I haven’t written anything new here for a while because I have a hard time balancing multiple creative outlets.

When I’m in a writing groove, I write a lot and often. Most of it isn’t good, but the thing about keeping a writing habit is, you get the not-so-good stuff out of your system. And then you start producing better writing.

But when I’m in a writing groove, that also means I don’t spend much time on any other creative work. Sometimes I end up cutting out inspiration sources, too— goodbye weird movies and all kinds of reading.

The opposite happens, too. If I go to the arts and crafts store and come back with a few projects to work on, my writing falls to the side. It’s not a terrible thing, but if I’m not writing much, I’m certainly not blogging much, either.

I was participating  in Inktober, a challenge to produce one ink drawing every day in October. I didn’t hit every day, but I did a lot more than I expected.

Here are my favorite ones.

An old telephone.

phone

Pinky and the Brain.

pinky-brain

The Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future.

flux-capacitor

An astronaut in space, inspired by jonnysun’s tweet.

so-come-home

The Ravenclaw crest from Harry Potter.

ravenclaw

(You can see the rest of my Inktober drawings on Instagram.)

I’ve never drawn this much in a month—only because I don’t make the time for it—and it was a delight to see what I could do with patience and dedicated time.

November always flies by for me. I feel like I blinked after Halloween and it was Thanksgiving. I was playing with hand lettering on and off during the month. Here’s an example:

be-noble

And in all the time, I wasn’t writing because I was focusing on art…and watching a lot of movies. November was a great month for movies.

Given the way my hobbies go in phases, I’m going to shift the focus of this blog to showing my work (Austin Kleon-style), whatever work that may be. That way, it doesn’t have to be writing and it doesn’t have to be finished. I can simply share.

Some people start a new bullet journal at the beginning of the year, but at the end of December, I still had about 100 pages left in my notebook. I felt bad not using up that paper, so I kept going with 2016 in that notebook and just started a new notebook on March 1.

Since I set up a new notebook, I thought you might like to see my process. I use a lot of the same ideas from the original bullet journal system, but I also adapt it to what works for me.

L1917

I use an A5 hardcover Leuchtturm 1917 with a dotted grid for my bullet journal. I really like this notebook for a few reasons:

  • Dot grid — The dots serve as a subtle guide for writing but are light enough that you can ignore them and treat the page as if it were blank. The grid helps me keep my writing neat without interfering with doodles and diagrams.
  • Numbered pages — Much neater than me numbering the pages and super easy for referencing pages.
  • Ribbon bookmarks — Two ribbons are handy for marking pages as needed.
  • Hardcover — Sturdy enough that I don’t have to be at a table to write.
  • Paper quality — No ink bleeding, limited ghosting.

Continue reading to see how I use symbols to organize info, keep calendar pages for future tasks, and log movies I watch and books I read during the year.

(more…)

I don’t separate my journal into sections, but I flag certain pages so that they’re always easy to flip to. (This is a tip I picked up from tinyrayofsunshine!) I use Post-it tabs like these.

bullet-journal-tabs

  • Month marks the spread for the current month.
  • To check out is a list of random things to look up or research.
  • Blog is a list of blog post ideas with page numbers to where I’m fleshing out posts elsewhere in my journal.
  • To do is my current to do list.

The idea is that these tabs are general enough that I can move them month to month (or however often I need to). For example, when I make a spread for a new month, I move the Month tab from the previous month to the next month.

imagination-barriers

Let me show you this rabbit hole.

I watch Design 100 Somethings.

The concept is simple:

  1. Push your creative boundaries by designing 100 different variations of a specific subject.
  2. Choose a medium or tool that you’re uncomfortable with, so that you can improve.

The benefits are pretty cool: work on a subject you like, hone your skills, work at your own pace, and a definite finish (#100).

In the video, Jake says:

You can kinda get lost deciding on what project to take on […] what that can sometimes lead to is, spinning of your creative wheels, and that’s something you want to avoid.

So, the Design 100 Somethings project focuses your work.

It got me thinking: could I do the same kind of project, but with writing? What might that look like?

  • 100 short stories?
  • 100 poems?
  • 100 chapters?

But none of these feel right because they’re more about the format, rather than the subject.

I think 100 Somethings can be useful to writing in other ways.

Maybe you have a fictional city in mind but it’s not that developed. You could write 100 descriptions of different parts of the city.

Or maybe you created new characters, but you don’t really know who they are yet. Write 100 days of their lives.

To address point #2 about the medium, you could try writing by hand if you usually type. Or maybe instead of changing medium, you could switch genres to write in one that isn’t typical for you.

Do you know of a project like Design 100 Somethings, but for writing? Let me know in the comments.