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  • Writer's pictureAtomicRakshasi

Bullet Journalling For A Scatterbrained Creative

pile of bullet journals

Work has always been a priority and until some point in history, everything used to fall into place.

Bring two or three more life forms into the picture and when I finally get back after being interrupted for the fifth or sixth time in one morning, my thoughts are pretty fragmented. I resent the interruptions, the time away from my work and most of all— how difficult it is to refocus. I had to accept that my brain has its limitations.

Enter the BuJo.

I disliked those digital-note apps and lists my husband tried in vain to get me hooked on to. Not that starting a bullet journal (bujo for short) was that much easier— there were false starts. I’m on my fifth one and I’ve finally settled into a format that’s convenient for me, but now it’s working because it’s tactile and tangible and I believe that’s the reason it keeps me from flying in all directions. I have a lot to thank Ryder Carroll for.

The BuJo gives one a good perspective—something we rarely account for in the hustle and bustle of daily life, heading towards our goals without accounting for our progress; taking charge of the petty stuff that keeps bringing us down on a weekly basis, such as discovering that after you’ve bought a fresh supply of pens or sketchbooks, there are about three sets that you forgot about at the back of the drawer.

Did you over-shop or did your supplies just expire? Serves you right for being so disorganised. Stationery Tracker to the rescue! Finally, I’m not wasting perfectly good writing/drawing implements by buying double.

Let’s talk about the past: people keep saying that we need to move on from it. They’re talking about stagnation and hanging on to vendettas and regrets, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. I know exactly where I was five years ago because I’ve kept track.

There are several sketchbooks in progress right now. One for rough concepts, one for graphite art, one for watercolour and acrylic and gouache, one for spontaneous moments of inspiration, a large one for bigger drawings etc. Does my art life have me buried in multiple mediums and sketchbooks?—– Sketchbook Tracker to the rescue! That’ll keep me on the old one until it’s done! About fifteen to twenty books left to read, 1/4th to halfway through? Damn, I need to rein in that squirrel brain. Book Tracker to the rescue!!! Suddenly, I’m finishing books—-yippee!

Then came the biggest test. I had hit a rut in my fourth or fifth rewrite of a tome that can’t seem to find a way of growing any shorter. Stylistic problems, multiple first person/omniscient narrators—-I’ve twisted my plot up like a

pretzel, the characters screaming to find a place in this vortex of multiple plots and subplots. Surely a bullet journal will not work yet again?

No harm trying! I inaugurated my Writer’s BuJo with a flourish, keeping a tab on my progress with some journaling, a word count tracker and a flowchart so I don’t lose track of my plot. I drew a map! I was thrilled. After a month of journaling thoughts about stylistic issues and narrative problems, focussing on plot holes, repetitions and structure I could see my book from a bird’s eye view.

I dove straight into writing. January began well, by February I had picked up, March, April and May were tough months, but I wrote about 15,000 words. Wow, progress! Then June came, and I hit one of those ruts where your confidence takes a dive.

I couldn’t write a word more. My insecurities consuming me, I brooded, about the million and oneth brood of the decade: I’m not smart enough. My characters are going to their grave without ever having seen the light of a reader’s eye. I will sink into obscurity. I will now curl up in a blanket and mourn the death of my unfinished masterpiece.

It left me with some idle thoughts regarding the entire progress for the past six months. While my BuJo was a tool, a means to an end, I could make my process more interesting by starting to illustrate my novel. I had attempted this before, just not in this context. I had a vision, but visions seldom solidify into actual life.

But so far, the BuJo had worked. So why not try a bit of illustration? I spent a few hours making my first elaborate word count page. Interest piqued, this finally got me out of my rut.

Until my next one, of course.


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