Let’s talk about notebooks for Bullet Journals

I’ve been keeping a bullet journal and adapting the techniques to my own life for now over a year. At least. I’m needing a new journal so I thought I’d do more research this time around.

Previously, I’ve used the official Bullet Journal, a Leuchtturm1917, and a Rhodia webnotebook. All of these have the dot grid style page. Rhodia has 90 gsm weight paper but the Bullet Journal and Leuchtturm both have 80 gsm weight paper (since Bullet Journal is made by Leuchtturm) and that’s not think enough for me. I really like the index and page numbers in the Leuchtturm but it’s not worth the trade off of thinner paper for me. I seem to have a heavy hand and prefer liquid ink. Though I’m also having a great experience with a Faber Castell artist pen. I would get another Rhodia except it has the least number of sheets (96), which is slightly offset by being able to use every page, but it seemed best to check my options.

I’ve also been using a pocket thing slipped over the front of the notebook to hold pens/etc. I could switch things up and attach this to my doctor appointment tracking journal instead. Especially since I’ve started favoring different pens in different journals. (I favor a lined book for that notebook but that’s another post.)

Thank you to the random people who wrote up great blog posts about what they thought were different options. Through a few google searches I found more notebooks than these listed here. Call this selection the finalists.

Rhodiarama Soft Cover Notebook – pretty, very pretty. The slightly larger size would probably offset the fewer sheets (80), but still these are kind of expensive. I love the paper in Rhodia books too – the look, feel on my hand, and how it handles ink.

Miquelrius Soft Bound Medium Journal, 300 Sheets/600 Graph Pages – The paper weight is only at 70 so I would definitely only be able to use one side of the sheet but it’s more sheets! Overall, I’m still getting more pages than the other notebooks I’ve tried. But, I’m not sure a fountain pen wouldn’t bleed through multiple pages and I’d like to be able to go back to using my fountain pen(s) more since they are (more) comfortable.

Northbooks Dots Hardcover Notebook – Then I found this one. It seems simple enough and has all requirements. The 89 gsm paper should fit my requirements and the 96 sheets are ok. But there’s nothing compelling here.

And I think this one is the winner:

Essentials Grid-lined Notebook – It has 100 gsm paper! Also, while doing my research I realized I’d like to try grid-lined instead of dot grid. It only has 192 pages but it’s $12.99 (full retail from manufacturer) which is a significant enough difference to make it more attractive than a Rhodia. Also, maybe the binding is better?

Tangent:

When looking up the Essentials Grid-lined Notebook on the Peter Pauper Press’ website I discovered log books that might be relevant to my interests. Daily Food Journal which could be used for symptoms for nailing down food sensitivities. The Book Lover’s Journal which might be something I want to help me remember books I’ve read. I’m not sure about the Daily Food Journal though, maybe just save it for the future. I’m more tempted by the book log book.

Maybe I’ll make another post when I investigate new tips for my Lamy fountain pens and find some alternatives to the ribbon bookmarks common in this style of notebook.

November 2016 My NaNoWrimo

How did my NaNoWriMo go? I wrote almost 28,000 words. I’m very happy with what I accomplished but I am a little sad I didn’t “win” with the 50,000 words. My month was also way crazier than I wanted/hoped for.

Accomplishments:

  1. I wrote 27,871 words of a novel. It was not my original idea, I changed my mind and then did not have enough time to do much outlining. That’s 27,871 words I’m still willing to look at and add to in December instead of just wanting to ignore the hideous conglomeration of ideas that may or may not belong together.
  2. I finally have my own personal set up in Scrivener for novel’ing, especially during NaNoWriMo – or when I don’t have that much outlined. I have to figure out how to make it a template and also update the character templates with more information/options.
  3. I started with clearer more fleshed out characters and what I wrote is less of a disaster and more of the start of something I can manage to finish.
  4. I can write 800 words a day fairly reliably regardless of how crappy or tired or exhausted I feel, as long as I have a decent outline or an idea of where to start.
  5. Stayed sane and didn’t freak out about my trailing word count.

