Just some videos I watched recently and appreciated.
This is an exercise I completed from the book Steering the Craft and the point was to write 200-350 words with no adjectives or adverbs. I wrote just over 200 words.
The dragon continued to talk, and he echoed and he boomed. He was surrounded by people but they stayed outside of the range of the dragon’s tail. The dragon stood before a throne in the center of the room. The cat sat on the throne, washing her face with her paws, and continued to ignore him. The people gathered at the edges of the room continued to lock back and forth between the two. No one was talking. Everyone ignored the corpses on the floor, burned by fire. The room remained filled with haze. The people did not understand the dragon’s words but the cat could. Was the dragon uttering grievances or making demands? This went on for over an hour and the dragon was showing no signs of quitting. The people wondered – it was written on their faces – could they leave? Would it anger the dragon? Then the cat stretched, arching her back, and the dragon paused in his monolog and leaned in to peer at the cat. The silence stretched. The people leaned in, watching, waiting. The cat sneezed. The dragon flinched, banging his head on the ceiling. Then the cat looked at the dragon, and spoke a word. The people gasped for they understood. The dragon recoiled, turned, and walked out.
My relationship with writing is complicated and borders on ridiculous. A lot of writer advice says to write every day, every day, every day. Or else. I can’t do that, I can’t keep it up. Quite simply my health won’t allow it – both my physical and mental chronic diseases – but I continue to shame myself for not writing every day because I have so much time so I should be writing every day. That’s not helpful! One might even argue it’s not healthy!
On top of this shame I hold this belief that there’s no reason for me to bother to write since I can’t write every day because I’ll never get anything done. This is further enforced by the fact that I’ve never finished anything. (outside of the writing ‘classes’ I did on the Coursera platform. Wait nevermind, I didn’t finish the last one class that was the capstone. Seeeee what I’m talking about? Sigh.)
Recently I’ve come to wish that I’d majored in creative writing in grad school, not applied sociology. I can’t be disabled and do anything with an applied sociology degree, aside from be angrier at the world than the average compassionate human being. But I can’t change that. I did a lot of writing in grad school, but none of it was fiction.
Instead I need to change the dynamic of the relationship I have with writing. I have accepted that I cannot write every day for a variety of reasons, the top of the list being because of my health and physical limitations. Like I can’t type all day and still use my hands the next day, even with one of those natural ergonomic keyboards. Even typing this now my fingers have started to throb. Or at least I think I’ve accepted this, maybe I haven’t yet?
The biggest thing to change, maybe, is the belief that having yet to finish a project (usually novel size projects) doesn’t mean I’ll never finish a project, regardless of how frequently I work on it. There’s plenty of (fantasy) authors out there I can be… inspired by? GRRM still hasn’t finished his series. We’ve been waiting on Rothfuss to finish his last book for how many decades? I compare myself to others but I only do it in a way that further defeats me. That’s a poorly worded sentence. I’m trying to say I seem to only compare myself to others when it enforces my negative beliefs. I say seem to because I’m sure there’s something I’m not remembering or there’s a different area of life where I don’t have this issue. Wait, maybe I say seem to so I can hope that it’s not true. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to write a book, unless your publisher gave you a deadline.
To further compound this problem I’ve made, I have serious issues coming up with new ideas. New ideas take a lot of energy and it’s difficult to tell when an idea is good. I haven’t figured that out yet. By good I mean something useable, to develop, and spend energy on. I want to write a book sized story. I have premises but I’m not sure I have any actual ideas. Developing a premise into a book idea is exciting but also terrifying because then you have a book to write. Books are huge projects I have no other context in life for, including work or school. The longest projects I had in school lasted one semester. The only other creative hobby I have is knitting and it doesn’t compare.
So because of my anxiety and depression and memory problems, I find it easier to not do anything and then I find myself wishing I was writing or wishing I wanted to be writing. It’s a sick little loop that’s not helpful and I need to destroy it. I don’t write because writing is hard and I make no progress and never finish anything. I shame myself because I’m not writing. Continue to not write. Rinse, repeat. This is gone on long enough that I feel like brainstorming is a mountain that’s impossible to climb and who wants to climb an impossible mountain? (I know there are people out there that do, I don’t understand them.)
Finishing reading Writing Down The Bones helped me to put these feelings into words. With the words attached to the feelings maybe I can move forward. Finally. Wait, who am I kidding? I’ll have to continue to fight this cycle if I want to write. Sometimes it might go away, but it’ll keep trying to come back. I’ve given it a life of its own. The real trick here might be remembering all of this and remembering that what I’m doing to myself doesn’t help my mental health.
