In this blog post: I've started a writing bullet journal for planning my novels and content. Video of the set-up process and lots of pictures.
Hey, welcome to my FIRST EVER writing journal/planner spread. If you are new, or just don't know this about me, I love bullet journaling (click here to learn more about bullet journaling) and have been experimenting with it since January 2018.
I wish I had discovered bullet journaling years earlier, because this planner process is so flexible and enjoyable that it has helped me to become more productive and creative than ever before. Plus I've had a safe space in which to practice my very minimal artistic skills and to improve upon them, to the point where today I am now more confident in sharing. I'm not an artist by any means, but I sure enjoy myself, so in the interest of inspiring any of you out there who are also just barely artistic and want to see what you can do, here you are!
A lot of bullet journal enthusiasts, like me, take their audience through a time-lapse video of their artistic process as they beautify their planners, and that's what I'm sharing with you today. Watch the video or keep scrolling to read about my set-up theme and see pictures of my spreads.
In past years, I've had a bullet journal for everything--my general life, my writing, my future planning, my health tracker, etc.
Well, this year I decided to do something different and make my writing journal separate from my everyday journal.
This way, I can dive deeper into planning my fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as my extra content, such as things like this video and all the fun extras that I put together for my supporters on Patreon.
So what you're seeing here is the set-up for my quote and cover page for January 2021. The theme for this month is my fire squirrel from my science fantasy duology. (Science fantasy being a mix of futuristic technology and urban settings, along with ancient, supernatural powers.)
Antsi the fire squirrel is a huge part of the story, not only because he is kind of the catalyst for my main character to start uncovering secrets that have been hidden since the Great War, but he's also a bit of comic relief in an otherwise really intense and somewhat dark storyline. I like stories that dive deep into hard questions, but I don't like it to be ALL dark and difficult, so I need something like a trouble-making fire squirrel with an attitude and special powers to liven things up a bit.
Cursed Hands is a duology--that means that is a two-book series--and here's the two-sentence summary of it:
Everyone in Trey's world wears the black gloves, their only safeguard against the nightmare images of The Memory. When Trey rescues a mysterious creature, the power of its gaze unlocks memories that force Trey to choose between loyalty and freedom, between wearing the gloves--or being rid of them forever.
The quote on my cover spread really captures the main conflict of the story, as the main character wrestles with the fact that the truth doesn't always offer easy answers, but it can't be ignored.
Then I based my cover art of the fire squirrel off of the amazing art done by Mel Cabre, who I follow on Instagram and who I commissioned to do special art featuring my fire squirrel. The high-quality version of the art is available to my Patreon supporters this month as a thank-you for sticking with me. So, Mel did a fantastic job of making Antsi look cool, and I was so inspired that I wanted to copy down her concept into my journal as a reminder that the things in my head are becoming more real all the time. I mean-- I finally have concept art by a real artist! How cool is that?
So in this spread I am using a Sakura Micron fineliner to make all my black words and lines and to outline everything. Then I'm using my Zebra mildliner highlighters to add some color, and then lightening things up a bit with my number 10 Gellyroll white gel pen.
I did a flourescent peach color for the background color of the fire squirrel, to create that bright, almost fiery quality, and then I layered over it in gold, apricot, vermilion, and red, just getting those deeper tones and a very minimal sense of shading. I added some sparkles here to the tail and highlighted individual hairs. I was trying to make it look like sparks coming off his fur. I don't think I actually achieved that look, but I let it be. It's not too bad.
Then I have a calendar to help me keep straight all the content that's going on social media, or to remind myself of deadlines for my novel writing, because without deadlines it's hard to stay focused on what I'm supposed to aim for.
I also have a daily calendar; you'll notice that I don't have dates for every single day in the month, because I have planned days off, specifically Sundays. I just find I work better with that time to recharge. I also have a color code for marking which days I did what activity; I think in future videos I'll show what these spreads look like after I've used them for a month, so you see my system in action, because it's hard to explain without seeing it in use. Then I have blank space for putting down my general to-do list, with things to learn or try... I love experimenting. I get bored doing the same things all the time.
The next spread is for writing down a line that I think is just cool. It's a way of celebrating my little wins from the day's writing and to inspire myself with my best writing, because not everything I write is radiating with brilliance, so I like to appreciate the bits that aren't drivel.
I didn't quite know what to to put on this spread, since I don't have a firm plan for my other writing brand, which is inspiration for Christian women as opposed to general-market fantasy and sci-fi, so I just went extra artistic on this.
Finally, I like to evaluate my month and see where I can improve and celebrate those things that I actually did well at. Sometimes I forget how much I have actually accomplished until I put it all down in one place.
And there you have it, my January 2021 fire squirrel themed bullet journal set-up!
If you're a supporter on Patreon, you can watch the longer version of this set-up while I talk a bit about the series and read an excerpt from the story that features the fire squirrel in action.
Check it out!
If you like something I wrote here, you are free to share/quote it with credit and a link back to the original page on my website.
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I write YA/adult fantasy & sci-fi that explores fantastic and interconnected worlds, with stories that burn through the darkest realities with hope and redemption.
Learn more here!