Catching Up & Late to Bullet Journals

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Photo credit: gbSk on Visualhunt / CC BY

Catching Up

My blogging pace has become so glacial I feel I ought to begin each post with an apology. Sorry! Still, no matter how I plan and organise, life keeps intruding—the last few months, intruding with a vengeance.


My writing experienced a burst of activity a couple of months ago when I completed a rough novel outline for a fantasy novel. The outline has been sitting in a Dropbox folder, largely ignored, while I juggled other things.

As my writing time evaporated, I turned to micro-activities that supported writing but could be fit into tiny temporal cracks: freewriting and other exercises, and reading/watching how-to articles/videos. Lately, I’ve been re-reading fiction favourites and analysing writing techniques. Small, doable stuff.


Of necessity, study has received the lion’s share of my non-chaos-juggling hours. I’m working towards a sociology PhD on the topic of violence. I’m at the literature review stage, which means lots of reading–some of it, given my topic–not entirely pleasant. Briefly, I had some trouble working out quite how I wanted the literature review to be structured, but I believe I’m past that, now.

It says something about how hard I’m finding it to fit writing into my schedule that I’m looking forward to really knuckling down and writing the literature review, as I fully intend to count it as writing.

Late to Bullet Journals

I gather bullet journals are old news among both productive and creative types. They’re entirely new to me, however. If you are like me, they’re a productivity tool designed to help plan and execute the millions of things we all have to do more or less constantly these days. The basics are here if you need them.

I started one because the aforementioned life-of-chaos had smashed all my other planning strategies and left me with a mess of things I had to get done fairly quickly. Desperate research turned up bullet journals, and I’ve given it a try.

Sort of given it a try. I’ve violated what seem to be two cherished standards for the genre. Firstly, I’ve eschewed a paper journal and ink for a Scrivener project. It’s just what I prefer; sorry purists. Secondly… well, an awful lot of madly creative people keep bullet journals, and most of the examples I’ve seen online look like the Book of Kells. Mine doesn’t. Adding beauty to my bullet journal is a rabbit hole I can’t afford to fall down, so I’m not even trying. But that’s OK. Ugly but functional is more or less my brand.

That said, bullet journaling has worked for me. It’s helped me organise, get a few things on track that were derailed-adjacent, and got me thinking about reaching for more (and more ambitious) goals. I’ll continue to trial it for a few months to get a proper feel, but I’m optimistic.