Thursday, August 30, 2018

Bullet Journaling for Writers

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There’s a new organizational craze making its way around the world—Bullet Journaling. This process was created several years ago by Ryder Carroll as a way to “Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future.” I highly recommend watching this short video that explains the bullet journaling process. 

Below is the video I made to introduce you to my bullet journal. Further down is a list of Bullet Journal basics, along with a list of resources, websites, and Instagram accounts. 

I came a little late to this organizational process and discovered bullet journaling almost two years ago. Frankly,  it has revolutionized my life. Up until this tracking system, I had never been able to keep up with a planner or a calendar with any consistency. I couldn’t even seem to find a way to keep dates accurately in my iPhone. 

Why does it work so well for me? Because it is flexible and customizable. 

Today I’m going to do more than just fan-girl over this way of keeping track. I’m going to break it down and share why I think it is so perfect for writers in particular. 

BuJo (Short for Bullet Journal) Basics
At the core, the beauty of bullet journaling is something called rapid logging. This is the ability to organize tasks and information in a concise and precise way using lists and qualifiers (symbols).
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • Daily Log
·    Bullet is used to denote a task   
o      An open circle is used to denote an event   
-      A dash is used for notes
>   Task migrated
<   Task scheduled

This is everything else, from lists, logs, daily tasks & goals, etc. Collections can include
  • Books
  • Films
  • Character Names
  • Bucket Lists
Logs could include
  • Word count
  • Article ideas
  • Memory verses
  • Goals
  • Meals & meal planning
Tips for Developing Personalized Daily Tasks & Goals
  • Write x number of words
  • Edit x number of words
  • Write/edit for x amount of time
Ideas for Planning
  • NaNoWriMo
  • Scene Mapping
  • Freelance Log
Other Ideas
  • Blogging calendar
  • List of publishers for a particular project
  • Checklist before submitting
  • Editing checklist
  • Checklist before publishing a blog 
Places to go for BuJo Inspiration
Instagram Accounts


  1. Great video! Seems like this kind of organization would be helpful for anyone--especially writers.
    P.S. Love your nail color.

    1. Julie, it really has been a life-saver as I juggle so many projects. Most of all it’s given me some margin because I’m no longer playing catch up with all my commitments! Blessings, E

  2. Wow. That was an awesome video. With my debut novel releasing next year, I've already been feeling overwhelmed. I haven't found anything to work for me but I'm going to try this. I love doodling and coloring so it sounds like a great way to incorporate that too. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Jennifer, it’s the only thing I’ve found to help me keep track of so many varied projects. And because it flexible I can modify what I’m doing as I need to. Blessings, E

  3. Wow Edie. This is one of my favorite tips so far! I like it because it speaks to me. Now that I’m a professor, writer, single mom, and I just signed up to do some craft fairs this winter.... I need a way to stay on task.

    But I have some questions; How often do you work on it? Do you limit your time per sitting? What first steps would you recommend?

    Thank you for sharing this! I may have to try it since it speaks to me.


    1. I use it daily. I organize my schedule for the next day every night. I layout the next week on Sunday evening and get ready for the next month the last week of the month. How fancy I get depends on how much time I have. I hope this helps, Blessings, E

  4. Replies
    1. Jann, so glad you enjoyed it! Blessings, E

  5. Loved the video. I've used planners of varying sorts for years as a teacher, mom, and office manager and other positions. I have yet to find one all encompassing one for my writing career. I'm going to have to give this a try. The indexing for me is a selling point. I have notebooks full of information but can't find it quickly.

    1. Bonita, it is definitely a system that works for me! Blessings, E

  6. I love this video! I'm an organization freak but, since I retired and am home all day, I no longer have the structure I depended on. I've struggled to develop one that allows for the spontaneous things that come up with my husband or with friends. With this method, I can easily move things from day to day without losing my way.

    I do want to ask, have you found a number of pages that allows you to do a whole year in one book? I know that is somewhat individual but can you give me a ballpark number?

    1. Sherry, I have plenty of room (with pages left over) in the Leuchterm 1917 bullet journal. It’s the A5 size. And has about 340-350 pages. I hope this helps! Blessings, E

  7. Wow! I'm so impressed with your creativity, flexibility and organization. THANK YOU for sharing this information. YOu've made a believer of me. I too have been so frustrated with other layouts and love that it can be customized by the user. I did not understand the name of the larger cover you were using. Is that a separate item? Did you say it holds more than one year?

    1. Yvonne, The big cover is called a Traveler’s Notebook and I ordered that specific one from It was a splurge, but one I have LOVED! You can get them from different companies. I just really loved the color, ink spots and coffee rings :)

      It holds more than one notebook. And most notebooks last one year. I hope this helps!
      Blessings, E

  8. You showed us how to keep all the lists in one place. Fantastic! Thank you, Edie, for explaining your process and sharing your joy.

    1. Jeannie, I'm so glad I was able to help! Blessings, E

  9. not sure if it truly counts as "BuJo" but i've been doing the same basic principal for nearly four years now - with an excel spreadsheet!! (which reminds me, it's about time to set up next year's calendar!!) i have different tabs for different functions (book sales, contest winners, word count - and a couple of others)
    as much as i'm online / on my laptop it was the most logical solution - that way whenever i get an email or message about a blog post or doctor appt i can enter it right away!

    1. Robin, I think it definitely counts. You've found a process that works for you--and that's the point! Blessings, E

  10. Bullet Journaling caught my interest several years back. I have what I call my "Brain Book" (totally smiled when you referred to your journal as your brain), but it's more of a self-made planner organized in a Five-Star binder folder. Being more of an artsy type and wanting to incorporate the art journaling and creative aspects with organization, this idea totally appeals. I also love that you gave yourself permission to experiment with it and allow mistakes for the first while. Thanks for sharing this! I'm totally inspired!

    1. Thank you thank you for sharing your journey with us! Blessings, E

  11. I've been looking for the perfect planner for years. Besides a calendar and to-do record, I keep lots of list. Thank you so much for sharing your video and information. This is exactly what I need.

    1. Jeannie, give it a try. I really think you’ll enjoy it! Blessings, E