Shannon Stacey
Bullet Journal: Word Count Tracking Page

I was asked about how I track my word count in my bullet journal, and it’s easier to answer here. (If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version…theoretically.)

Pic of word count tracking page

I did up June’s page to be the example. Down the left are the days of the week and the date. Across the top are Title, Start, Days (until deadline), Goal, End, Total, and a little box to draw a star or a happy face if I meet the goal.

I wrote in an example, and even remembered to switch to pencil so I can erase it, LOL. Yay me! Let’s say I’m writing an 80,000 word book. I’m starting June with 8735 already written. I have 26 business (writing) days until my deadline, so I need to write 2741 words today to stay on track. (Ideally, more so that goal number is lower the next day.) Then I put in the end word count. When I stuck random numbers in, I accidentally blew it. My start word count was 8735 and my end count was 11,346, so I have 2611 for the day. (No happy face for me.) So the next day my goal would be slightly higher.

This year, I’m not working weekends, so I highlight the Saturdays and Sundays to block them out, as well as the goal blocks. I leave the weekends on the page, however, because sometimes I still write on the weekends. But I don’t¬†have to. You can see that Thursday the 30th is also pink. That’s the day before we leave for our long vacation at camp, which means a lot of running around and shopping and packing. Though I’ll probably still write some words, when I was calculating my deadline I recognized that there’s a good chance I won’t and I factored that in ahead of time rather than set myself up for falling a day behind.

Photo of weekly layout

In my weekly layout, I also highlight a block between my top 3 tasks for the day and my hourly breakdown. I write my goal for the day there so it’s in my face, so to speak. But the rest of the word count tracking is on the June Words page.

There’s some redundancy in listing the title each day. And obviously the end word count for one day is the starting word count for the following day. But it’s part of¬†my process to write it all out in the morning, just to help me focus on what needs doing.

There are as many ways to track word count in a bullet journal as there are writing bullet journalists, but this way works for me and lets me see at a glance how the month went. Over time you can take that data and see not how you plan to write over a year, but how you actually write over a year.

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When past me confuses present me…

Photo of planner with "crack pot stuff" as the 9am task

When it’s 6:30am and your planner says “crack pot stuff” and all you can do is wish past you had been more specific. ūüėā (Caffeinated me needs to “buy the ingredients for crack potatoes”.)

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A Nook sale for HEAT EXCHANGE!

Heat Exchange

Hey, ‚Ä™Nook¬†readers, B&N is having a ‚ÄúStart A Series‚ÄĚ sale¬†and you can get HEAT EXCHANGE for only $1.99!

Yes, my Nook needs a sexy firefighter!¬†<–It really does!

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#listifylife – Top 3 Books On My TBR Pile

Top 3 Books on my TRB pile, listed in text below

This week’s Listify Life¬†theme is “Top 3 books on my TBR pile”, which would be the 3 most recently bought if it was a physical pile. (At least, that’s how I interpreted it.)

Dirty by Kylie Scott

Barely Breathing by Pamela Clare

Until You by Jeannie Moon

What’s¬†your TBR Top 3?

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How I Bullet Journal In A Traveler’s Notebook

(I get asked about my planner quite often and I’m writing this mostly to have it to point to later. It will be long and picture heavy and, if you don’t care how I bullet journal in a traveler’s notebook, probably rather boring.)

First, if you’re not familiar with bullet journaling or traveler’s notebooks, these links give quick overviews (and will open in new pages):¬†Bullet Journal¬†and¬†Traveler’s Notebook

At some point last year, I realized I¬†really need a paper planner. I used (and still use) my phone’s calendar and reminder apps, but my brain likes writing things down on paper. ¬†I started with the¬†ARC system, but quickly realized I despise disc-bound systems. Then I decided on the¬†A5 Filofax¬†because patent fuschia! I was going to do my own printables, but I’m not very good with scissors or paper cutters and the slightly uneven pages drove me mad. And it wouldn’t lay flat. Then came the¬†Erin Condren, which I loved, but I realized I needed hourly breakdowns. That, and lusting after Roni Loren’s, brought the¬†Day Designer¬†into my life. It’s gorgeous and I loved it—a lot—and I still recommend it to people. But I missed having a weekly view. And I didn’t need quite that many hours in the day. I was repeating a lot from day to day because I couldn’t see the other days in the week. And flipping the pages was a lot, so I was starting to ignore it.