Or maybe the trick is to continue to focus on writing despite everything. Because writing is magic.
I have figured out that my anxiety causes me to second guess myself through most of the writing process. It makes it nearly impossible to successfully brainstorm anything because I have a lot of trouble accepting that when you’re brainstorming (or whatever you want to call it) it’s completely okay to have more than one option and not know which direction you want to go. I’ve also come to recognize that this anxiety either freezes me out of writing completely or slows the entire process down to an excruciating crawl. This is especially annoying now that I’ve learned after NaNoWriMo 2019 that a writing session has the power to drastically improve my mood, probably because of how much I enjoy the writing process.
I wish that anxiety didn’t destroy my enjoyment of writing. How much I enjoy the writing process also makes the anxiety worse because I kick myself for being anxious and not writing so it’s a cycle that feeds back in on itself so it can continue on forever.
Anyways, I haven’t addressed why I’ve started writing this on this day. I wrote every day in NaNoWriMo 2019 but in December everything slowly fell apart.
Part of the issue was realizing a new angle in my story which meant I had/have to go back and redo a lot of work – probably anyways. No that’s an excuse.
Since then, the longer it’s been since I’ve written I feel like I haven’t been able to write. When I think about writing I go and do something else, or push aside the thought because I have this tangled up knot inside that’s between me and my writing. I know the best way to deal with anxiety is to finally stop and face it but it’s still taken me weeks to get to the point of acknowledging this. So I’m writing this trying to face my anxiety and knowing it’s anxiety but not knowing what I should say. Even now, second guessing myself I am.
So. Writing. I have my developed idea that I started writing some scenes for in NaNoWriMo 2019. One of the problems with that story is that I don’t have that much character development completed yet. You can get so much advice on plot and setting and world building but less so characters. But I’m getting off topic again. I also have an idea that’s barely a premise that’s completely different and I’m wondering if I should switch projects and develop this old new idea. Right, that sounds like a lot of excuses now that I’ve gone back and reread it.
Anyways. I suspect anxiety is making me want to switch ideas too because getting further into an idea and having more content is overwhelming for my anxiety.
Now that I’ve babbled on about anxiety and reread my words it sounds like I’m making excuses to avoid writing so that I can avoid my anxiety but it’s not working because I’m anxious about not writing because I made a goal to have 28,000 words by 12/31/2019 and I’m still stuck on 18,000.
Ah hah! That’s the first time in my life, outside of a NaNoWriMo that I’ve made a word count goal and apparently it flew back in my face.
So no more excuses. And I need to find a new way to have goals and track progress in my writing.
I finally reached 10,000 words! Today. And that’s okay. I think I’m excited about this but my depression makes it kind of hard to tell. My depression has been kicking my ass making everything a struggle since the time change for DST. Like a switch went off in my brain. Literally everything, from getting out of bed to eating. Anything that requires a decision. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve edited this blog post even.
I prepared quite a lot for this year’s NaNoWriMo, putting in months of time for brainstorming and organizing my ideas. I felt pretty good going into November, except that I didn’t find a way to outline scenes that worked for my brain. I’m still having trouble outlining scenes actually.
From the first day of the month, words have been hard and they slowed down the farther into the month I got. My top word count day was 1,148 and my lowest count day was 97. The good thing is I feel like I have beginnings of some scenes. I also feel like I still have gigantic holes in my story that I’m hoping will fill in as a write.
I wish I could tell you I’ve found some kind of amazing plan that gets me over 1000 words a day every day, or something, and that’s why I’m writing this post. But no, not so far. At some point in the last week when I realized that it was depression making me struggle I decided to continue working based on the writing plan that Chuck Wendig shared on his blog quite a few years ago. So far it’s working. So far I’ve been putting the time in at my laptop until I have at least 350 words. The first 100 are the hardest. I’m going through the motions.
Instead of writing this blog post to share some amazing observation about writing, I’m writing it for everyone else out there with a chronic disease who doesn’t think they are good enough because they can’t reach 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo. You aren’t alone. Writing with chronic disease, whether it’s depression or chronic (physical) pain, is difficult, and slow.
The only way you finish is to keep going. So I’m going to keep going. I’m hoping to have 25,000 words by November 30.
I didn’t manage as much writing time in August compared to July. I think Camp NaNoWriMo was extra motivation. A big part of all of this tracking is to find what I can succeed at despite the aspec
I increased my goal past what I did in July, to 1320 minutes or about 43 minutes a day. I finished my July goal of 1080 minutes.
