Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo

Did you know that I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since 2001?? Last year (2015) was the ONLY year I didn’t participate, and it was simply because we moved house and everything was too hectic to actually sit down and write. It’s a big regret because I am a passionate NaNoWriMo participant. The only problem is… I’ve only ever “won” one year.

If you’re not familiar with the NaNo concept, the idea is that every November, people around the world participate in a 30 day challenge to write a book in one month. Of course, your idea of a book may be different from mine, so the creators decided that they would have a word goal that would officially define what qualified as a book. 50,000 words. That’s 1667 words per day if you write every day. Believe it or not, 50,000 is a pretty small book, so chances are, your book wouldn’t even be complete if you hit the word goal. Nevertheless, that is what we strive for each year.

In 2013, I “won” by finally completing the word count within that 30 day span. Of course, the book only ended up half done, so I can’t really call myself a book writer yet.

This year, I am prepping early so that when November 1st rolls around, I will be ready! I am mapping out my book with a dedicated bullet journal system whereby I can refer to the pages for ideas, inspiration, character development and chronology. I’ll also be tracking my word count and progress through the book. I’m hoping that seeing the tracker fill up will keep me motivated when I inevitably lose steam.

So I thought I’d share my bullet journal ideas for anyone else who may want to participate and wants to see how the BuJo can be used.

First up, I brainstormed to come up with a list of pages I wanted to include in my Bullet Journal. They included the following (by the way, I’ve created printable NaNoWriMo Planning Pages you can buy in my Etsy Shop if you want them – photos below):

  • Daily Wordcount – Goal vs actual, plus the total running count and reflections on the day
    Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo
  • Progress Tracker – 1000 word increments that I can fill in as I goBullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo
  • Synopsis Page – A short written account of the book, such as you would see on the back of your favorite novel
    Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo
  • Character Development – One page dedicated to each character, featuring descriptions and all pertinent info about them
    Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo
  • Chronology Map – Several pages mapping out each event in the story so that we can make sure we stay on track (also includes backstory or things that may have happened before the start of the book)
  • Ideas/Notes/Brain Dump – I am constantly having new ideas I want to incorporate into the book, but I don’t necessarily remember them later. Having several pages dedicated to jotting down ideas, questions or notes will help me to keep track and follow up
    Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo
  • Chapter Title Ideas – Once chapters are written, it can be fun to figure out the perfect title for them
    Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo
  • Cover Ideas – Sometimes when you have writer’s block or get unmotivated about writing, it can be fun to get creative. Figuring out what you want your cover to look like can be a great way of keeping you creative
  • Inspiration Pages – Again, when writer’s block strikes, it’s nice to have pages you can refer to with quotes, writing exercises, doodles or other things that will help inspire you. I even like to write myself a pep talk to refer to so that I remember WHY I’m doing this
  • Background – Keeping track of any references I may need to refer to. Sometimes ideas don’t make it into a book, per se, but they can INFORM the book. It’s useful to be able to refer to it.
  • Scene Descriptions/Props – My book takes place in three different places, so I find it nice to know exactly what each place looks like and feels like so I can keep descriptions uniform throughout. And since my story is a quest story, the props are VERY important, and I like to keep information about them handy
  • Editor Notes – I don’t suggest editing your book as you go. It’s important to keep writing, no matter what. But sometimes you come to a later chapter and realize that you need to add something earlier in the book to help make what you’re doing clearer. Adding to your editor notes will remind you to add it without stopping you from moving forward with what you’re doing.
    Bullet Journaling for NaNoWriMo

For my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal, I am using a dotted A4 sized Leuchtturm 1917 journal. The larger size is easier for me to work with, and I don’t think I’d ever want such a large size for a personal BuJo, so it is perfect for my needs.

I’ve got quite a lot of it done so far, and I’m SO excited for November to roll around so I can really get to writing! Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Leave a comment with your user name and I’ll look you up on the site!

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Katie is a 34 year old professional mommy blogger who runs the popular site, A Mother Thing. She created this site as a fun distraction and to chronicle all of her more creative pursuits. She is too pop for the punk kids and too punk for the pop kids. She loves Doctor Who.