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Creating a Writer's Bullet Journal for NaNoWriMo

  • 4 min read

A full version of this article was first published on

Do you have a writer’s notebook? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Do you want to set up your bullet journal or writer’s notebook for NaNoWriMo? This post will show you exactly how to create a beautiful NaNoWriMo bullet journal.

1. Craft Your Cover Page & Monthly Log

Create a separate cover page for this month/section. This page designates the NaNoWriMo section and serves as your index for NaNoWriMo-related information.

Follow these steps to create an awesome cover page for your NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal:

  • Title it with “NaNoWriMo”
  • Add the title of your WIP
  • Leave room for a special NaNoWriMo index
  • Spruce it up with your signature designs

Create a Monthly Log

Your monthly log directly follows the cover page. It can be a one or two page spread. This log is where you will keep all of the most important information for that month, like deadlines, appointments, events, etc… That is why it’s the first section, for easy reference of critical information.

To create a monthly log for November, list all thirty days vertically down one page. Next to each numerical date record any major tasks, appointments, and deadlines. For NaNoWriMo, you can include a section with the number of words (1,667) you need to write each day in order to “win” NaNoWriMo. Check off the days where you succeed, which usually won’t be all of them (don’t cheat).

On the other page, you can record NaNoWriMo schedules and other important notes. This is also a good place to add in your monthly trackers. Be sure to leave room for notes and ideas. Many people also keep their word count tracker with their monthly log. You can create a separate section for that if you want it to be a major focal point.

2. Set Up Your Trackers

You can use whatever trackers you like. I suggest at least a word count tracker so you can keep up with your NaNoWriMo goals and meet the deadline.

You may also want to track your writing habits as well as your self-care habits. This ensures you are being diligent with your writing while still taking care of little old you. Finally, try including an editing and revision tracker. Keep it simple, all you really need to record is the date and a brief note about what was done.

This is just one way to create NaNoWriMo habit trackers. For more inspiration and to find free printable habit trackers visit the Free Resource Vault.

3. Create Collection Pages

Drop by my website to check out all my collection page posts. For NaNoWriMo, I recommend having at least the following collection pages:

  • Research Notes
  • Major Plot Points / Scenes
  • Characters
  • World Building / Settings
  • Ideas / Notes

4. Prep Your First Weekly Log

1,667 words per day doesn’t sound like much. But add in a few stressors and it can be overwhelming. Calm your nerves and settle your mind by planning out your writing projects a week in advance.

Some people use daily logs, but I prefer weekly logs. This is especially true during NaNoWriMo. I mainly use my weekly logs to schedule my writing time around my day job and parenting.

It’s more of an accountability tool than anything else. However, it is even more useful if you already have your novel plot completed. That way you can literally plan when you will write, what you will write about, and how to get it all done.

5. Customize Your Bullet Journal to Your Needs

You may use all of the same things I use. Or you may not. You might want to use daily logs instead of weekly logs. You may want to exclude some of the trackers and collection pages that I included. Or you might want to add more. Keep what works, ignore the rest. Don’t get too focused on trying to make your bullet journal look like someone else’s. Make it yours. Whatever that might be, it’s perfect just the way it is. I promise.

My main problem with bullet journaling is doing exactly what you’re doing right now. I tend to spend more time searching for ideas and trying to make my bullet journal *look perfect.* I get it. You don’t want to “mess it up.” You want it to look beautiful. But the point of keeping a bullet journal is to increase your productivity.

Go ahead and search for ideas if you need inspiration.

Just don’t get too bogged down trying to imitate something that doesn’t work for you. Mistakes are ok! Your bullet journal doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. NaNoWriMo is stressful enough. So use your bullet journal to make your life easier, not to add an additional task to your already full schedule.

Additional Resources

  1. The Official NaNoWriMo Website – Announce your project. Track your progress. Find buddies, writing groups, resources, and more.
  2. Novlr– Comprehensive novel writing software that syncs directly to NaNoWriMo website.
  3. NaNo Word Sprints Twitter Feed – For those days when you need to play some catch up.
  4. Recommended Reading – To fine tune your craft (best to read before NaNoWriMo starts).

About the Writer

"Everyone's got a story to tell." - Nicole Sattler

Nicole Sattler is the writer behind Inkwell Spills, a blog that focuses on helping writers develop their stories. The site was created to help teach writers how to make their writing career easier by starting a writer's notebook.

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