More Than A Writer

More Than A Writer

There’s more to life than being a writer. Sounds heretical, blasphemous even. How can someone who blogs about writing and claims to be a writer herself say that?

Well, it’s simple really. Much as we may want to just sit in a coffee shop, our office, at a table just write every single day. We can’t. Life get’s in the way of doing that. Whether it be going to see the doctor, family events or obligations, dates with the significant other, getting sick or anything else. Life continuously throws us curveballs that stop us from spending our lives just writing.

Does that mean we shouldn’t follow that oft-quoted advice to write every day? No. There’s value in sitting down and writing something each day. It could be a poem. It could be a paragraph of a story. It could be a few words of a story. Writing every day helps keep us inspired. But it does mean we have to accept that other things will come along and prevent us from writing as much as we want on a given day.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why I started this post the way I did. Am I just being contrary and difficult in order to mess with you?

No. I’m not. I fully believe that writing every day is a great personal goal. But allowing writing to consume our lives isn’t healthy. We need to interact with others and experience life, both as people and as writers. Living life instead of merely existing for the sake of being able to write adds a depth to our writing it may not otherwise have. It aids in the ability to write emotions well. It aids in our ability to describe settings. And it gives us a chance to work out the problems in whatever we’re writing at a given point in time, which helps us when it comes to editing.

So if you find yourself being consumed by writing, take a walk. Go to a party. Go to the museum. Take up painting and set time aside for that in addition to writing. Go out with friends or to a family gathering.

Live life. You’re more than a writer. You’re the protagonist of your own story.

I can be found on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.


Reading/Watching/Listening To

Reading: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Watching: The Dark Crystal

Listening To: Nightwish| Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate in links. All that means is that I may receive a small commission if you click on a link from a product I’ve recommended in this post and purchase/subscribe to one of them. I’ll only ever recommend products I’ve used and enjoyed myself.Thank you for supporting my dorky little corner of the internet!

Bullet Journal Basics| Collections & Conclusions

Bullet Journal Collections & Conclusions Title

We’ve covered so many topics during this series introducing the Bullet Journal® and breaking it down. Everything from Rapid Logging to the Monthly Log and the well-loved extra known as the Weekly Log. I’ve enjoyed every moment writing this series, even the more frustrating ones.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me ramble about the process of writing this series. So let’s get this show on the road and start talking about Collections.

What Is A Collection?

In the Bullet Journal® system, collections are a way of separating information out. A way of organizing things so that they’re more easily found. It can be a list of books to read, meeting notes for work, breaking down a project etc. what matters is that a collection sets this information apart.

Using Collections

As much of a cop-out as it seems, I don’t have much to say on the use of collections. The way they’re used is extremely mutable, individual to the person. This is because the exact information is linked to the person using a specific Bullet Journal®, their needs from a given collection, and what meets those needs.

Collection Ideas

Despite the idea personal nature of collections and how that makes what collections someone may need in their journal impossible to predicts. I can give advice the following advice and some examples.

Don’t add collection just because you saw it on Pinterest or some other social media and it looked useful or interesting. Ask yourself if it will fit your needs and if you will actually use it before adding it to your journal. Collections are meant to be used and adding something then finding out it doesn’t meet your interests and needs can be discouragings. It’s your journal and you can take charge of what is in it so that you can be happy with your progress over time instead of frustrated.

A list of Books To Read, for example, will help those who love reading keep track of their reading, expand their horizons to things that sound interesting, and give those who want to read more a sense of accomplishment when they check a book of the list.

Project Breakdowns can act as both a way of breaking large projects down and a way of indexing any other pages that are part of those projects, like a bibliography or citations for a thesis.

Meeting Notes can help a business person or someone who heads up a social club keep track of what is going on at, well, meetings. All notes about meetings with a certain client can go under the same collection, being linked to pages via a process known as threading or a sub-index. Keeping everything in one space and easy to find later.

On the other hand, some people keep a list of the TV Shows I’m Watching, a Series Rewatch or Movies To Watch as a way of keeping track of how much TV/Films they consume and if they like them.

