Bullet journaling, planners, writing goals, and being a terrible artist

Keeper of the veg @gibsident

I think I’ve given up on my bullet journal.

Here me out; it’s really time consuming. I used to watch Noelle on Seventeen’s Bullet Journal channel to get ideas on how to set up my weekly and daily spreads. (Little Coffee Fox is good too.) That was fine because it wasn’t not creative, it was just very simple to follow and get basic ideas on options to get yourself going. However, the new host is artistically talented and most of her bullet journaling videos are about doodles and drawing – neither which is can do. While I really appreciate going outside of the box, bullet journaling just seems too much like a sketch book than a planner. If I had loads of time, I would get into it, and I have attempted a few doodles from “How to draw a …” tutorials on Youtube, but that just takes up time and I only have that every other weekend at most.

Also, bullet journals need a lot of equipment to go along with it – brush pens, highlighters, washi tape, etc. I can’t take that all with me when I’m traveling about at work. I can’t very well sit in the lunch room with all of my art supplies just to draw out a weekly spread. It not only looks strange to regular 9-5 people (remember, I work in the library so reading a book is about the only acceptable activity for lunchtime other than eating lunch), but it will get people asking what I’m doing.

And, yes, I know I could set up the spreads with pencil or even pen and do the designing later but again, time consuming.

So, as much as I like my bullet journal it’s ended up being something “fun” to play around with once in a while, but it doesn’t serve the initial purpose of my planning companion to take with me everywhere. I did buy a kid’s journal that has all the spreads set up, like the trackers and books to be read, so I could fill that in and serve the basic purpose of having the bullet journal in the first place.

I have a Happy Planner from the States that I like to fill in when I’m home, but, again, it’s way too heavy and inconvenient to have in a handbag when you’re going around from library to library every day.

What I’ve decided to do is to get a Passion Planner from the States (why are we only obsessed with planning back home?) that should be portable and functional. I also have just a plain notebook that I can jot down the ideas for my blog entries because that was something I wanted to keep track of. (Also, there’s an interesting post comparing the Passion Planner vs Bullet Journal.)

For writing, I honestly don’t know how to keep tabs of my word count and how to set goals for that. I have a handful of book projects I want to work on and I thought the bullet journal would work well in keeping myself on track with my word count, plots, scenes, etc. I think the notebook is just going to have to do the trick.

If I don’t have time to doodle in a bullet journal, I certainly won’t have any time to actually write.

And I will add that setting goals is a strange one. I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts on the subject and still reading Eat that Frog. (Who got the idea that library workers have time to read all day? Puh-lease!) How do people have clear ideas for what they want 10 years from now and how to get to that goal? My goal has always been to write and publish my books (self-published or otherwise). My steps to reaching that goal are the same as they are for everyone – write, edit, rewrite, read, share, edit, rewrite, and so forth. It’s the time that gets me and the time management that I need to keep myself on target as I’m sure it is for most people with a day time job and a ton of books they want to show the world.

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It’s New Year’s Eve – what am I going to do in 2019

Happy New Year! #nye

It’s that time again for making resolutions. I usually make the same tried and true ones – diet, exercise, write, blog, etc.
This year, however, I’ve made plans for my resolutions. I’m going to organise my tasks and make small to large goals.
The bullet journal will be the main helper on this. I’ve looked at various habit trackers so I have a good sense of how to set up a continuous personal check on my progress. 

Thank God for Orange is the New Black and it’s literary recommendations, otherwise, I wouldn’t have found Eat that Frog. I’m going through this book while planning out my resolutions in my bullet journal. (I took of photo of my bujo with my terrible frog doodle, but I think I’ll spare you all that today.)

According to ETF, you’re supposed to list 10 of your goals (in my case, resolutions) and then decide which one is the most important – which one will make you a better person, have the best impact on your life, etc. That one is usually the toughest and you need to get that one out of the way.

My ugliest frog to eat is my weight. I’ve been going to Weight Watchers since late last year, so I did lose some pounds (the ones I added on over Christmas, but never mind that). I’ve lost using WW before, so I know I can do it, and sometimes that’s just the trouble. You can put that off because eventually you’ll get it done.

Well, I know it’ll make me feel better to get stuck in and get back to my weight loss and exercise goal. While I don’t think I’ll aim for a 15k run or anything like that this year (I’m slow, y’all, and I need to be fit and healthy, not get a medal). So I’ll pack my lunch, plan my dinners, eat cereal in the morning, and get back on the treadmill. That’s the #1 thing I’m going to do in 2019.

The second thing will be to get back to focusing on my writing. Now, I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to go about keeping focus on that since working full time is always the issue with trying to focus on creativity, but I have my bullet journal to track my habits that will include writing in my blog (check mark!), my journal, and my book.

I want to make a series and while one that I have planned and plotted to the extent that I had time frames and family trees has gone past my realm of inspiration, I will have to think about how I want to structure my next series.

I read earlier this week that JK Rowling outlined her 7 books over 5 years. Sheesh. It worked though, didn’t it?

But I plan on doing it this year. So, without further adieu, let me get back to outlining, plotting, and researching. (Also, I have to read more, sheesh!) I’ll post again on how I organized that and maybe give an example of how I set up the bullet journal for my book progress.

Until then, Happy New Year, 2019! Let’s do this.

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9 More Sleeps Until Christmas

For my Downton Abbey peeps.

Yes, that’s right. It’s almost time again.

