Welcome to my process video for my February 2021 author bullet journal spread!
Last month (January 2021), my theme was Antsi the fire squirrel from my science fantasy duology Cursed Hands. These are the finished pages from that month. As you can see, I didn't use my calendar to the best of its abilities, something that I plan to fix in my February calendar.
Also, my idea of color-coded boxes to designate certain writing-related tasks was just a pain in the neck. I never wanted to fuss with, like, 12 different colors, so I decided that I'm going to use my favorite app, Toggl, for task-tracking and instead put my spreads to a different use.
I'm sharing my ACTUAL social media numbers not because they're great (as you can see, I'm not the world's most popular writer on the internet), but I'm sharing these because (A) maybe someday I'll be as cool as Brandon Sanderson and it will be valuable to look back at my humble beginnings and (B) even if I never get that popular, it's still a privilege to share my stories with you all!
The spread for "the unexpected good" is something I'm going to retire from future spreads. This is my brand for inspirational nonfiction for Christian women, and that would be better left for another bullet journal or notebook.
And, as always, I do a short evaluation to determine what worked, what didn't, and to celebrate my little milestones.
Moving on to February, my month's theme is Paul Graff's office/consulting space and "magical books" from my futuristic story Immersion. If you signed up for my email list, you may have received a free version of Immersion as a thank you gift. This version is a novella but I have always felt that the story was too short and the world was too big. But at the time that I published it, I had done the best I knew how by the story and was happy with it.
I'm like Edna Mode from The Incredibles: "I never look back, dahling. It distracts from the now." There's a rule amongst writers: Don't go back and rewrite an already published book. You can tinker forever on an old idea instead of forging ahead with new paths. And, if you tinker enough, you might even ruin the beauty of the original work.
I agree 95% with this. The other 5%... Well, they're for books like Immersion.
Recently, I was reading Andrew Peterson's beautiful book Adorning the Dark, all about faith, creativity, real life, and how all of it intersects in this mysterious, marvelous way that touches hearts through book, song, and art. As I was reading, the story of Immersion came sharply into focus for me, with all the extra chapters and the passionate pursuit of Paul Graff to redeem his writing gift from the hungry jaws of commercialism. It's not a Hallmark story--it's way too raw for that--but I suddenly saw how my own questions were Paul's and how my own story paralleled Paul's.
I knew the story of Immersion at last.
So that's why my February theme deals with magical books (because in Paul's world, books are a little bit magical) and a cozy office space (because that's where Paul meets with potential clients to discuss the commissions they have for him).
By the way, my husband's name is Paul. I named my main character Paul loooong before I met my husband, and it's a little funny for me working with a character who is so different from the real-life Paul. Paul in real-life is bold and humorous and passionate and spontaneous. Paul in the book is introverted, diplomatic, arrogant, and methodical.
Anyway, Paul Graff (not Paul-my-husband) writes these custom stories that are "immersive," which means that the readers basically live through a virtual reality, a sensory experience, while they are reading the story. It's so powerful that the stories can even change the readers (though Paul doesn't realize this yet). Paul discovers the power of fiction as the story progresses and realizes that it's a double-edged sword. Sometimes it makes reality better and sometimes it makes reality a whole lot worse. More on all that later as I keep working through my expansion from novella to novel!
Note: If you're a supporter on my Patreon page, you get access to the full process video in which I read the first few chapters of Immersion. For $1 a month, it's great fun!
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I write YA/adult fantasy & sci-fi that explores fantastic new worlds, with stories that burn through the darkest realities with hope and redemption.
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