The list of possible collections is endless. As you use your journal more and more, your collections and the way you use your Bullet Journal® will evolve.

You can find me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

 


Others In The Series

The Series Intro

The Index

The Future Log

The Monthly Log

The Daily Log

The Weekly Log

New Writers & New Horizons

New Writers- New Writers & New Horizons

Being a new fiction writer is a nerve-wracking experience. You wonder about a lot of things. Am I any good? Are my stories original enough? What genre should I write and do I have to write only that genre from now on? Do I want to write should fiction? Isn’t it better to write novels?

I was there once and I still wouldn’t call myself a seasoned writer yet. I’ve only been submitting things for a couple of years, and I have my own issues. For example, I need to submit more and dedicate more time to finding possible venues for my work. And I need to finish my longer form projects instead of making excuses. But I hope that, by introducing this permanent series and giving it its own category in my blog topics list, I can help people just starting out.

Breakdowns of genres, talks about writing advice and the basics of writing such as point of view and creating compelling characters. The universe is the limit when it comes to this new category.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Feel free to let me know what topics you would like to see covered in this new category.

Until next time.


Reading/Watching/Listening To

Reading: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Watching: Being 17

Listening To: H.I.M Darklight

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate in links. All that means is that I may receive a small commission if you click on a link from a product I’ve recommended in this post and purchase/subscribe to one of them. I’ll only ever recommend products I’ve used and enjoyed myself.Thank you for supporting my dorky little corner of the internet!

 

Edgar Allan Poe & Me

Edgar Allan Poe & MeEdgar Allan PoeEdgar Allan Poe (January 19th, 1809–October 7th, 1849) is one of my all-time favorite writers.

I first came across Poe’s work when I was twelve or thirteen. This was around the same time I was discovering a love of Gothic music, fashion, and the macabre in general. If you want to learn more about this time in my life, check out the post Gothic Minimalism. It goes into much more detail than we have space for here.

Anyway…back to Poe.

As a teen inclined towards darker things, I found that Poe’s work increasingly pulled me in over time. After all, they are really good. I’ve even used Annabel Lee as the inspiration for several stories. It is just that versatile and fertile as idea fodder. But in reality, it really was the darkness.

Most of the short stories in Poe’s repertoire falls into the modern definition of the Horror genre. Families going mad, people going mad or already being insane, and circumstances both mysterious and terrifying are in abundance. Though people do tend to forget some of his works were mysteries or detective stories. His poems tend to be about a beautiful woman or the death of one.

Take note of Poe’s work as a Horror writer. Because, I admit, his work is part of what drew me to the writing the genre myself. Poe was the first writer that really gave me a glance at what Horror could be. I had already loved and read the genre before, but I hadn’t thought of it as the robust genre it is before I discovered Poe’s work.

Everything from my Horror Romance work to my SciFi Horror to my Horror that doesn’t mix in other genres is a result of the belief Horror can deal with any topic. Case in point, in a post called The Beauty In Horror, I talk briefly about a story idea that deals with a demon mother having trouble weaning her child off of her flesh and onto human flesh. That’s actually a story that I wrote. I had a lot of fun trying to make such a mundane and everyday topic scary, bringing horror into the everyday.

That idea and others, which tend to blur the line between mundane and terrifying, are my own. My love of both writing and darkness means I likely would’ve been writing Horror anyway. But Poe is the one who gets’s credit for opening my eyes much sooner than they would’ve been otherwise.

Please, feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. For an introvert, I’m pretty chatty about a lot of things.

Until next time.


Reading/Watching/Listening To

Reading: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Watching: Being 17

Listening To: H.I.M Darklight

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate in links. All that means is that I may receive a small commission if you click on a link from a product I’ve recommended in this post and purchase/subscribe to one of them. I’ll only ever recommend products I’ve used and enjoyed myself.Thank you for supporting my dorky little corner of the internet!

