Bullet Journal: Organization for Creatives

I’ve published a few bullet journal posts in the past with my writing bullet journal (which disappeared and hasn’t been attained since) and my first regular bullet journal (which I tried to use to put my life in order and that fell apart). It took me a while to pick up bullet journaling again, but a couple months ago, I saw the perfect color one at Barnes and Noble. I thought about that teal-colored notebook from Barnes and Noble for a whole week and finally decided to give bullet journaling another try. And boy, am I glad I did.

You can use a bullet journal for anything. You can use it any way you want (check out this website to get a gist of how the original bullet journal works), and the best part about it is, you can get as creative and artsy as you want. Time management, class schedules, year planner, homework due dates, food planning, daily journal, story/plot ideas, character caches, monthly overviews, blog schedule––all in one place. Cool, right? Pinterest is a great place to start for journaling tips and prompts, and inspiration of page layouts (and super fancy lettering and art that I could certainly never pull off but like to pin anyways because it looks pretty and who knows, maybe if I miraculously have some time on my hands, I could try). As a writer, blogger, student who works part time, and a human who tries to have a life, bullet journaling has really helped me with time management, priortizing tasks, and getting things done. And it’s also a creative outlet.

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Aesthetic Boards for Writers: A Guest Post by Harley Rae

This is Susannah, jumping in really quick to introduce this guest post by Harley Rae. I have been ridiculously busy in the last several weeks, what with school, musical theater, etc. that I haven’t been able to post for a long time. Thankfully, the amazing human Harley was willing to lighten the burden of this dangerous dilemma by writing up something awesome for this Tuesday to learn from and enjoy!

Aesthetic Boards for Writers - A Guest Post by Harley Rae

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Don’t Write What You Know

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the quote “Write what you know.” I believe Mark Twain originally said it.

Well, I hate to go against a well known saying by a prestigious author, but I don’t think it’s a quote writers should live by, even though I believe it does make sense to some extent.

Why?

Well, I just wrote this whole blog post explaining why, so keep your hair on.

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Let’s start with taking Twain’s little piece of advice seriously … and literally. Let’s say you, as a writer, decided to follow the tip, and started writing only what you knew. You came up with a pretty good story. Fantastic. Job well done. This means that this story is completely and wholly yours, it originated from your own thoughts and knowledge about the world. No one else influenced you besides what your mind already stored up. Great.

But this also means you didn’t do any research. You didn’t explore. You didn’t ask for help. And You most likely didn’t write a fantasy or science fiction novel.

Because writing a fantasy or science fiction novel or any kind of speculative fiction is basically writing what you don’t know. Writing in this genre means doing lots of research. It means using inspiration that you look for and find in books, movies, music, the news, other people, etc. You’re reading articles on diseases, basic econimcs, spaceship terminology and weapon diagrams. You’re writing about things that could never happen in real life like space, time travel, wizards, magic, whatever you usually find in a fantasy or sci-fi novel, and all of this goes completely against what you knew before. You’re learning things about reality as you incorporate them into your novel, but you’re also making up stuff. You’re delving into the world of the unknown to create different worlds, different creatures, different types of magic and powers. Did you know any of this? No. You’re writing what you don’t know. And it’s fun.

So, am I telling you to write speculative fiction? After all, the title of the post says “Don’t write what you know.”

Well, that isn’t the point. No matter what genre you’re working on, there’s plenty of room to write things you don’t know. And you could have a lot of fun with that, even writing realistic stories about real-ife people in the mundane world we live in. You’re going to have to do some research to add to your knowledge, but you’re also going to explore. You’re going to be writing about people you don’t know, things you didn’t know, you’ll be writing a whole story you didn’t know beforehand, even.

The point is to explore. Write outside the box. Try new things. Come up with your own ideas that no one has ever come up with and don’t be afraid to. If you’re used to doing it the other way, try writing a bunch of nonsense. Things that you wouldn’t believe could actually happen, and you’ll be writing things you never knew about. If you’ve never written that way, I suggest you try it. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll even discover things about real life along the way. Dig in. Write what you don’t know, and you won’t want to go back.(Guaranteed.)

