bullet journal · nanowrimo · personal · Productivity tools · Writing resources

How I’m Prepping for my First Ever NaNoWriMo: Bullet Journal Set-up and Planning

Happy NaNo Eve to all you fellow NaNo-ers! Yesterday I talked about how I’ve been planning my novel for NaNoWriMo and as you can probably tell I’m pretty excited to get started. Today I thought I’d quickly show you how I’ve been planning for this huge time commitment in my trusty bullet journal so that I can minimise the risk of getting caught out by  events and tasks when they come up.

So first off, I made my monthly spread with all my major events for the month written in, plus my (unfortunately incomplete) lists of tasks and goals:


I haven’t written in all my work hours or accounted for recurring things that I do every/most days but like I said, I have all my major events for the month mapped out here.

As you can see, I have a couple of weekends away where I don’t expect to get any writing done at all, so next I wanted to plan out how many words I will need to write each day accounting for those days I’m going to miss:


This spread is based on one created by Kara at Boho Berry which you can see here. She actually includes a downloadable for this spread so that you can print it off for yourself and stick it in your planner, but I decided to do my own version by hand so that I could customise the number of words I need to write each day to suit my own schedule.

So the first column in the table on the left hand side shows my word count goal for each day in November. As you can probably see I have a few days there showing 0 words for the two weekends when I’ll be away and unable to get any writing done. I also decided to front load my word count goals, meaning that I’ll be aiming to take advantage of the overwhelming burst of inspiration and motivation in the first few days (that totally happens, right?) and write more in the first and second weeks than in the third and fourth when I might start to run on fumes! If I aim to write more in the first couple of weeks that will also give me a bit of a buffer if I do fall behind at any point by hopefully preventing my necessary words per day from getting too high.

The second column is for my actual words per day so I can see whether I met my daily target or not; the third column is for the total number of words to date if all goes to plan with the fourth column showing my actual words to date, and the fifth showing how many words I have left to go.

On the right hand page I have some word count milestones which I plan to colour in when I reach them, with spaces to assign myself rewards for when I reach a certain number of words along the way. I am actually having a little trouble with filling these in because I can’t seem to think of any rewards I can give myself besides a huge pizza or chocolate cake! If you guys have any good reward ideas please let me know in the comments!

I really like this spread because I can check my table on the left page to see exactly which day I will reach each milestone word count and earn a reward so it really gives me something to look forward to and keep me motivated.

Next I just have my weekly spread for the first week in November (I’m not done filling it in just yet so it looks a little blank):



So for each day I have included how many words I need to write as a task (signified by a little empty box). For this week I decided to use a “dutch door” in the middle to keep track of my goals and tasks (also my meals and “happy things” sections not pictured) which is a method I really like. If you want to try it out for yourself there are a couple of different ways to do it and I really recommend checking out this video for a great demonstration of how it works.

You can see under my “Goals” section that I made a small tracker for my word count throughout the week. As I said I plan to front load my word count so I want to get 15,350 words done in the first week. I will colour in the grey bar on the right as I go using one block of four squares (one big square) to represent 1,000 words. If all goes according to plan I will hit 10,000 words on Saturday and earn my first reward! (Probably pizza.)

So that’s how my November is looking right about now. I am usually a short story writer and I have never attempted anything even close to 50,000 words in a month let alone 15,350 words in a week! Honestly I have no idea how well I’m going to do because this is just so far out of my comfort zone but it’s such an exciting challenge and I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun regardless. I can’t wait to make a start and I’ll be here at my laptop ready to go at midnight!

If you are a writer, do you also keep a bullet journal? How do you use it? If you liked this post let me know and I’ll try to post more about how I use my bujo!


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