clhollandwriter: (Default)
Six (nearly seven) months in and my Bullet Journal is still going strong.

I've made a couple of changes to the format. Instead of writing a daily log every day I do a weekly spread. It allows me to park weekend tasks on those days, from the beginning of the week, instead of having to either remember them or carry them through every day until I get to the point I can actually do them. It also means less disruption of my routine on the days when I can't check the journal over breakfast (early starts where I have to eat at my desk, for example), since I don't have to prep the log every day.

I've started putting in a deadline calendar each month, but only for the current month. Future deadlines are still going in my diary, along with appointments. It's a little clunky having two books, but the way I look at it is the diary is for the future (and I can leave it at home) and the journal is for now. I don't think I'm quite ready to abandon the traditional diary yet.

I'm still scrapbooking in the back (and a note for future journals is that pritt stick might be better for this than staples!). My Beadhaul comes with a leaflet showing all the beads included, so I've added that as well. So far I've only made a pair of earrings. I've got ideas for a couple of other things but I'm not sure I can translate the ideas out of my head at this point.

It hasn't helped much with my writing, but I think there's a larger issue of balance there, rather than being disorganised. Overall I'm getting more of the day to day things done that used to slip under the radar, so it's definitely working. The only problem is I'm bored with the notebook now and ready for a new one!
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's been a month since I started using a bullet journal, so I thought it was time for an update.

I'm still using and loving it. It's helped to keep me organised, and remember to do things that would otherwise slip off the radar. The only thing that's missing is submission deadlines, since they're in the diary I bought last year. As I suspected it's becoming a pain having two separate planners, so I'm going to start putting the deadlines into the bullet journal too. Maybe not all of them to start with, just the ones I've actually decided to write for, but that could change. We'll see how it goes.

I've started using the back as a scrapbook for ticket stubs and the like. There's only a ticket for Rogue One at the moment, but I'm sure it'll fill up over the year. Again, I don't want more than one notebook on the go.

I managed to write three pieces of flash in January but two of them are probably going straight in the oubliette. It's not a great start to #12for12, but I think the other's salvageable so there's that.


Jan. 15th, 2017 10:00 am
clhollandwriter: (Default)
As part of my plan to get my writing more organised I've signed up for #12For12 - twelve stories in twelve months. The rules are flexible, so I'm choosing to interpret them as a finished story a month. Since I'm trying to build up an inventory of longer stories only three of them can be flash fiction. I'm currently trying to clear out my inventory of older unfinished stories, so I expect a few of those to creep in, but I also want to produce new work. (I've got something in the works at the moment, but don't expect that to be finished until February.)

I'm trying not to think too much about publication at this point. What's important is to get it written.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I haven't made new year's resolutions, as such - since we're a low fat, low alcohol household for reasons of health, giving up things seems both redundant and likely to be miserable. But I try to start the year by having a clear out, and making plans for the months ahead.

Last year I posted about my motivational stickers, which worked up to a point, but this year I need something else to help keep me organised. Since I tend to carry a notebook around anyway, I've decided to give bullet journal a try. It's a sort of combination of all-purpose notebook and diary, so will hopefully allow me to keep track of things.

I particularly like the idea of indexing, to keep track of several projects at once. I've written up the suggested format, including the diary logs, although I already have a diary so may use that instead rather than scheduling things into the journal. I bought Mslexia's writers' diary, and want to get the use out of it. Plus every week has a handy blank page, in which I write all the interesting submission deadlines for that week (whether or not I've decided to write for them). I think that might clog up a bullet journal, since so many of the deadlines whoosh by Douglas Adams style - even with the best of intentions I can't write for all of them!

So I'll probably keep the diary for deadlines and appointments, and use the journal to keep track of writing projects, noodling, and those things I plan to do but haven't scheduled yet. I'm halfway to using that format anyway.

Amanda Hackwith has this interesting blog post about how she customised the format to fit with her writing life. I'll probably do something similar, although the colour coding seems like a bit much effort. I can always put my stickers in, instead.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I was chatting with some writer buddies the other day, and realised that I'm really bad at motivating myself to write longer works. I can manage flash (although even that's touch and go these days) but anything longer and I really struggle.

