, and looking through them, and thinking of what I could put in there, which actually does a lot for y creative process, but using the books themselves? Not so much.

When I first stumbled upon the traveler’s notebook system, aka a bunch of smaller notebooks inside one unifying cover,, bells rang, angels sang, and the same thing clicked as the thing that clicked when I hid under the brass bed in the guest bedroom, with the copy of The Kadin, that I’d filched from my mother’s nightstand. Yes. This. So what’s the difference?

I’m still trying to figure that out. The main physical difference is that the traveler’s notebook inserts aren’t held in my brings, but by elastic bands, and all I have to do is slip in notebooks that are already made, in whatever format and configuration I want. Now that we are at almost-October, I am looking at setting up next year’s notebooks, which has me thinking about how I can use this with my writing, as well.

For 2018, my writing tracker consisted entirely of one question: did you write? I would tick this box immediately after writing my morning pages. Achievable goals for the win, pun intended. For 2019, I want to go farther, do more. The question is, how? What do I want to track? Okay, that’s two questions, but still, that’s been on my mind. Do I want to track word count, which is the usual thing, or so it seems, or do I want to find some other method that might work better for me? Number of pages per day? Time spent composing and/or editing? Percentage of the way toward my goal, be it word count, page count, chapter count, calendar date? I may start with all of them, and see what sticks.

One of the beauties of the traveler’s notebook system, is that it’s perfect for frustrated perfectionists.  For added flexibility, I prefer using erasable pens and highlighters. I have heard that Frixion also makes erasable markers, but if I fall down that rabbit hole, I may not be heard from again in the foreseeable future.

I’m looking at how I want to track my inspirations, as well, For this past year, I’ve logged pages read, and titles/authors, but, for the year ahead, I think I want to do more. I’m not sure in what sense, but I like the idea of following the bunny trails of things I like, and to see what elements of the books I keep coming back to, time and again. I have some time to figure thig out, try a few different layouts, for both content and aesthetics.

More information is always good, and keeping track of what’s going on, and how it’s going, allows me to notice patterns that I might not have noticed before. When do I do my best writing? When do I need to refill? What refills me the best? The idea of starting some sort of notebook setup for ongoing projects, so that I have everything in one place, gets me excited. As in can’t wait to get to it, excited.

Which is where I like to be, especially when I need a creative kick in the patoot. Does it mean this is a magic shortcut? Not by ay means, but it feels like me, and I will take that, any day of the week.

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