What else I did in November:

  1. Attended a Lindsey Sterling concert. She’s a fabulous performer. She’s intelligent, funny, adorable, and down to Earth. She’s great with a violin too. I recommend her youtube channel for writing. Great music and something you can also watch if you happen to get stuck or need a break.
  2. Saw Dr. Strange. It was still a typical Marvel movie and therefore good and worth watching again because it was entertaining. However, I think the Dr Strange character was flat compared to other heroes in the Marvel universe, and other characters could have also had more depth/detail. I feel like the characters suffered because they needed more screen time for all the neat special effects.
  3. Saw Arrival. Fantastic movie! I cannot currently remember the title of the story it’s based on but I have it on kindle now and need to read it. I’m pretty sure Arrival inspired me to add some things to my novel. (I can’t remember now.) I recommend this movie, especially because it had a female character trying very hard to keep the world from going to shit (further).
  4. Took one of our cats to the vet. Discovered she has a tumor pressing on things in her neck. This is not good news but it’s probably not cancer at least.
  5. I had five different doctor appointments that were all specialists. In my experience specialist appointments always take longer. One appointment took 4 hours from the day – but was very productive. Another appointment took less than an hour from the day but was horrible and stressful and I cried in the car. (not going back there) There was also an appointment that involved receiving trigger point injections in my neck – much needed – but resulted in no computer use that day.
  6. I had two physical therapy appointments. Those last an hour.
  7. Learned the counselor I’ve been seeing for therapy for at least the last two years is on medical leave until further notice. Well, I had a lot of shit happen in October and was really looking forward to the counseling appointment I had scheduled the first week of November. Scheduled with a new counselor who may or may not work out for me.
  8. I had two chiropractic appointments. These were my first two ever appointments with chiropractor (and receiving acupuncture).
  9. There was, I think, two different visits to labs for blood work.
  10. There was getting a haircut and some shopping too.
  11. Read some comics and finished reading Ready Player One. The book was not amazing but it was solid. I enjoyed the world and plot, and the author’s attention to small details. I recommend it.)
  12. I dealt with six different migraines or headaches. None were severe so I would have averaged “losing” half a day and not being able to accomplish much. Severe migraines are losing 1 to 4 or more days to pain management.
  13. Went to knitting group twice because socializing is health, at least in small chunks and getting out of the house for something besides going to the pharmacy, grocery store, or doctors is vital to your sanity.
  14. I finished a number of knitting projects, including a baby gift for a previous coworker. (Good people receive hand knit gifts.)
  15. I re-visited/re-tried a coffee shop that’s not $tarbucks and managed more than one writing session outside of the house. yay!
  16. Of course there was Thanksgiving.
  17. And how could I forget Election Day and the rest of the week and being sad and scared about the unknown coming for the next who knows how many months or years. Will I lose my health insurance? Will I lose any rights or access because I’m a woman or will I be safe because I’m white (and married)? Will any of my friends be in more danger because they are different?
  18. Then there was a few days with major weather changes that affected my ability to focus because of causing me more pain and other similar problems.
  19. Started a few new knitting projects too, including some gift projects that aren’t on ravelry yet. (I should fix that.)

So, that was some exciting stuff, some totally normal stuff, and eleven medical/health related appointments. I had wanted to keep this month clear of doctor appointments and I hoped for less headaches. Neither happened. Basically, I had wanted no more than two appointments each week.

After four different doctor appointments this week, time spent with a friend, and time spent with my husband outside of the house (dinner, shopping, etc.) – I guess there’s no surprise that I am TIRED. Fatigued. Exhausted. Sore. I plan to spend December focusing more on knitting. I have three (smaller) gift knits and I want to swatch for my first adult sized sweater (for myself!)

NaNoPrep 2016

Or a place to put more #nanoprep resources so they’ll be all in one spot. I’ve found some more resources this year. Less inspiration, more application perhaps?

Here’s my nanoprep list from last year.

Nanoprep official on nanowrimo official site. Here let me say official one more time.

I read somewhere about different types Nanowrimo writers and that post made me really curious about “worksheets.” oh hey, I found it. 5 types of NaNoWrimo Participants and your tools.

I found this writing site via searching for some Nano prep worksheets.  Here’s a specific nanoprep post I found useful. And a NaNoWrimo 2016 calendar! It’s in color but it seems ok when I printed it in black and white.

I love Janice Hardy’s approach to preparation and developing your idea into a novel. I have her book and she does some Nanoprep stuff on her blog too.

Free resources for writers from Word Hunter

Plot development worksheets! from/collected by Iconoclastic Writer

This site called “Geeks and Geeklets” seems great, for more than just NaNoWriMo too. I just discovered it. I don’t understand the rules for being in good standing to access some of their info though, just so you know that’s a thing.

Another Iconoclastic Writer post that might be useful

NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning your Novel’s beginning by Janice Hardy: I think I’ll actually use something like to keep me focused on the first section of the story and then when I have my word count for this I know how to pace the rest of the story. I wonder how likely I’ll be to actually stick with this!

I think this post is finished?

 

It’s easier to edit something that I wrote in acts, not chapters 

I’m editing, or attempting to anyways, my unfinished story from NaNoWriMo 2013. I had started editing it in 2014 and I didn’t get far. This is my planned project for Camp NaNoWriMo for July 2016.

