Bullet Journaling for Writers

(This post can be found over on my Tumblr, too). 

Before I begin, I am not one of those amazing Pinteresty people who is able to make everything look perfect and pretty and organized.

But I am someone who LOVES making lists, and THRIVES on them.

I post pictures of my bullet journal adventures a lot over on my twitter @/catbakewell, and below I’m sharing some of the methods I use to organize my life and especially my writing progress.

The Journal

I got my first baby bullet journal at a stationary store in France, so I can’t do much in the way of recommending a favorite bullet journal brand. I don’t even think you NEED a super fancy notebook.


Most bullet journals are dotted instead of lined (thus “bullet” journal), but those aren’t necessary, either. They keep the page clear and make it easy to draw shapes and space things out on the page, but you can use some of the organizational techniques below in any old notebook, I think.

My bullet journal has the following features that I love: numbered pages,  a blank index for you to fill out, bullets instead of lines, a hard cover, a portable size, and two bookmark ribbons. This journal on Amazon seems to have similar features: https://www.amazon.com/Red-Impressions-Collection-Hardcover-Notebook/dp/B01MTBBYXG/ref=sr_1_38?ie=UTF8&qid=1541106368&sr=8-38&keywords=dot+grid+notebook+numbered+pages 

The Tools

All the tools I use for my BuJo are things I found around the house!


Highlighters : I recommend getting them in rainbow colors. Your BuJo will instantly feel more organized with all the colors (I like the mix of pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)

Washi tape: I got that poppy-patterened Washi Tape at an office supply store for 99 cents. Not necessary for bullet journaling, but it can be good for marking a page or for sticking something into your BuJo.

Protractor: I suck at straight lines. I use a protractor because it helps when I want to make arcs or circles, too, but if I’m ever in need of a straight line, I sometimes grab a random piece of card as a straightedge.

Fineliner: I like to use some sort of thin sharpie or marker for thicker lines. This Sharpie doesn’t bleed through the pages, either.

Pen: The pen above includes green, red, blue, and black pens, which is great for color-coding things.

Daily Planning


Bullet Journals are great because you can put your schedule on paper any way you want. I like fairly large spaces to plan out my day. For my writing schedule, I mark a little check box for my chapter goals. If I write the chapter, I make a checkmark. If not, I put a > symbol to the left of the box, indicating that I’ve moved the due date later. So far, I’ve made all my own deadlines!

Each day is marked on the left and right with bright colors. I write in tasks and appointments along the way and cross them off when they’re done. I also cross out the days after they’re done.

Monthly Planning


Here, you can see a zoomed-out version of my calendar and my chapter goals. I can check off the chapter goals when I’ve met them. I’ve also written them in pencil here (where I first planned out my goals) just in case.

Each week is listed Saturday-Friday because that’s how they’re laid out in my weekly pages in my Bullet Journal.

Habit Tracking


Here, I mark a square every day I have practiced Spanish (left column), French (middle column), and Italian (right column). Use this to track the days you’ve written for 30 minutes, written 500 words, worked out, or spent some time reading! It’s a very satisfying feeling getting to color in the squares when I’ve accomplished something.

Word Count Charts


I love word count charts in bullet journals because YOU decide what your goal is! Bar graphs are fun because you get to color in the bars, bigger and bigger, if you’ve written more! You can see my rainbow colors coming out to play here.

At the top, I mark the increments of words in the 100s. A hatched pencil mark indicates my goal per day: 500 words. Looks like I didn’t make that mark on June 4, but on June 5, my word count goes off the chart! At the bottom, I counted up all the words I’d written for the week.

Chapter Revision Chart


This chart is pretty easy to figure out! Once I’ve finished rewriting or revising a chapter, I add a square, color it in, and write the chapter number on top. I’ve also edged the page (poorly) in Washi Tape so it’s easier for me to flip through. It’s nothing much, but it makes me happy to flip here and see how far I’ve come!

Charting Editing Goals


Above are two patterns that convey the same idea. First, I have a sort of banner/marquee theme for my first few chapters, and then on the second page, realizing I wanted to fit more on the page, I settled with little rectangles. You can also see that I sketched out and measured the boxes before I went in with my fineliner, just in case.

The process: I made a box or flag for each chapter. Within that flag, I made a checkbox for each task I needed to do for that chapter. I needed to delete filter words for each chapter, re-read and edit the chapter, and address the comments my friends had left in the margins for me. After I checked each task in the chapter, I colored in the chapter. When I finished editing all the chapters, BOOM, I had a beautiful rainbow of accomplishment!

If you have any tips or any cool templates from your Bullet Journal, or if you want to share how you’ve edited or prepared for NaNo with some of the methods above, come share with me over at catbakewell on Twitter!