So I went back to bullet journaling, just to try it for a week. I had one of the¬†“official” bullet journals¬†from a crowdsourcing campaign, but it’s basically a dot grid Leuchtturm1917, which you can get in many awesome colors. I didn’t even make it through the week before I knew I’d be sticking with it. The only problem I had was the need to carry multiple notebooks. I often write scenes from books or plotting notes and whatnot by hand, but I didn’t want to write that in my bullet journal. Then I ordered this pretty rose-gold¬†traveler’s notebook¬†just because I saw one and it’s pretty, with no idea what I’d do with it. Once I got it, I realized the mash-up of bullet journal and traveler’s notebook had the potential to finally achieve planner peace. And I was right.

Picture of the shiny pink-gold traveler's notebook

The shiny traveler’s notebook! (It’s hard to capture the color.) Traditionally they’re made of leather which softens and wears like beloved jeans with use, but I couldn’t resist this finish. We’ll see how long it stands up. (If you click on the pictures, you should be able to see a larger version.)

Inside cover, with card slots, and the cahier notebooks

Inside, there are card slots I don’t use. I keep a few sticker sheets in the front pocket, and a¬†Filofax 2017 fold out planner¬†in personal size folds up neatly in the back pocket for future planning. I have four inserts in it and the first is a lined¬†Moleskine cahier¬†for handwriting scenes and plot notes on the go, as well as miscellaneous things I want to write down, but not necessarily “archive” in my bullet journal proper.

picture of monthly calendar page

Next up is a thin insert from the Etsy shop¬†YellowPaperHouse. The future log and calendex systems used by many bullet journalists don’t work for me, so this is nothing but 13 months of blank monthly pages for all of my future planning needs.

Picture of weekly layout

Next up are the meat and potatoes of the bullet journal, and both are done in¬†squared Moleskine cahier notebooks: a notebook of weekly pages and a notebook for my lists and collections. In the original bullet journal, they were all together, but I knew I’d be filling the cahiers quickly, since they have substantially fewer pages than the Leuchtturm or other hardcover journals. I didn’t want to lose or have to recopy my lists and collections that often, so now I can replace the weekly layout notebook as it fills, while preserving the separate collections.

It took me three or four tries to find a weekly layout that worked for me. If you punch “bullet journal” into google or search the hashtag on Instagram, you’ll find thousands of ideas. The best thing about bullet journaling is that you can not only customize it perfectly to your needs, but you can also change it from week to week. (Hint: Never work too far ahead when it comes to drawing in your layouts.)

I have Monday through Friday set up with the Top 3 Tasks for the day, a highlighted box for my word count goal, and then the hours from 8-6. I think I might drop that down to 9-5, because I rarely use the 8 and 6. I have boxes for Saturday and Sunday, but they’re unstructured. Then I have my tasks for the week: Important Shit, Shit To Do, Shit To Clean, Shit To Eat, and Miscellaneous Shit. I also have trackers for things like cleaning the cat box and remembering I have Pinterest boards, and water trackers.

Pic of messy completed week

I’m messy. I doodle. I like stickers. I don’t like water.

Collage of some of the lists in the 4th notebook

In the last insert are my lists and collections. I track a lot of things in this one (mostly private). I log my word count. I keep a food log. I track important dates and deadlines. I list the books I’ve read with a letter grade. And things like a list of fun things I want to do this summer. A list of things I need to do before we move (hopefully) later this year. A wish list of things to buy in an effort to curb impulse buying because if I wait a few days, I often realize I don’t want it anymore. (I’ll still want the football washi tape, though.) And I’m tracking my¬†goal to watch more movies, which isn’t going well for May.

Picture of closed notebook

And that’s it. This particular combination of traveler’s notebook and Moleskine inserts lays flat next to my laptop, and I can slip an insert out of the elastic with no trouble if I want to. (When I’m drawing in the weekly layouts, for example.) And best of all, my entire life, as well as a notebook for jotting down story bits, can be easily carried around in one compact, pretty package.

Edited to add:

To illustrate the constant evolution of a bullet journal and how adaptable it is to its user, I’m already planning a few tweaks to the layout.

Pencil draft of new layout


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