This year, I’ve been really embracing the Christmas spirit. I’ve been listening to music in the car, wearing my tacky jumpers, and decorated the house like it’s Santa’s grotto. It must be having the new house, and knowing that we’ll have plenty of room for everyone to hang out. (By everyone, I mean me, Mister Pick, the dog, and the two cats now. We still have our boy, Jake, but we’ve also added Elle to our family.)

For our Christmas build up, we’ve been to Beamish Christmas, as usual, and we went to the Christmas market at Grey’s Monument. This week coming will be our events at work, so, yeah, Santa is coming to town. Soon!

I’ve still been working on my bullet journaling, but the plans of world domination with my blog and plethora of eBooks will be on hold once again. I applied for an apprenticeship at work, and I’m pleased to report I got a place. Next year will be different with that plus the new systems we’re implementing in the libraries. It’s going to be different, but a good change of pace.

So here’s hoping that Christmas will be a nice time to relax and get back on track, so the New Year can be full of new adventures.

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Seeing Jack White in Edinburgh

flic.kr/p/Q9mzFU

This was the first time we’d been to Edinburg in a while. Our objective (well, mainly my lifetime objective) — to see Jack White in the flesh!

So we dropped off Daisy at doggie daycare, jumped on a train, and headed north last Sunday. Our hotel was located in Grassmarket for easy walking from the station and Usher Hall. That meant we had plenty of pubs and the castle to view from our room.

It’s too bad our trip was short because we could have spent a load more time looking around (I still haven’t been to the Writer’s Museum I don’t think) but we walked up to the castle, had some pub grub, explored some Harry Potter shops and a museum on what was the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

There are a ton of Americans there, let me assure you.

Then we headed to Usher Hall.

This was the first time we’d been to a gig that didn’t allow phones. They asked if you had one when you went in and then gave you a little green sock thing that locked. On the way out, someone was there to systematically pop locks as you walked out. Pretty straight forward except a lot of people didn’t get theirs locked up. Now, to be fair, I didn’t see those people using their phones during the show (I figure Jack would scorn and shout at anyone who tried) so it wasn’t a horrible experience at all.

It was just weird not knowing what time it was. I could have worn my watch, I suppose, but I didn’t risk it in case those needed locking up too. Too much faff when I could easily leave everything locked in the safe at the hotel.

Now I’ve tried to remember all of the songs he did and all I can say was, it was a pleasant mixed bag. White Stripes songs, Dead Weather (this he played with the opening band who were local Newcastle lads), some Raconteurs and, of course, his new solo stuff.

And he played Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut” which was cool.

Steve said he had never seen anyone get a crowd so worked up and after an hour or show and an hour encore, I knew what he was going to end with.

Seven Nation Army.

I mean, come on! That was so amazing!

Afterwards we were pleased and happy with money well spent and fully entertained. Steve isn’t a huge fan but he really liked the show, so I was pleased by that as well.

Before heading back to the hotel we had a nightcap at a Tiki Bar and I had a Taste the Rainbow which was Skittles Vodka and strawberry flavours.

When we got back, I took my shower, said “goodnight” to the castle, and crashed.

I had to take a Monday off work just to travel home early in the morning, but it was so worth it. Jack White promised he’d be back to Edinburgh, so I’ll count on going back myself.

My mother said she saw him on TV watching the World Series in Boston, so he must have hopped on the tram first thing to get to the airport in time. Bless.

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Recovering from a holiday

Happy sunrise

I don’t know how else to explain my crappy mood — I’m just recovering from my holiday.

We left on the 17th of September and went to Disney the first week. We were Jack and Sally for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and we had to turn back early from the gorilla exhibit at Animal Kingdom due to lightning in the area. We had dinner at the Japanese Steakhouse in EPCOT which was super fun and I can’t recommend it enough. After dinner, funny enough, we came across a concert and saw Living Color play live. (Yes, we got to hear “Cult of Personality.”) Steve shook the guitar player’s hand, we said hello to the singer, and all and all we had the best anniversary so far.

The first weekend was our Bahamas trip. We took my parents who had hemmed and hawed about this for ages, but went and enjoyed themselves as we knew they would. They got to try out their shiny new passports, and Dad took photos of Nassau as we came into port. We all hung out in a cabana on Coco Cay and the weather didn’t let us down the entire time. (Plus, the ship only swayed a bit in the night, which I was supremely thankful for.)

But after all of the fun in the sun, and the visiting my friends and family, and the staying up late to eat pizza and watch good TV had to end, and I was just sad. I went to work on Wednesday after we flew in on Tuesday and since then I’d been just plain blah.

Yesterday I got my flu jab and today was my day off and only the second day I’ve spent alone in the new house. I finished up Season Six of OITNB and then just napped. I spent all day feeling super sorry for myself because I’m back in jolly old England where it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit and just ugh! Why me?

But finally I knew I had to pull myself out of it because I started my MSc computer course again this week and I have a blank bullet journal and a new Happy Planner that needs my attention. Also, I’m trying to read Girl, Wash Your Face since it’s been talked about and recommended online a lot lately.

Other than that, it’s just back to being me in Pick Manor. Steve is good, Daisy is scheduled for her surgery on the 1st of December (which irritates me because I had tickets to see A Christmas Carol at Newcastle Uni’s Northern Stage that night) and Jake may be getting a new sister. There’s an elderly cat who’s in need of a retirement home, so she may be coming to live with us now. The more the merrier, I guess, yeah? Wish us luck!

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