For August I worked for 920 minutes for the month. Few things interfered, like my birthday and some PTSD stuff. I worked on writing for 900 minutes in April so I feel like 900 is a reasonable minimum.
For tracking I made note of the estimated time I worked, the estimated total minutes I worked, and where I worked. I went to Starbucks 6 times in the month of August and 9 times in the month of July – when I wrote more.
I suspect I need to clean up clutter at home more and I’ll be less distracted when working at home.
As far as content is concerned? August was definitely a success with more details down on paper for my plot embryo and working through more of Janice Hardy’s Planning your Novel.
I continued to track what I worked on every day I wrote separate from the number/time tracking and I think that works well. I make note of what I made progress on with a + and make note of what I think I need to work on next with a bullet point. This is especially helpful when looking back on old notes.
Overall, August was still a success.
For September I’m going to make my goal 900 minutes – or 15 hours. At the current time I have ten doctor/medical appointments, including starting emdr therapy, in the month of September. This is up from August (6) so I’m not going to try increasing my goal yet.
I think, thanks to experimenting during Camp NaNoWriMo that I finally found something that helps me feel like I’m making progress in my writing, especially since I’m not actively writing and still developing and brainstorming.
I definitely recommend working on time goals in Camp NaNoWriMo if you’re trying to build a routine for writing. Appointments on a digital calendar on your phone help too.
For the last… year? I’ve been working on my writing process when I haven’t been working on my physical and mental health. Needless to say, it’s a slow process.
Besides learning brainstorming techniques and recognizing the difference between plots, ideas, and premises, I’ve also been working on how best to organize my writing so that I don’t feel overwhelmed.
Currently, I’ve started a general writing reference journal and I just started a writing tracking bullet journal (ish). Everything clicked when I found cheap and decent quality soft sided notebooks at Michels.
I’m using Planning Your Novel by Janice Hardy to reorganize and flesh out my Sci-fi/fantasy story idea before I try again to outline.
This was my first version to keep track of my progress:
It’s got a number of issues… And I realized I need a begin date if I’m going to have a date completed.
So with my new journal and some new stickers I now have this
It’s so much cleaner and easier to read. The exercises come from the book and what I’ve written out is in the contents page. I do also recommend the book, especially if you are like me and struggled with your writing process and don’t necessarily have the time, energy, endurance, or money for classes.
I’m adding 30 days of worldbuilding next. It’s a completely free fantasy world builder guide offered in multiple formats at www.web-writer.net/fantasy.
I’ve just now realized that my parallel world idea requires world building twice so I’ll be duplicating this page.
I haven’t decided if I want to write in this journal or keep it primarily for tracking and write on loose leaf paper instead.
I’m also adding a plot embryo tracking page and I glued in some reference material for writing a plot embryo. (Posting this via my phone, Google Rachael Stephen plot embryo for more info.)
If you’re reading this, is there anything you think that’s important that I’ve missed?
I know, it’s halfway through May. I’ve been…working on my bullet journal! Yea. Seriously though, I’ve been writing!
If you’re planning to write Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I recommend tracking minutes, not hours.
I whole heartedly recommend using bullet journal techniques to keep on top of your novel development – but I have yet to figure out what I like best so if you’re here looking for bullet journal recommendations I might not be any help. I also have no idea what format to use for a novel bullet journal. I’ve tried some stuff in a bound book and all sense of organization is lost so binders are better…. but then I ran into issues with different kinds of paper being harder to flip through and I think I might need better quality paper? Little things that might seem like acceptable allowances or compromises now might not work later. Learn what you like and what works for you and stick with it.
So, here’s my list.
- Tracking something besides word count helps a ton. This is the first time I did any kind of bullet journal style tracking other than word counts. Turns out it’s important to track something besides words.
- Brainstorming takes more brain power than writing scenes but I can still spend more time on it than I thought I could. I had multiple productive hour long sessions.
- Brainstorming is idea development. You already have something, like a question, when you start. You are *not* looking at a blank page.
- There’s lots of ways around blank pages.
- Brain dumps are useful on a semi regular basis when I’m trying to get an idea figured out. Brain dumps are vomiting ideas onto paper or screen.
- Organization is your friend and you aren’t as organized as you think you are, or I’m not anyways.
- It’s important for me to write long hand on paper and on the computer. They both make my brain work in different ways. Paper is mostly better and might be easier to organize.
- Once I get to the 8000-12000 words window in Scrivener I need to clean up my files and organizing or I got lost and don’t write anything. I noticed it with my current project and this seems to be the window where I start to lose my focus. Preferably, I can stop this from happening at all.
