The Bullet Journal is an awesome addition to a writer’s toolbox.
It will help organize a writer’s life so they can find time to work on their projects. It will help them know where they are in a project or where they sent a finished piece. Even help them complete the project itself if used correctly. Correctly being the way that helps a writer get their big project finished.
It can also be an elaborate affair, so it’s no wonder the system has its detractors that see it as an end in and of itself. Something used by people who should just get things done instead of wasting time with a book that tells them what they need to do.
I disagree. A Bullet Journal doesn’t have to be elaborate, though it is fine if that is what someone needs. It can be a utilitarian item. It can be a beautiful but minimalist item. And at its heart, Ryder Carroll’s creation is a highly adaptable thing where form follows function.
What is a Bullet Journal?
The simple answer is that it is an indexed book of lists. Many different kinds of lists like things that need to be done that month, things to do that day, notes for a project or meeting, books to read etc. But at the end of the day, those are all lists.
A Bullet Journal brings lists that would’ve been scattered and later unlocatable together so that they can be found. These lists are called modules and the main modules for the system are the index, future log, monthly log, and the daily log. Some add a weekly log and many add collections to centralize information like lists of books to read.
Why use a Bullet Journal?
Have a novel you’ve been stuck on? Short stories or poetry you need to track the submission of? Maybe you’re lucky enough to have an agent and need to track when and want to make time to pitch a perspective project to them?
A Bullet Journal can help with all of those things and the basic day to day thing of being a person in our modern world. Doctors appointments, your grocery list, when the last time you did laundry or cleaned the bathroom was etc. The little things that get in the way of writing. Get these things done, maybe during your breaks from writing or before, and you have more time to read, write, and just enjoy life in general.
The way the Bullet Journal does this is by something called rapid logging.
What is Rapid Logging?
Take a task, a note or an event. Write that down as concisely as it possibly can be while still being useful in the short term and, potentially, the long term. Add some symbols so you can tell what is what and how important it is…Voila!
Voila! You have rapid logging.
It really is that easy. And you can create whichever symbols suit your needs and are easy to do on the fly. However, I do suggest that people go check out Ryder’s website. The symbols there are pretty standard in the Bullet Journal community and they follow what I think of as the Three Rules of Rapid Logging.
- They’re concise.
- They’re understandable.
- They don’t require much effort to use.
Rapid Logging vs Longer Notes
By now, you have a basic grasp of the concept of rapid logging. And if you’re new to the system, you’re probably wondering about longer notes or journal entries. What do you do with those? Are they not part of the Bullet Journal?
Don’t worry. They’re not an official part of the system any more than the weekly log is, but there’s nothing wrong with writing longer notes when you need to. Just turn to the next available page or under everything else and write that long note and/or journal entry down. Give them their own symbol to set them apart if you think you need them.
The Bullet Journal is about what works for you, not what others think should work for someone else.