 

Bullet Journal Basics| The Weekly Log

Bullet Journal Basics- Weekly Log Title

We’re almost at the end of the Bullet Journal Basics series and I have to say that it’s been enjoyable. Hecktick at times and frustrating when writing occasionally, but I still enjoyed it. So I hope everyone else enjoys this penultimate post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

However, I do have one thing to note before we move on. The Weekly Log is a subject of debate in the Bullet Journal community. Some feel it can be part of the basic system and some feel using it makes the Bullet Journal a DIY Planner. Personally, I don’t see it as being an official part of the basic system. It isn’t part of the getting started videos or web page. But it can be useful for those who feel they need it and it can be simple.

What Is A Weekly Log?

I like to think of a Weekly Log as a useful addition to the system. Like the middle tier of a cake. The top tier is the Future Log and the bottom is the Daily Log, the workhorse of the system.

The Weekly Log is a great way to break down larger projects. Sometimes those projects can be really long-term like writing a novel, and other times they’ll be writing a short story or an essay. But the ability to just add a task or two to your Daily Log and then, when those are complete, check it off of the Weekly. It can build a sense of progress and that sense of progress can be very good for completing long-term projects.

The downside is that not completing the tasks you set for yourself can be discouraging. I would suggest starting with a week long or two-week long project before using a weekly to track progress on something more long-term.

How Is It Used?

Using a Weekly Log is simple. All you need to do is the following:

  • Create a variation that suits your needs.
  • Fill out the information you already know.
  • Check things off as things get done/deadlines are reached.

It should be noted that some people only use a Weekly Log and a Monthly Log. Or use a Weekly only. Experiment. You’ll find your way.

Weekly Log Variations

It can’t be stressed enough how important finding the variations of each Bullet Journal® module that works for you is. With that in mind, here are some simple variations to get those who wish to use this extra module started.

The Simple List is, as the name suggests, the simplest of the variations we’ll cover. There’s literally nothing to it. You just write the week, date range, or both at the top of the page and then write down the items on your list.

It fits in just about any size Bullet Journal, from the tiny to the large. It can also be prettied up if a Bullet Journalist wishes to do that, or modified in other ways. For example, the first letter of each weekday can be placed under or beside reoccurring tasks as a rudimentary sort of tracker. Week long chunks of larger projects can also benefit from this treatments.

However, much as it is great for weeks you have no desire or time to do the next two methods. Variations like adding the first letter of a weekday can make things confusing.

Batched Lists can be considered a step up from the Simple List. However, they’re still very simple. Repeat the header process for the Simple List, then you just divide tasks and events into as many lists as you want or need. Dividing things can get a bit convoluted though, and make adding to lists a bit difficult.

If going with Batched Lists, I would suggest more than two to start. By doing it this way, the Bullet Journalist figures out what they need in their journal. Do they need this list setup to be one page or do they need a full two-page spread? It’s worth noting that someone using an A6 or other small notebooks will likely need a two-page spread regardless of how simple they keep things.

The exception to this is someone using a B6 notebook as their Bullet Journal. The upside to this is that it forces those using smaller journals to be ruthless with about what is important enough to make each list. The downside is that someone may find they need more pages than if they had been using a medium or large notebook at their Bullet Journal. That brings us to the last simple Weekly Log methods, the Alastair Method.

The Alastair Method will be familiar to anyone who has read my post on the Future Log, but it bears recapping.

The Alastair Method was devised by Alastair Johnson during the period I like to call Bullet Journal 1.0. At the time, there was no Future Log. There was only the Index, Monthly Log, Daily Log, and Collections. Eventually, people asked about how to record tasks and events further out than a month so often that Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal®, added the Future Log module to the basic system.

It’s a simple and versatile method that is good for breaking down large projects into smaller chunks. Good for getting reoccurring tasks off your Daily Log, if you choose to use a Daily Log. Good for combining tasks and tracking into one entity. The Alastair Method even fits in almost all notebooks.

To use this method you follow the same header method for both the Batched and Simple Lists. When that is done, a couple of lines down you write the first letter of each weekday on the left side of the page. The right side of the page is where you write your tasks. For a more in-depth look, please visit this link. It will take you to the official Bullet Journal website’s page on the Alastair Method.

