Writing Journal 37: Bullet Journaling

Writing Journal 37: Bullet Journaling

My writing journal for Thursday, September 18, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

No fiction this morning, because I need to get the client’s rush copywriting job done by tomorrow. (The one to promote the inventory of new products.) I worked on the nonfiction book edits late last night , because I need to get those done by tomorrow too. Therefore, I spent the first three hours of my day focusing on those two projects. This week has zoomed by so quickly.

Oooh… the embarrassment…

Last night, while rearranging my schedule for the next couple of weeks, I discovered that I’d allowed a small copywriting project to slip through the cracks. Highly embarrassing, and guilt-inducing, because this client has been with me for years.

How could this happen? I use OmniFocus, Things, Evernote, and my handwritten journals. After I stopped slapping myself upside the head, I decided to implement a bullet journaling process. Not only because of the missed project, but also because I forget to add ideas, insights and inspirations from my daily handwritten journal to OmniFocus et al — I tell myself I’ll do it “later”, and later never arrives.

More on bullet journaling later today.

Breakfast for Honey, and breakfast for me, while I scan the day’s email. I deal with the responses which will take just a few minutes. (The two minute rule makes sense.) I leave the rest for Julia to schedule.

Then I deal with the missed copywriting project; I make a good start on it, and will have it done by close of business today. Before I start, I call the client and leave a sincere apology on his machine. I feel horrible over this. It should never have happened.

Next, a super-quick walk.

Copywriting marketing materials, and blogging

I need to get this rush job with the product inventory done tomorrow, so I spend the rest of the morning on that.

Phone calls, and lunch at my computer, while scanning social media, and checking over my draft blog posts.

Next, blogging for clients

I love blogging, but it’s relentless. No matter what else is happening, you need to keep up with your blog posts. I complete four posts, and create drafts for several more. I also add content for other posts which will be published this week. I schedule three posts.

Then it’s back to the copywriting project I missed. I leave it for Julia to proof and send to the client. I draft a quick note from me, apologizing again. Thank heavens that’s done.

Bullet journaling: write, see, remember

As I said yesterday, I keep several handwritten journals, because they help my productivity, by keeping me focused on the tasks at hand.

Journaling averts inertia. Inertia is always a big danger for writers. You’re battling inertia every time you begin a project. You battle it during projects too… You daydream and muse, instead of writing. Yes, thinking is important. However, general “thinking” tends to drift off into floating clouds of fantasy, and before you know it, you’re mulling over your next vacation, or wondering what happened to your red-headed best friend from second grade.

It’s no wonder that writers procrastinate. I used to be the queen of procrastination, and it’s an on-going battle to keep it under control. Journaling helps.

I investigated bullet journaling a few months back. A couple of writers I trust are keen on it. However, I didn’t see the need at the time. Now I do, because there’s a big problem with digital scheduling. Yes, it’s effective. However, it’s also possible to back-burner tasks endlessly, and there’s no real day by day archive of what you’ve done, and why you did it.

I’m not calling out any product, but have you seen the archive in OmniFocus, for example? Totally useless. Everything’s jumbled in together. I should say that I’ve used OmniFocus for years — even before it was OmniFocus, and will continue to use it. OmnifFocus started out as Ethan Schoonover’s Kinkless GTD — which was amazing for its time.

So, I decided to implement my own bullet journal. It’s easy to set up in just a few minutes — watch the video here, and you’ve got the gist. Once I’d set it up — in the Leuchtturm1917/ Whitelines medium hardcover notebook I received the other day — I immediately entered the starred items from my handwritten journal. I star items I want to transfer elsewhere, but I rarely get around to doing it.

Of course, it’s MUCH too early to judge how my new system will turn out. I do feel more in control, however. And in the course of setting up the Leuchtturm1917, I remembered several tasks I’d forgotten to enter anywhere else. Yes, writing by hand is slower, but it helps your memory. I’ve created a couple of Collections too, and have added them to the index so that I can find them again.

Fiction, at the wrong time of the day

I returned some phone calls, then opened Scrivener to get back to the novella. I thought that I’d just write a few hundred words, so I wouldn’t lose the thread of the project, but I managed just over 1,000 words, which is excellent, considering how distracted I’ve been.

Finally, my daily review — of my bullet journal and others :-) — and the day’s done. I’ll spend some time on the company history tonight, and the ebook I’m writing for a client. You end up having to scramble to catch up when things slip through the cracks. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.