Sunday, January 15, 2017

Craft of Writing: Organize IT ALL!!! (Part 1)

A wise person once told me that to be successful with a large project, it is best to organize it like the storming of Normandy. I have to say, my Grandfather was right when he made that suggestion as I look at just how disorganized I have been over the last year with this blog and my other writing projects. As a result, I am spending the month of January organizing and planning how I am going to approach the rest of the year.

I am a bit late to the party with bullet journaling. That said, I am finding a modified version of this is helping me organize the rest of my life, so I am working out how to implement it in my writing. There is a staggering array of ways to do it and it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed with just all the different facets that you can customize. Just a quick search yielded over one million results. There is some schisms within the bullet journaling community on what the best type of notebooks to use are, how pretty you must make it, and what type of pens are best (among many, many other details).

I narrowed down my search to looking at how others were just dividing up tasks and such for their writing. That also netted me over one million results. (Google, you have a tremendous ability to find ALL THE THINGS. Don't stop being your glorious self!) I looked at the following and have developed something of a working understanding of how the process works.

Bullet Journal for Freelancers & Writers - Belle Cooper (Boho Berry)

Ms. Cooper set up some very nice examples of how she uses her bullet journal for her writing work. I was particularly impressed with how she kept track of all of her deadlines, invoices, and the publication status of her freelance work. It made a lot more sense than my pile of post-it notes and little scraps of paper taped to strategic points on the desk. She also mentioned something called 'sketch notes' which I thought was somewhat interesting. It is basically a combination of written text notes with small sketches associated with them. I like how it engages both aspects of the creative mind: visual and literary.

Bullet Journal: The (Writer's) Answer to Getting Thing Done - Jenni Myburgh (Jenni Myburgh)

Ms. Myburgh's post on bullet journals is fantastic. It is fantastic for two reasons. First, she gives very clear and concise descriptions of the concept and provides beautiful photos to illustrate them. Second, her examples show how they are truly very flexible tools and can be used for more than just staying on task with a single writing project.

Bullet Journal DOs and DON'Ts - Susanna (Zealous Mom)

Where the other two ladies gave very good advice on how to set up one's bullet journal, Ms. Susanna shares with us just what the experience of using one is like. It really was refreshing to see her very homey take on the topic and I also highly enjoyed how she was not shy about sharing what worked for her and what did not. It was good to see that people do have some difficulty starting out with this and that perfection is not the same thing as progress. And that your bullet journal needs not be Pinterest worthy to be effective.

I am still in the process of developing my lay outs and such for my own bullet journal-esque efforts. I will share more about that next week. I can tell you two things, however, about what I am doing. My first focus is on functionality and what is going to help me be most effective. I am saving artwork and other fun stuff for after I manage to get the whole process I am going to be using figured out. Secondly, I have a binder/folio/soft briefcase that I am using for my blogs and a separate one I am using for my novels. I am not going to limit myself to a tiny notebook that I can stash with my knitting. This is not because I need portability as much as I need something to keep track of everything and I have a whole lot of moving parts to keep track of. More space to work with is better for me. I have enough smaller notebooks I can dedicate to individual elements of things.

I may still be in a position where I must consider if buying stock in 3M and Mead (the people who make Post-It notes, notebooks, and filler paper for binders) is going to be something I should do or possibly get some sort of bulk rate on these things in a few months. But, I may have something more organized and easier to work with than the four inches of paper stacked up on and around the desk right now.

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