What I use

I use all of the methods in this posts depending on my mood and how much time I have on a given Sunday. Most often I use the Alastair Method because it provides structure while not overwhelming me. I like that it get’s big tasks or ones that repeat off of my Daily Logs, allowing me to break them down into smaller tasks or just cross them off.

Please don’t forget to join me for the last post in this series. I’ll be talking about Collections and wrapping everything up.

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Researching| Constructed Worlds

Researching Constructed Worlds

Welcome to the last post in a series I like to call Researching Different Settings. I’ve already covered Historical Fiction/Settings and Contemporary settings. If you’re interested, click the links and read those posts.

This week the topic is constructed worlds.

What Is A Constructed World?

Constructed worlds are worlds that aren’t Earth. Think Vulcan and other planets from Star Trek, Middle Earth from Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings and other works. Think about your standard Fantasy and sci-fi world that isn’t Earth. Those worlds are Constructed Worlds.

This type of setting is also known as a Secondary World setting. It’s a very common setting for Epic and High Fantasy stories. Fun fact: High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy are used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. It has to do with the scope of the quest being undertaken in the story. I’ll be doing a post on it in the future.

The Types Of Constructed Worlds

Because of their ubiquitous nature in Fantasy, people can be forgiven for assuming there is only one type of Constructed World. In a way, they’re right. A Constructed World is a Constructed World. The history and reasons for the peculiarities will be different from our world.

However, because of the different types of research needed, ones that mimic either Contemporary Settings or Historical Settings, I would say there are actually two types of Constructed World.

Standard Constructed Worlds are the worlds you see in quite a bit of Epic, High, and Quest Fantasy. They don’t take after any specific timer period but tend to give a general feeling of being in some far off past. Often it is a pseudo-Medieval type of past, actually. I have many good books on my shelf with this setting. They’re quite enjoyable to read when the smaller details are well researched and compiled to help form a historically inaccurate, but internally consistent world.

On the upside, the research is quicker and tends to be much more focused than historically based settings. But on the downside, this does mean there’s less guidance for the writer about what topics to choose to research. This can mean stopping to do research on something seemingly small that will effect the story as a whole and delay finishing the novel, novella, or short story.

Historically Based Settings, on the other hand, mimic Historical Fiction/Settings in the complexity of the research. If the world is based on Ancient Egypt, it will require the writer to pick a period of Ancient Egyptian history and research the technology, values and customs, and various bits and pieces of the Era.

This research requirement can take months, even before the story is written. And if you ask any Historical Fiction writer, the research on little things will only be completely finished when the story is written and fully edited. It’s both rewarding and exhausting.

Basic Questions To Ask Yourself

Those writing something with a setting based on a historical period in our world’s history should start with the questions from the Historical Settings post. For those researching a Standard Constructed World, the following questions are a good starting point:

  • What do people wear?
  • What do they value as a society and why?
  • What is their technology like in various areas?
  • How are they governed?
  • How do their values affect societal opinions on gender, orientation, and various other topics?

As you can see, the list isn’t a long one. And yes, I am aware that I broke the cardinal rule of bullet points with that last bullet. It was needed. People don’t often consider views on those topics I used as an example in that question, nor others. But a world with a different history, especially in a multi-society world like our own, will have different values and views on things we take for granted. I’m going to can-o-worms the topic for a later post, which will be linked back to this one.

Before we finish up, I would like to say that you don’t have to take anything in this post as gospel. Not even the questions. The methodology in this post and the entire series are just ones that have worked for me.

Have fun. Discover what works for you. Consider this series and this post to be a springboard for your own methods.

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Other Posts In The Series

Researching| Historical Fiction

Researching| Contemporary Settings


Reading/Watching/Listening To

Reading: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Watching: Being 17

Listening To: H.I.M Razorblade Romance

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate in links. All that means is that I may receive a small commission if you click on a link from a product I’ve recommended in this post and purchase/subscribe to one of them. I’ll only ever recommend products I’ve used and enjoyed myself.Thank you for supporting my dorky little corner of the internet!

