I keep what I like to call a Story Journal. Even before I learned about Bullet Journaling and how that could help with finding time to work on my projects. In fact, I would call the story Journal a writers best friend.
Here’s why a writer should consider using one. Especially if they’re not a fan of planners and just want something to help them organize their work. And how to set one up.
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What is a Story Journal?
The Story Journal a way of capturing information that a writer thinks is important. Project breakdowns, project ideas, editing notes, research notes etc. Even snippets of the story when there’s no for time to stop and use your preferred method of drafting or editing a story.
Like a mini universe unto itself, the Story Journal can capture information for as many or as few projects as a writer wants it to. My current is being used to organize information for three stories. And if I leave my Story Journal at home for some reason, I just take out my Bullet Journal— an awesome pumpkin-colored pocket-sized Traveler’s Notebook that fits easily into my messenger bag and is always with me— and note down whatever it was that I needed to write down right this second.
Why use a Story Journal?
There’s no shortage of reasons to use one. No worrying about having the right notebook with you when your out and about and need to write a story idea, a research question, editing notes etc. down. You can choose whatever type of notebook or another set up if you prefer. Are you a fountain pen user? Get a fountain pen friendly notebook and go to town scribbling away to your heart’s contentment.
But the biggest advantage is the one that makes the Bullet Journal so popular. Everything is centralized and nothing is just going to get lost if you don’t keep extra careful track of it. So, if you tend to lose those little bits of paper with story ideas and other ephemera scribbled on them and then end up cursing when discover they’re lost. The story journal means that won’t happen anymore. All you need to keep track of is a single notebook, binder etc.
How do you set up a Story Journal?
The Story Journal consists of two things, the index, and the collections.
1) The Index
The index organizes the wealth of information stored in the Story Journal. And it can be divided in many different ways. Some people prefer one who index where everything is thrown together, others prefer to separate the indices so only information from the same project is being indexed together. Some prefer to index things at the front of their method of choice, and some at the back so they don’t have to worry about running out of room in their notebook/binder.
Either way, the methodology is always similar. Label the designated pages as “INDEX”. Bellow that write the page title and the page number and…
Your index is done!
I take a more minimalist approach to collections. I write the name at the top of the page in my normal cursive and then whatever information that page is meant to store, I just write it down until I’m done or I’m interrupted by something that needs my immediate attention. Page numbers get added as I go along to prevent being stuck with the mind-numbing task of numbering everything at once.
You’ll find your own method of labeling collections that works for you.
Do you keep a Story Journal?