At the start of any project, whether it’s a creative work, a major household reorganization, or setting up a new bullet journal, I create a magna carta. This is an idea adapted from No Plot? No Problem, the “bible” of National Novel Writing Month. You sit down with a piece of paper and make two lists. The first is all of the things you feel a good novel needs — what you enjoy reading, basically. The second is a list of the things that you don’t like and want to avoid in your own work. It’s really a brainstorming exercise, but it becomes a touchstone that you can refer back to as you’re writing your novel. It’s similar to some[…]

Keeping a journal is something that I’ve done for years. It started when I was in art school and always had a sketchbook with me. Inevitably, I started writing other notes in it because it was handy. That practice expanded into a commonplace book, where I wrote down ideas for stories that I wanted to write. When I entered the corporate world, I graduated to a Franklin Covey planner, which my employer cheerfully paid for. Upon leaving that life, and unwilling to pay big bucks for a “system”, I started playing around with my own formats. That’s what ultimately led me to join the cult of the bullet journal. Now I write it down, get it done, and better manage[…]