In 2013 I used the chapter set up to write/organize what I was writing – in Scrivener. I wish past me had never read about using the 20 chapter route for story writing, especially while pantsing. So I have added the three folders representing each act of the story into the “top” of Scrivener. I’m also going to try identifying each part of each act in my own words because either all my teachers have lied to me, or that’ll help. Here’s what I have so far….

  • Act 1
    • Introductions all around
    • Inciting event
    • What’s the plan?
  • Act 2
    • Roll initiative
    • Midpoint reversal
    • Surprise! A lot of shit hits a fan
  • Act 3
    • The (new) plan to save the world
    • Climax
    • Clean up

I will welcome our nanobot overlords

Someday we will have nanobots and you won’t have to wait for your body to get over a cold. The nanobots will fix it. Everyone’s immune systems and bodies will work so much better but then, there will be a nanobot uprising. The nanobots will eventually take over because they have infiltrated everywhere. Except some people will welcome the nanobot overlords and become human conspirators in the great nanobots war. Finally, the human conspirators, all the chronically ill and disabled who cannot be fixed by human doctors, will rise up and rule all the world.

*Inspired by a conversation with my husband this morning

Final Update: Preparing for Nanowrimo

Final list

WHY YOU SHOULD DO NANOWRIMO… AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T (It amused me to go ahead and copy the blog post title from Chuck Wendig’s blog to be all in caps here.)

The actual prep page on the NaNoWriMo website

Outlining options according to Chuck Wendig – This is a very useful post.

Some very very serious prep, something for every day of the month of October – I’ve only used this as a guideline so far.

A guide to writing awesome characters by Chuck Wendig – need to read this still but I know it’ll be useful

How to guide – outlining in Scrivener – I need to remember this website exists.

Free e-book (pdf) – Nano for the New and the Insane: A NaNoWriMo Survival Guide – I’ve only started reading this

Courtesy of Janice Hardy’s Fiction University:

Planning Your Novel’s Beginning

Planning your Novel’s Middle

And her book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure; A step-by-step guide to turning your idea into a novel – this book has helped me a TON

Scrivener keyboard shortcuts

Short list from “for the Dummies” that shows Mac and Windows

Better list for Mac

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

I’ll add to this as I come across more:

The actual prep page on the NaNoWriMo website

Outlining options according to Chuck Wendig – This is a very useful post.

Some very very serious prep, something for every day of the month of October – I’ve only used this as a guideline so far.

A guide to writing awesome characters by Chuck Wendig – need to read this still but I know it’ll be useful

How to guide – outlining in Scrivener – I need to remember this website exists.

Free e-book (pdf) – Nano for the New and the Insane: A NaNoWriMo Survival Guide – I’ve only started reading this

Courtesy of Janice Hardy’s Fiction University:

Planning Your Novel’s Beginning

Planning your Novel’s Middle

And her book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure; A step-by-step guide to turning your idea into a novel – this book has helped me a TON

Scrivener keyboard shortcuts

Short list from “for the Dummies” that shows Mac and Windows

Better list for Mac

Writing Advice for Chronically Sick People

Everyone likes writing advice. I would bet every single published writer with a presence online has been asked about how to write or how to be a writer more times than they can count, or remember, or forget.

What’s been impossible for me to find advice for is writing and writing goals for people who cannot write every day or cannot write a lot every day because of their health. Finally, I realized, after months of reading online and trying to make myself fit into someone else’s routine, that the only reasonable advice is:

Find what works for you.

If you really want to write, it’ll happen. It might not happen every day or every week. Your health is more important than the next 1000 words. No buts. It just is.

I’ve been fighting myself trying to find a way to write. I joined Camp Nano again for April thinking it would be the motivation I needed to write. Well, most days I had no idea what to write, no focus to think through writing, or no energy after I finished the other things that needed done that day. Maybe this is what made me realize that someone else’s routines and goals won’t help me…. or at least I better have planned out exactly what I’m doing to be able to succeed for something like Nanowrimo or Camp Nano(wrimo).

Things I’ve learned:

1. It’s okay to not write every day.

2. Sometimes you can just think about writing.

3. Reading is good too.

4. Finding ways to brainstorm a little at a time is helpful. For example, I’ve started brainstorming a story idea on notecards. I have lots of notecards and write down a simple thing on each notecard.

5. There are days where you have to take care of yourself and rest and writing just won’t happen. If you can’t decide if you want to go back to bed after breakfast, you probably won’t be writing. Or maybe you’ll be writing after you take a nap.

How I use notecards/plan to use them: When I’m ready to actually sit down and write, I can grab one notecard at a time. I don’t need to start writing with chapters in mind. A first draft, or a pre-first draft, or a zero draft is just that… the very beginnings of a novel. The baby novel. The not ready to meet the world yet novel.

This advice works for everyone, but I think it’s especially important for anyone who is chronically sick or chronically ill and has to “count their spoons” to get through every day.

