Bullet Journaling as an Author: A Sticker A Day

Since my first blog post about using trackers in my bullet journal was so popular, I thought it couldn’t hurt to do more in this vein. Clearly there are a number of authors out there looking for ways to keep on track when working on their novels. Heck, I was that way too not very long ago.

While trackers are wonderful for long-term planning and smashing out goals, what motivates you on the short term? I know during the work week, I don’t go flipping to my progress chart very often. I’m too busy fixing the nuts and bolts of work and life every day. So I wanted to find a way to give myself a little bit of a boost for squeezing in maybe just ten minutes of writing over my lunch, or maybe dedicating a whole hour one evening to tackling that scene, or giving myself the space to work on edits. Do you know what I found was super inspiring? Stickers.

Yes, I know, it’s very grade school. I remember helping my mom set up sticker boards for her classroom for a number of years, and seeing it slowly fill up as kids did awesome things. A sticker at the end of the day was a way to easily see how great you did, and made it easy to look back over the week to see how you did.

Guess what? It works for us adults too!

You can buy little flower sticker sheets at Amazon or Etsy. They’re adorable, and just the little burst of inspiration I needed to keep going some days. If I had a rough week, just seeing a bundle of stickers spread out over the pages made me proud. That was work on something I enjoyed. That was proof of what I accomplished, even if my word count had barely nudged, I did something worth celebrating.

Lately I’ll admit I haven’t written on my WIP as much as I would like, and seeing my pages lack those stickers makes me sad. Even their absence is motivating. But I’m getting that inspiration rolling again.

Of course, this little trick could work for anything that you want to work on a little bit each day. When my life gets really crazy busy though, I find that my writing time suffers. It’s hard to pull the words out and it’s hard to delve into my fantasy world, the characters, or the plot when life is pulling my attention in a dozen different directions.

Having an easy way to glimpse my progress helps immensely. Remember, all it takes is a sticker a day.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman 


Finished: June 11, 2017

Malerman was featured on The Outer Dark podcast sometime last year, I believe. I liked what he had to say and the title and description of the book intrigued me, plus they gave it high praise on the podcast, so I added it to Goodreads. Fast forward to this summer, and Goodreads tells me it’s on sale for $2, so I just had to give it a try!

My review:

Josh Malerman’s Bird Box was one of the more terrifying horror novels I’ve read in a while. There are a number of scenes that are so suspenseful that you almost don’t want to find out what happens next. The scene in the bar was one of the more painful scenes for me. That was when I truly started admiring Malerman’s style and how intense his writing became. I binged half this book in a day because once it got rolling, it was hard to put down.

The only difficulty was the constant changes in perspective. It changes times a lot and sometimes it was difficult for me to pinpoint when a scene was happening and I had to reread sections. Overall this didn’t change how good the novel was, but it did make it slower to start. I definitely recommend it!
What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? Definitely! I actually found it hard to stop once I reached the halfway point.
  2. Would you recommend it to others? I’ve actually been dropping plot pieces to friends, describing the dystopian world and the claustrophobia of the blindness that Malerman is so good at. The premise alone sells this book, but the stellar writing is what makes me finish it.
  3. Would you re-read it? I typically don’t reread many books, but I would reread sections of this one. The writing was beautifully gruesome.
  4. Does it stick with you? Oh yes! Sometimes a bit too well. 😉

My overall rating? 5/5

Halloween is Coming

not-your-average-monster-2-cover-smallIf you missed out on grabbing a copy of Not Your Average Monster Volume 2 a few months back, you can pick it up quite cheap right now on Amazon, and just in time to enjoy reading throughout October.

In other news, I just finished submitting my blog post for HWA’s Halloween Haunts blog series, which will be posted throughout the month of October as well. Authors will be making posts, giving peeks at upcoming pieces, and having giveaways daily. So don’t worry, we’ll make sure there’s plenty to help you enjoy the Halloween season.

Now that I’m finally recovered from DragonCon (and all the con crud that came with it), we’ll be putting up our Halloween decorations soon. I plan to post pictures of how we decorate our home and would love to see yours too! We just made our Target run the other day since their Halloween items just got put on the shelf too.

Thank goodness Halloween is coming!

I Didn’t Mean to Call You a Meatloaf, Jack!

A fun romp through some excellent werewolf movies, with a focus on werewolf transformations in particular. A few were mentioned that I actually haven’t seen before too.

His Best Friend is a Panda

So why did I want to write about werewolves, at least for my first novel or three?

Well, for a few reasons. Firstly, werewolves are kickass and anyone who says different is a dirty liar. Secondly, because everyone else seems to be writing about zombies, and I’m all rebellious and non-conformist and whatnot. And thirdly, because werewolves have always scared the living crap out of me… but perhaps not for the reasons you’d expect.

My relationship with lycanthropes goes back over thirty years, to when I was a little boy with a big imagination. In those days one of the local TV networks (Crom bless ‘em) used to play a late-night horror flick every Sunday, and my older siblings sometimes used to stay up to watch them. Not that I ever had the guts to join them – no, I was tucked up safely in bed, trying not to listen…

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Tim Powers: Interview With a Secret Historian

‘“In my own first drafts, when I re-read them, it always seems like a bunch of people in street clothes holding scripts, standing on a bare stage, looking at tape marks on the floor and reading from the script very haltingly. And you think ok, well, that’s the first rehearsal. We’re going to get sets, we’re going to get costumes, there will be real drinks in the glasses, this isn’t the finished production.’

Oh my gosh, it’s nice to hear that someone else’s first draft looks like this. Sometimes I worry that all I have at the end is a bunch of talking heads, and the advice to cut X% of your novel just doesn’t work. I end up having to add more detail rather than cut out words.

I also love his advice of using Youtube videos to explore sensations or locations you haven’t been to yourself. I actually can’t believe this hadn’t occurred to me before. I also love his method of coming up with novel ideas.

Definitely worth the read, and apparently I need to read more of Powers’ books!