writing bullet journal

I’ve always loved looking at other people’s bullet journals and watching Plan With Me videos, but I never thought I would keep one for myself. I like using pre-made planners to organize my schedule, and keeping a mood or habit tracker didn’t appeal to me very much. But! With that said, there is one thing I always need help keeping track of and that is: MY WRITING GOALS.

So, this past month, I decided to make a bullet journal dedicated exclusively to writing. Here’s what it looks like:

LEFT: A cover page! I chose pigs as the theme for my February spread in honour of Lunar New Year. Fun fact: my mom was born in the year of the pig so she has little pig figurines all over the house. They’re her favourite animal. RIGHT: A monthly calendar! For each day I meet my goal, I get a sticker on this page. It felt pretty rewarding to look back and see all the stickers I earned this month. Also, see the pig in the bottom right corner rocking the Korean pama? That was also a touch of mom inspiration.

Here are two examples of my weekly spreads. Each day, I write down my daily goals here. Making daily goals was super helpful for me. I used to make general deadline-based goals, like: ‘By the end of the month, I want to be done this draft!’ or ‘By Feb 15th, I will be finished Act 1!’ This didn’t work so well for me because it kept my eyes on the deadline, not on the present day where work actually gets done. More often than not, the deadline would feel so far away that I would put off doing any work because I felt like I had all the time in the world. Then D-Day would sneak up on me and I would be frantically calculating how many words I have to write per day to still make it.

I still set a general deadline to give me a finish line to work towards, but from there, I create daily goals to make it happen. The biggest change for me was setting my daily goals either the morning of or the night before, taking into consideration everything I accomplished or had to adjust in the last 24 hours. Before, I used to make daily goals like, ‘I’m going to write 1000 words per day!’ and then I’d miss a day and have to write 2000 words the next day to make up for it and then I’d miss that day and so on and so forth until I’d end up lying on the floor, staring blankly at the ceiling and wondering where I went wrong. The difference is subtle, but I think really key. Pre-setting a series of daily goals makes me shape my day around them and if I miss one day, the rest of my days become more inflexible. Setting goals for each new day while being mindful of what that day holds for me is, I find, more forgiving and also more likely to be accomplished. Our goals should work for us to help us get to where we want to go, not make us tip into an existential crisis when we can’t meet them.

Anyway! This system has been working really well for me and my writing. It might change in the future as my needs and preferences change, but for now I’m going to keep going with it. Here’s a sneak peek of what I have prepared for March:

If you couldn’t tell, I like eggs. I’m especially proud of the tamago nigiri I managed to sneak in this spread. Hehe. Whatever you’re working on this month and next, these eggs and I are cheering you on!

twenty nineteen

New Year’s is always an interesting time for me because I am, by nature, a very reflective person. I love journaling and thinking about where I’ve been and where I want to be. While January 1st isn’t the only day of the year I make resolutions, I like that it’s the time of year where everyone is sharing theirs. I appreciate the collectivity of it, and so! Here is a blog post to ring in the new year and share a bit about my goals.

In 2018, I decided to change the way I think about goal setting. I wrote a Twitter thread on it a few months back, but I’d like to share it here as well. Instead of thinking of it as ‘I met my goal = success!' VS ‘I didn’t = failure :(‘ I’ve started thinking more along the lines of ‘today I’m going to CRUSH IT or ADJUST IT.’

CRUSH IT: Some days I crush my goals. I meet them, high five them, and send them flying into outer space. I get the job done and it feels really, really good. But some days, lots of days… I don’t.

ADJUST IT: I often underestimate the time, resources, and energy (mental, emotional, and physical) needed to meet my goals. And you never know what unpredictable thing will throw me off my tracks. But that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed; it just means I need to re-adjust my goals for the day and meet myself where I am.

It’s ok to learn as you go, to change your mind, and to see your goals as more malleable than rigid. Having to adjust as you go doesn’t make you too slow, incapable, lazy, or any of the other things we tell ourselves. It makes you human.

So today, this year, set out to crush your goals. And if you don’t meet them, adjust them for tomorrow in a way that you can. Here are a few of mine:

  • Finish writing my current Middle Grade WIP.

  • Take more photos & read more poetry.

  • Be more active! Exercise, go on walks, do my physio stretches daily.

  • Spend more time in the mountains & by the water.

  • And my overarching theme for the year (that I hope will stick for life): be present.

Like I said, I love looking back and looking forward. I live in the past with hopes for the future, but this year I want to be better at living in the now and being present in the present.

Whatever your hopes are for 2019, I’m rooting for you. I hope we all get to know ourselves a little better this year than we did in the last. Happy New Year everybody!