Four quick reads on writing

When I was on vacation earlier this month, I read some e-books on writing. Even though these gems were inexpensive and quick, they provided me with some valuable lessons to apply to my writing craft.

Here they are:

  • 2940045351874_p0_v2_s192x300Self-publishing a Book
    By Hank Quense
    Quense has a great series on self-publishing and this is the second one I’ve read. He’s great about explaining why he does it the way he does, but let’s the reader know everyone needs to self-publish the way that is best for himself. Good advice on what publisher to use. I will be coming back to this book as a reference.
  • 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
    2940152280371_p0_v1_s192x300By Rachel Aaron
    I loved Aaron’s Eli Monpress series and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff. She gives advice on how to increase the amount of writing that gets done during a writing session by applying her triangle of knowledge, time and enthusiasm. Now, if that sounds vague, she does get specific about what they mean in this book.
  • Writing from the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone In Between
    By James Scott Bell
    9780910355117_p0_v1_s192x300I love Kill Zone, a blog for which Bell contributes as part of a community of writers. This book provided a fascinating piece of advice about character development for novel writing: the “Mirror Moment.” Once again, it’s something I knew already, but didn’t know I knew. This quick read will change the way you plan your novel–and it’s easy to apply to a draft you’ve already started.
  • Scrivener Superpowers: How to Use Cutting-Edge Software to Energize Your Creative Writing Process
    By M.G. Herron
    2940157649920_p0_v1_s192x300I already read several books on Scrivener when I first learned to use it. The difference between those books (although they were wonderful and helpful) and this one is that Scrivener Superpowers gets into the nitty-gritty of not just learning to use it, but how to use is as a writer. His No-Nonsense Novel Template is also great.

So if you’re looking for some quick lessons for improving your fiction writing with maximum impact, you should check these books out. I highly recommend them.

How I Use My Bullet Journal

 

notebook-1174776My closest friends know my deepest secret: I use a bullet journal. I rave about it. I’m a little obsessed with it. I’ve been talking about it so much, I suspect they are planning a bullet journal intervention.

However, if they saw how a bullet journal could change their lives, they would turn the intervention on themselves and say, “Yeah, using a bullet journal organizes my life with minimal effort.”

I think everyone should use a bullet journal, but, of course, not everyone gets it or sees how great it is. It’s a special club. Anyone can join, but few understand why they should. If you are still reading this, it’s probably because you already use the bullet journal system for organizing your life and want to see how I do mine.

That’s what I’d be doing.

You see, I’m always looking for tips on bullet journaling. It’s organic. It’s customized. It’s what you want it to be. Everyone does it their own way.

So instead of going over what a bullet journal is (just click on the link in the first paragraph of this blog post to get the basics), I’m going to tell you what works best for me.

My Best Practices for My Bullet Journal:

  • Start the INDEX from the back and work forward. When your entries meet the INDEX page, then it’s time to get a new notebook. Most people leave some blank pages at the beginning of the journal. By starting on the last page, there’s no guessing how many pages to reserve.
  • Use ONLY ONE NOTEBOOK. This is a standard best practice, but I didn’t realize how important it was until I consolidated all my to-read booklists into one notebook. I had lists on my computer, in folders, on my phone, etc. Now they’re all in one place.
  • Use a HABIT TRACKER. Each month, make a chart that lists daily habits you want to incorporate into your life. By keeping track, you can see where you need to improve. The tracker also motivates you to keep up with habits. It’s like a game: see if you can check off every habit for today. Also, on my DAILY LOG, I list habit tracker and that covers all my daily habits so I don’t have to write them out everyday. Saves space in the notebook as well. See my HABIT TRACKER below.
  • On the first page, list your CONTACT INFORMATION. In case your bullet journal gets misplaced, someone can get it back to you.
  • Include a page of Bullet Journal GUIDELINES and TERMS. At the beginning of the notebook, I include a page of guidelines I will be using. On the next page, I list and define all the common terms used with bullet journaling, like collections or tasks. This can be a great refresher when you start a new notebook as well as an excellent reference.
  • Use THREADING to keep track of a collection. If I start a collection that takes up more than one page, I write the all the pages numbers the collection is on at the bottom of each page.
  • Use GATEWAY PAGES to index related collections and other listings. For example, I had several book lists (each a different collection) in different places of my journal. I used one page to list them all and the page numbers where they could be found. I called the gateway page Book Reading Plan.
  • Take notes for a class, etc., on separate paper then TRANSCRIBE them into your bullet journal. Not only will going back over your notes help you retain what you heard, but you can write them more neatly. I do this for webinars, videos, sermons, meetings or any situation in which I take notes.
  • Join the Bullet Journal community on Google+. This is a great way to see how other people use their bullet journal. You can incorporate their best practices into your notebook and get ideas on what kind of listings you find helpful in your everyday living.

So watch out. If you are thinking of starting a bullet journal, be careful: you might become obsessed. Remember, do it the way that works for you. Some people decorate their journal with all kinds of doodles and colors. That is great for them, but I prefer to keep my bullet journal Spartan.

Here are some links to get you started:

Find my latest book on Amazon: Christ Simply, A Chronological Self-Guided Study through the Life of Christ.

bjhta