A large part of this is that I write best if I can get my first draft down in one or two sittings, while the idea is fresh in my mind. However writing around work often means dragging things out for days, even weeks for longer stories, snatching ten minutes on the bus or an hour at lunch. I can't sustain that for anything longer than a few thousand words before I lose momentum.

The longer projects I have managed - "The Reflection of Memory", and two completed runs at NaNoWriMo - were written under very different circumstances to normal. "The Reflection of Memory" was written in an online writing group, where some friends and I got together with the goal of submitting to that quarter of Writers of the Future. There were deadlines and a supportive atmosphere. My first run at NaNoWriMo was completed on excitement and pure adrenaline, and continued with a similar online group which formed to finish novels. Unfortunately the group breaking up, and the realisation I had no idea what was behind my plot, stalled that project. My second run at NaNoWriMo ended on 30th November and 53,000 words. That one was also run on adrenaline, and also silliness as I'd promised myself a terrible fantasy trope every 1000 words.

Unfortunately the dedication required for NaNoWriMo (1667 words a day, or some seriously long weekends) just isn't sustainable in the long term, at least for me.

My work schedule gives me some long mornings, and some long afternoons (with the other end of the day being correspondingly short). I might try spending my long afternoons writing, so I can give it a couple of hours, and then use the long mornings for revising or sending submissions out. I need to try something to fit with the work hours.

I'm considering doing research in October, and then NaNoWriMo in November, although I suspect that way madness lies.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
I've been quite productive since coming back from Swanwick, at least I have this week. I've written over 2000 words on a new project, mostly in the evenings but a little during my lunch breaks. It's not the project I'm supposed to be working on, the one with the deadline, but words are words.

Back in January I posted about using stamps and stickers for motivation. I'm still doing it, although I've refined the requirements a little. Anything that actively moves a project forward gets a stamp now, rather than just words, so outlining and research also count. Lots of words gets a sticker, not just finishing a project, and epic days - such as the timeI managed 650 words on a work day - get a flying unicorn sticker.

For all that I had a rough week at Swanwick, it did its job in making me feel enthusiastic about writing again. It's amazing what you pick up even when you're not aware of it. I bought a book from the second-hand table, The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner, which is a sort of chatty memoir advice for writers sort of thing. That prompted me to buy a bunch of other writing books, most of which have been sitting an an Amazon wishlist for months, and some of which were recommended by other Swanwickers (or were in the pile of books they picked up). I may have overdone it a little, as I now have a stack of seven or eight of them to read. But it's nice to have someting to read in the bus, since I don't particularly like writing there, which at least keeps me thinking about writing.
clhollandwriter: (block)
Last year was a bit of a bust in terms of writing. It was a year of infinite variety in terms of the dayjob - new role and schedule that started the back end of 2014, and then training for a new job. My boyfriend got a new job too, which meant a change to his schedule that took some getting used to.  As a result I had pretty much no brain for anything else the whole year.

This year, although I'm still working my way through the training period for the new job, I want to get back on track. The problem is getting motivated, because there's always something that needs doing around the house, or I just don't feel like writing. Tracking wordcount doesn't work, I just end up feeling demoralised at never doing enough. Plus anything involving spreadsheets is useless, as I actually have to turn on the computer and open the document to get any benefit. So this year I had to find something else to motivate me.

I've gone for rubber stamps and stickers. Any day I write I get a garden-themed stamp on my calendar. It doesn't matter if I've only written a few sentences, as long as I've actively worked on a project. Blogging counts for this, as otherwise I wouldn't, but only my regular Tuesday posts. If I finish a first draft, I get an owl sticker. If I polish a draft and get it submission-ready, I get a cat sticker. Blogging doesn't count toward stickers.

It seems to be working so far. I've worked on a particular story project most days, finished a piece of flash, almost completed a poem draft, and am about to start working on editing a piece. Not only does it satisfy my inner twelve year old, but it also gives me a visual record of what I've achieved that isn't reliant on achieving arbitrary numbers. I do enough of that at work - which, thinking about it, is probably why I'm so resistant to doing it in my writing as well.

And, of course, when I run out of stickers, I can treat myself to more!

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