 

Camp NaNo starts in 2 hours

First month of Camp NaNo starts tomorrow – or in two hours since it’ll be midnight in about two hours for me.

I have no idea what to do about it or not to do about it. I haven’t been able to write because of health issues and, well, stuff. My health problems make it very very difficult to write long periods of time and regularly.

I can’t figure out how to give myself goals to get back into writing either.

I know I have this vague idea for writing a story/book/something where the world has zombies and magic and the/a protagonist is a woman who’s awesome at fighting zombies and just plain awesome.

Oh, hey. How did I manage to go like a whole month with no blog posts? What’s up with that?!

Look, a badger! with a gun!

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

After being sick with a sinus infection for the first week or so of November, I’ve now been working on NaNoWriMo. When not being part of NaNoWriMo I’ve been knitting or going to doctor appointments.

Blog will probably continue to be quiet through the end of the month.

I need to figure out a way to blog, work on my writing, and work on the type of writing on writing websites that will make me bits and pieces of spare change.

That way needs to not just rely on my memory since my memory is shit.

My Go Fund me page is still around. It’s still depressing and needing some love.

Reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo

  1. Kickstart my creativity. I’ve been stuck in self-doubt and self-editor mode
  2. Step out of my comfort zone.
  3. Have to make some creative decisions
  4. Practice
  5. Face my fear of not succeeding because I haven’t succeeded at either Camp NaNoWriMo event this year
  6. Practice – yes, it’s so important I’m listing it twice
  7. I have time
  8. I have ideas
  9. If I’m going to be a writer I need to find the time, energy, and focus to write, somewhere, somehow.
  10. Have a deadline (the whole point of NaNoWriMo)

Does that mean I should go for it? hmmm. I think I’m leaning towards yes. Reasons to not participate in NaNoWriMo are basically one large word, followed by a few smaller words.
Health. Sanity. Stress

Writing Prompt idea

If you’re having a difficult time coming up with something to start writing or even a way to add something exciting to a larger plot – like a novel… then here’s an idea for you.

Start a list of all things, people, places and whatever that you have experienced which you could use as inspiration to write.

Don’t stop until you have at least fifty. Keep this list where you can find it again. So far, I’ve got 62.

Things and Stuff

This is a blog post about how I wish I had something to say because I’d like to write but lately there has been NOTHING.

I’m a bit numb because of everything going on with my health. Adding in more drugs. Having to do more things. Beginning to feel trapped at home.

While at the same time feeling like I need to get out of the house for a writing session to get back into writing. But, hey, this counts as writing!

I’m running out of time to decide if I’m going to participate in Camp NaNo in July – and what I’m going to write. I could “pants” something or I could start outlining something. No idea.

Numbness makes creativity difficult to process.

Being sick sucks when you’re already ill

I think the English language does not have enough words to explain things like sickness, illness, disease, infection, and the difference between chronic and acute. To me being sick is acute, like having an infection. Illness is chronic, like disease. So, when I have a kidney infection that means I’m sick on top of being ill since I have 2 chronic illnesses. (Or 3, does asthma count as a chronic illness?)

Same goes for pain. Acute pain and chronic pain are two entirely different animals too.

I suspect some people also only consider people sick if they are contagious. All of my problems are practically invisible right now.

The worst part? My chronic illnesses cause cognitive problems and being sick saps my energy even more.

I just want to be able to work on one of my writing projects but it’s been so long I can’t remember what I had planned, where I was, or where I was headed. Writers say write every day, well, I’d like to meet a writer with a chronic illness who still writes every day, regardless. Some days I’m lucky I can function.

First Attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo: Semi Useful

I see I have a blog post about my plan to do Camp NaNoWriMo (for the first time) but no blog post about what happened. Basically, health problems meant I didn’t meet my goal. Between multiple doctor appointments, a medical procedure that involved anesthesia, an ER visit, an allergic reaction to an insect bite (wondering spider since a recent ant bite only gave me the itchees) and then an allergic reaction to a new drug all meant that I had a super busy April minus normal things.

I did get started writing poetry and have some decent first drafts or rough ideas to work on. I also realized in this same month that waiting for test results and to (probably) start treatment for MS has done a lot to my mental state. As in it’s a lot of shit to deal with and just distracting yourself from this type of shit doesn’t help!

End result, I now have a project set up in Scrivener that is half poetry and half journals. I’m hoping to collect some of my thoughts as I go through this journey of rediscovering who I am because of what chronic illnesses has done to my life.

Also, writing daily when you don’t know what the next day could bring is very difficult. I’m going to start working on weekly and monthly writing goals instead of daily goals… while still aiming to update the blog a few days a week. But if I can’t? Then I can’t.