Mark Twain wrote outside the box. He explored. He wrote books about traveling back into time: Heck, he wrote about a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court! So in the end, write what you know. But you’re also going to have to explore the unknown. Dive in. Just don’t keep your sanity in check because us writers. We just don’t do sane.

 

How do you write? Do you know everything you write? Or do you write of things you’ve never known about and take the time to explore while doing it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, even if you’re not a writer, and all your agreements or disagreements. In the meantime, thanks for reading. I owe you a spot of tea.

Keep Your Writing Organized with a Bullet Journal

I’m sure we writers hit a spot during our writing career when we feel overwhelmed. We’ve done a great job developing that plot, the foreshadowing and characters, but it’s too much. We can’t keep track, what with all the scattered Word files and notebooks full of unorganized scribbles. Let’s face it:

It’s tough being a writer. It can be depressing, writing about people, who, even though they are fictional, have serious problems. Delving into those problems and developing them, crafting them into a story, can lead to fictional stress (a real thing). It’s like you’re making sure ten different people are all taken care of and happy at the same time. Unorganized and dislocated, all these story tidbits, the tiniest scenes, the snatches of dialog, a character’s arc, etc. etc. all come tumbling down on your poor cluttered mind and distracts you, forcing you to lose your confidence. Your wits. Your sanity. Your nut.

Sound familiar?

For a while, this fit me to a T. When school started, it got worse, and I found the root of the problem was disorganization. I like keeping notes about my writing, but they’re all scattered in one tiny notebook I bring with me everywhere. There are a lot of ways to keep your writing organized; I’ve heard Scrivener is a very popular and handy resource particularly for fiction writers. But I can’t take a laptop everywhere I go. A notebook? Check. And that’s where all my writing ideas go before I log them onto a Word file.

I started researching how to gather up all my ideas into one place (in this case, a single journal) where I could find them easily. Now if that doesn’t sound like heaven to a plotter, I don’t know what does. In my research, I came across a term called “bullet journaling” and I was very happy with the article I found: Bullet Journaling for Fiction Writers

I bought a notebook. I fell in love with it. And I started to bullet journal. (Cue suspenseful music.)

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The Writer’s Thoughts: Faith, Asking Questions, and Our Limited Minds

Most of this post is just my own thoughts. Read on and don’t be afraid to agree or disagree or note any flaws. I am, after all, just a young writer.

As mortal beings, do we have limited minds? Are we unable to understand everything, though we try? Perhaps we were created with a limited amount of knowledge, but we are never happy with it; we want to know more. Whether this might be true or not, we are instilled with a passion, a love to learn, to gain knowledge, to understand. Everything. But maybe we can go only so far. Life is full of mystery. We have much more to learn, but there is a limit. For example, does the universe have bounds or does it go on forever? There’s no way of knowing … yet. And maybe we’ll never know. There’s some people who hate not being able to understand everything. And then there are people who like the mystery and the questions so they can come up with their own theories.

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History Helps You Write: Weapon Inspiration for Fantasy Fiction

“Ugh. Trying to break the stereotype … but the only weapon I can picture my character using is just a sword. My other character uses a bow and arrow, but everyone’s going to start picturing a guy with long perfect hair and elf ears. How do I create unique  weapons instead of giving my characters just some plain old dagger or pistol?”

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Inspiration: Using Images as Writing Prompts

“Actions speak louder than words.” I’m sure we’ve all heard that phrase before. However, today I’m going to switch some words out to get: “Pictures speak louder than words.” As writers, anything can pique our curiosity, spark some inspiration, and get our minds whirring. Our observations don’t only cause us to think, “Oh, that’s odd and interesting,” but will also make us wonder, “Hey, what a good story/character idea.” These little sparks of inspiration just come from life experience, but good story starters, character ideas, and dialogue bits can also come from pictures … any pictures.

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