Bullet Journal Basics| The Daily Log

Bullet Journal Basics- The Daily Log TitleColor me unimpressed with my own ability to keep a schedule when it comes to this series. I hope the rest of May will be much better.

What Is A Daily Log?

The Daily Log or daily list is a staple of the system as shown on the official website. A place to keep things you want to get done that day, appointments, notes, tasks that come up, minor tracking, and even journal-like entries.

It can be as simple or complex as someone wants and has many variations.

Using The Daily Log

Using the Daily Log is simple. For one that looks like Ryder’s from Bulletjournal.com, all you have to do is place the date and possibly day of the week at the top of a page or below the last Daily Log. From there you just use rapid logging and the occasional longer entry until the day is done.

Get a new story idea while working on something else? Just note down the idea with the right symbol and you’re good to move along with what you were doing.

Feel like writing a diary entry at the end of the day? Just write whatever symbol you’ve devised to signify those entries start the entry right under it.

Food tracking? Just find a spot that works log it with the appropriate symbol.

The more you use it, the more aware you become of what you need it to do for you.

Variations In The Daily Log

It seems like there are as many variations of the Daily Log as there are people who use the Bullet Journal at times. That isn’t wrong, there are a lot of variations. So many I couldn’t even begin to list everyone and the tweaks each person makes to them. However, this series is about the basics of Bullet Journaling. So it seems fitting that I cover three basic and minimalist variations to the system. Split pages, timelines, and pre-drawn Daily Logs.

I would’ve also chosen to cover the Ryder or Traditional Daily Log, but that can easily be found on the official website and I have a post coming up within the next couple of months detailing how that style can benefit Bullet Journalists. So let’s get the show on the road, starting with Split Pages.

Split Pages are a variation not because there are any special changes made to the original Daily Log itself, but because the pages are split as the name hints at. They lend themselves really well to the continual nature of the Traditional Daily Log. If you run out of space all you need to do is continue the Daily Log in the next column and go about your business.

This makes Split Pages a no muss, no fuss style. One that can fit in easily in a range of sizes from A4 down to B6. However, this variation is hard to do in A6, pocket, and other small notebooks. Most people find that there just isn’t enough room.

Timelines on the other hand, while used by many, require a bit more forethought than Split Pages. For one, they take more time to set up. That’s just a fact. It may be a few seconds or a minute for the simplest ones, but it’s still more time. So they aren’t for people who dislike spending time setting up their Daily Logs. But where they may fall flat on setup time, they excel in customizability.

They can be as simple or as complex as the Journalist wishes them to be. Color coded to high the stratosphere or simple changes in crosshatching that allow the Journalist to use one pen. Even just lines connecting tasks/appointments/events to the time slot in which they were done. They can go across the top of a page, be a box on a page, and be done vertically either to one side of down the middle of a page.

However, like Split Pages, it can be a bit hard to implement Timelines in smaller setups.

This leaves us with the last variation, Pre-Drawn Daily Logs. Pre-Drawn Daily Logs are a hybrid between Daily Logs and Weekly Logs. Some even think of them as being a Weekly Log style and not a type of Daily Log.

They can span two or more pages in a Split Page style or include Timelines. They can be vertical or horizontal. For people who don’t tend to vary the amount of space their Daily Logs take up, they’re a great way to get things done without spending time worrying about setting up Daily Logs during the week. But using them does mean the person needs to set up extra space if they run out of room. There’s also a lot of wasted space if the whole section isn’t used or the Journalist skips a day entirely.

What I Use

Out of all the variations, I find that the Traditional Daily Log is the one that works best for me.

It’s a no muss, no fuss sort of setup. A few minutes to look over what I did the previous day and look over my weekly log for tasks that can be broken down into small chunks, then 30-seconds to write the daily heading and I’m good to go. However, I am toying with the idea of a Timeline when I feel I need. Variety being the spice of life is more than a simple cliche, it helps me to find variations on the standard Bullet Journal format which work for me.

You can find me on Twitter and facebook. Come over and visit. Until next time.