- When I get lost and lose focus on what I’m doing is when I feel overwhelmed.
- I need to experiment more on bullet journal techniques and what to keep track of where. By this I mean tracking more than just words or time. I also mean story items that have to do with characters, plot, setting, theme, etc.
- Write in pencil because then you can erase!
- Write on both sides of the paper for idea development that’s list based but not when you’re doing a brain dump.
- You are *not* a pantser.
- Be patient with yourself. Learning your writing process is a lot more complicated than I once thought.
I think that’s everything. For now. I’m sure I’ll learn more this month. For May I’ve got a page on my blog for tracking time and a page in my binder for tracking too. We’ll see which one I stick with come June.
I have more than a few hurdles that make writing daily difficult. These include my health – physical and mental, as well as my regular doctor appointments.
Beyond that, I’ve realized in the past 6 months or so that the biggest things that stop me from making progress and building momentum in my writing are staying organized and continuing to track my progress – or not knowing how to track my progress. They make it difficult for me to remember why I want to write a book (or two, or three, or more).
- I enjoy the writing process. I hate the beginning, when you’re starting, like everyone else who’s human, but I love the actual process; regardless of whether it’s a blog post, a thesis paper, a short story, or something else.
- I want to write the kind of story that I wish was available when I was growing up. This falls under the write the kind of book you want to read.
- I want to write a story that’s focuses on women and girls doing important things and the boys and men aren’t as important to the story. I’ve reached a point in my life where I prefer protagonists that I have something in common with.
- I’ve recently realized I appreciate books, tv shows, and movies with themes of survival – especially individual survivors. For example, I watch Law and Order: SVU because of the characters on the show who keep going despite all the terribleness in the world. In the past few months I’ve learned also that I identity with the word “survivor” so I’d like to incorporate some of this into a story too.
- Another that I sometimes forget, is that I want to write a story where the protagonist has a mental illness that makes getting through daily life more difficult – but not impossible. Basically, present mental illness in a way to show that it’s simply part of life.
- Finally, writing is also learning and I love to learn.
And now I think it’s important to list out why I hate writing –
- It’s hard.
- It’s overwhelming.
- It takes regular work and some days it feels like there’s no reward.
- It’s difficult for me to stay organized.
- Sometimes it’s difficult to remember what I was doing or where I was going with the story.
- Making decisions is hard.
- I can’t seem to remember the most productive ways to brainstorm.
I did a lot different this year. I used some bullet journal style tracking including my word count for the day and a sentence about what I did. I wrote down a variety of things for inspiration or brain storming. I prepared for NaNoWriMo by setting up a process and working on *my* process.
I realized some things. Like when you’re developing a story you don’t need to pick the perfect option or motivation for your character now, you can consider every single option you can think of. Silly things. I realized silly things. But important nonetheless.
This is the first year I’ve ended NaNoWriMo with multiple story ideas. I’ve done enough work now to recognize some trends in my own writing ideas – so there’s a story I want to tell. But there’s other ideas I haven’t figured out yet. For example, writing a character with mental illness who still manages to be successful and kept together and, well, a hero (or heroine).
My goal became to write for 30 days in a row. I did not have enough of my story developed to actually write scenes and dialog and content. I spent a lot on further development – because I was trying to cram too much into 1 story? I also arbitrarily assigned myself a word count goal of 16,000 – and also removed/rewrote a chunk of 700 words and still kept over the 16,000 words.
My next steps: 1. Set up scrivener files for each story idea. 2. Figure out how to track progress and word counts. Progress is story specific, word count doesn’t need to be story specific. 3. Start Chuck Wendig’s No Fuckery Writing Plan. Like officially. 4. Writing next will be outlines for at least 2 of the 3 stories. The third story is probably a short story? It’s got to sit and simmer for a while so it’s decide if I want to bounce around or focus on 1 at a time.
See that? A plan!
I’ve had improvements in my physical health in the last few months – and now better mental health treatment in the last 2 months – and I think that’s helping more than I can possibly explain. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2012 —-
— This is the first year I’ve felt I have something I can continue to work on. Mental health treatment probably has a great deal to do with that. I’ll know more for certain after I’ve done more work on my mental health/well being. I have this funny feeling as I write this blog post. I think it might be pride and accomplishment because I did a thing! Emotions are confusing and hard. Anyways –
If you’re a writer, or trying to be a writer, and dealing with depression, anxiety, ptsd, or any kind of mental illness. You aren’t alone, keep at it. As they say, “Your story isn’t over yet;” Also Chuck Wendig has lot of good things to say on the subject.
I like having things to jog my brain, get ideas started. What am I missing when I think about my characters? Or my plot? These aren’t how tos, or walk throughs, or tutorials, but handy little things to keep around.
And courtesy of “The Mad Scribbler” are these character templates. One is extremely detailed (spreadsheet!) and one has lots of info on one page. (Pay attention if you print it out and check your settings.)
This one is a collection of “writing tips.” (link straight to pdf)
Here’s another created by a helpful writer. LOTS of information in this “writer’s cheat sheet.”
The website Writers Write has some handy looking tables with a total of 350 character traits. I saved each picture and printed them out.
I remembered NaNoWriMo Prep in the beginning of October! I’ve done more prep this time too. Still no outline (yet).
I’ve joined the followers of Rachael Stephen. I like her and her videos. I love she’s a research nerd. I learned her approach to the embryo plot device, I recommend trying it out. At least try it out.
I’ve been a fan of Chuck Wendig for a while and his blog is fantastic for so many reasons. He’s talked lots and lots on NaNoWriMo and I’m sure he’ll talk more about it still. His post collecting the ways you can outline for NaNoWriMo is damned extensive. (I also like how he says National Plot Your Novel Month too.)
I’ve also done some bullet journal stuff for NaNoWriMo too. Not a lot, but I’ve decided to start a project journal/bullet journal for general writing stuff just for me. Like things to help get me writing and tips for outlining.
This time around, I might use these from Better Novel Project dot com too.
There’s also a lot of information at Fiction University by Janice Harding. I have her book. It’s useful. Here’s a guest post from her blog I really liked. The Alchemy of Inspiration. I started a “pet peeves” list after reading that and it’s also very useful.
Here’s a poem (?) I wrote sometime in the past few months when I decided to do some writing about mental health and my mental illness symptoms. I don’t remember writing it. It sorta sounds like me but doesn’t all at the same time. I can’t tell if it still needs an ending/if it’s complete. I’ll leave the interpretation up to the reader.
Some days I don’t like living in my mind
The weather is always changing.
Nothing is where I remember leaving it.
Doors that were open yesterday are locked today.
Stairs and routes from rooms to rooms change, often overnight.
Windows don’t work right, they won’t shut or they won’t open. The blinds will get stuck too.
Sometimes I wish it was brighter so it would be easier to find my memories.
Other times I wish I had more rugs.
You can sweep things under rugs but eventually the rugs stop laying flat and you trip.
There’s no way to forecast the weather, it can change stormy in a breath –
Or be calm and quiet in a breath.
Days and days everything will be as I expect
Something happens. Someone happens. Time passes.
And the rules.
My mind has so many rules to keep track of too.
Rules for talking to people, feeling, being alone. Rules that have nothing to do with my body.
Some days everything is stress. Everything is bad.
Sometimes I can’t leave the house. I can’t deal with anyone.
Yes so I didn’t think of this until April 9th but that’s okay. Dammit. This will be an experiment. I picked time this year since hours/minutes were an option. It’s really cool they made the “camp” months less rigid. I’ve also realized, since it’s the ninth day of the month, April seems to be a bad month for me. Weather is a big part of it.
Tracking my writing activity –
1 – gaming – Shadowrun
2 – writing wasn’t fiction/for Camp Nano
3 – 15 minutes
4 – 30 minutes
5 – 30 minutes
6 – DFW Fiberfest – most of the day
7 – migraine
8 – migraine recovery but I looked at my writing!
9 – appointment, chores, 20 minutes
10 – 60 minutes and a 30 minute walk, realized a different approach to my story
11 – creativity spent in other ways, like knitting
12 – 15 minutes
13 – 30 minutes
14 – busy day outside of the house
15 – recovery
16 – bad day, with an appointment
17 – doctor appointment with injections in my neck
18 – other things, like going for a long walk, chores
19 – I think it was a rest day
20 – 85 minutes!
21 – walk, rain, pain levels higher
22 – chores I think
23 – 40 minutes
24 – 45 minutes
25 – long walk, just thought about writing
26 – from this day until
27 – ….
28 – ….
29 – this day my pain levels had doubled and then tripled and then gaming
30 – things better. doctor appointment and 50 minutes writing
Came up with a total of 420 minutes writing and looking back at previous years, April is not a great month for me. I set my goal for the Camp NaNoWriMo event too high but learned how to track my writing in a way I can keep up with and SEE PROGRESS!! when I’m not actively writing sentences and developing scenes. Also, only counted active focused work.
post updated May 1, 2018 with full month of tracking
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?
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.