Journaling Madness

I’ve shared a couple brief glimpses of my latest obsession, my bullet journal. You can reference those if you like:

The Mission, Get Organized            Keeping the Crayons Sharp            Journaling and Challenge

I connected with a group on Facebook of fellow bujo enthusiasts, (Bujo – bullet journal) that are much more creative than I am with mine.  I’ve only been at this  for seven weeks, but I’ve already found a few things where I have individualized mine.

First  of all,  I didn’t go buy an expensive journal. The recommended books are Leuchterm1917, or the moleskin. Both average about $20.00.  I spent exactly 33 cents on mine on a clearance shelf at Walgreens. What can I say?  I go cheap!  Plus, not knowing for sure if I was going to like this, or if it would work for me I wasn’t going to invest much money.  I’m very happy with my little bargain buy!

2016-02-04 11.17.18

It measures 5″ x 7″, which I can already tell you is a little too small for my taste. After following some of the posts in the Facebook group, I decided to dress it up a bit and decorated the cover and back.

New Cover

New Cover

Back Cover

Back Cover

Briefly, the bullet journal system is all about  getting and staying organized. A way to keep track of whatever it is you keep track of,  your daily to do list,  the appointments, and a centrally located place for everything really.  Whether you keep a gratitude journal,  a fitness tracking and diet journal, water intake, daily devotional,  writer’s journal, personal diary – whatever it is that you jot down. The bullet journal combines all of those things  in ONE place eliminating the multiple journals, planners, and sticky notes.

What do you need to get started?

  • A journal
  • A pen

You can add washi tape, or stickers or  wahtever you want but the essentials are a journal and a pen.  I already had a plethora of colored pens, highlighters, markers, sharpies  but that’s another obsession that we don’t really need to talk about today.

I did find some washi tape on clearance of course,  that I thought would be useful to seperate my entries.

Watch the original video from Ryder Carroll over at  I admit, I watched it multiple times.  More than 3 that’s all I’m going to say.  I followed his step by step plan in my initial layout.



My first run of my legend or key is very basic.  The facing page is a vacation destination to keep myself motivated with  the phrase that sold me on the system.  My legend is on the inside of the cover. Next step is to number the pages. This is one benefit to buying a Leuchterm or moleskin they come prenumbered. I want to mention that there are lined, gridded, and dotted paper.  Mine is obviously lined as it’s just a simple composition notebook.  I’ve seen some amazing and enviable journals laid out on the dotted paper.

The index –  Items are added to the index as you progress. Then the future log -at first I thought this was a waste of time but I am finding it invaluable, and as I have mentioned before need to add a year at a glance calendar.

For my first Month at a Glance –  I followed exactly Ryder’s instructions, but tweaked them at the beginning of February.











As you can see,  my calendar is much larger and I split the page because my entries here are minimal. There has been numerous items added since I took that picture.  My monthly todo list has been added.  With today’s post, I can mark off that second goal – woohoo!

After the month at a glance,  is the daily entries.  Some of the posted bujos are very nice, neat and tidy.  They start on a new spread for a new day.  There are days when my entries are minimal –  just the todo list and maybe a specific note to myself.

2016-02-16 10.36.19

On this page you can see that on the left side I have 2 days worth –  divided by the washi tape, then  halfway through the right side I begin a new entry. I made some stickers for myself, the word count and the notepad, as well as a banner and a water bottle. If  you want a pdf copy of the stickers,  contact me and let me know I will gladly share. I just use my daughter’s glue stick to paste them in.

Have a look for yourself on Pinterest at the many varied styles for bullet journaling –  mine is closer to  Ryder’s  original. Most of the time I don’t have time to add beautiful artwork or lay out some gorgeous design.

In the photo above,  you will see the tabs that I added. Post It sticky tabs –   these are an awesome find. This makes a quick reference to go right to what I want. I added a tab for the month at a glance, which so far is just January and February.  Also, on the bottom edges I have put my little eye symbol for research – those are entries that I was brainstorming or making notes for future writing and one for dietary benefits of certain foods.

I don’t know that this little notebook is even going to get me through March and I can’t start the next one halfway through the month.  Not sure what to do about that.  Part of the  reason for a bujo is so that I don’t have more half finished notebooks.  I make a lot of handwritten notes when I am traveling, sitting in a doctor’s office, and all those lovely places that we are required to wait.

Once you see some of  the other bujos out there,  you may laugh at mine,  but that’s fine.  I freely admit that mine isn’t fancy.  It’s mine!  It works for me. Right there is the whole point. You personalize it as your own. While I like the looks of some other people’s bujos,   it’s not really me.  I spend most of my “journaling” time writing todo lists, keeping track of household issues and making notes for my writing. There are days that I consciously work on improving my handwriting.  There are other days that I don’t give a rip about the legibility of my writing.

So far, this has been a “where have you been all my life” experience.

Things I have learned so far:

I need some structure but not too much. – As I said there are days that I have my todo list and that’s about it.  Then there are days that I have pages and pages of writing. The flexibility of bujo –  I will give a 10.

Trial and error –  It’s a matter of finding out what works for you.  I can’t tell you the number of partially filled planners that I have along with partially filled notebooks. I’ve been taking my loose scrap paper stack and entering them into a back section of my notebook that I labeled as NOTES.  Change – adapt – overcome. If something isn’t working for you, change it up!  It’s a fluid process.

Things to Include in the bullet journal –  these are what I include.  You decide if they work for you, maybe add something different.  I have a friend that made a two page spread for her 5K training. Yeah, that’s not going to be in mine.

  • daily todo list – absolutely mandatory. If something doesn’t get finished one day I migrate it to the next.
  • Collections – Ryder  has included what he calls collections,  included  within a month, but I put it at the back of my notebook.  I keep track of blogpost ideas, book title ideas,  book plot ideas, books I’ve read, books to be read, books I need to review,  items acquired for our antique booth, etc.
  • Tracker –  I keep track of the blog posts to hit my goal,  my water consumption on a daily basis, exercise(not 5k training mostly zumba and elliptical), daily calories.
  • Gifts given and recieved –  I keep this in collections.  Gifts for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, etc. This keeps me from scratching my head and wondering what we got for John or Jane last year for their birthday.
  • New recipes –  this was one of my worst offenders for scrap paper, writing down a recipe for something that I wanted to try.  Now I have them all in a collection,  and I can make notes  after trying them  whether it was a hit or a miss.
  • Quotes –  I add these on occasion.  When I find or remember a quote that I thought was good, helped me,  I ad it in. Usually setting it off in some manner.

Give this system a try. It does’t have to look like anyone elses. Mine is certainly not as cool as some of the ladies I’ve seen on pinterest, but it works for me.  Who knows, maybe this is just what you need to move you off of the I wish couch to  taking control of your life!

Write on my friends, write on!


Keeping the Crayons Sharp

Adult coloring books are such a ginormous hit these days. Ironic isn’t it? That we spent most of our lives  rebelling against the lines,  determined to not be limited by the lines, coloring outside the lines, driving outside the lines . . . OH wait,  that was just me.

The following are a few LINES that  my new bullet journal allow me to color outside of. I swear, I am having an OCD overdose.  I may have to send Ryder over at some manly roses or a plant or something. You can all thank my friend Dana from Satin Sheets Diva for the continued bullet journaling posts.

I know there are all sorts of creative people on youtube sharing about their artsy fartsy journals,  for now I am happy that I  have one journal not five for various functions. (By the way, not making fun of those –  they are brilliant.  I’m just not there yet. They give me something to shoot for!)

Where was I?  OH yes . . . the lines that I am coloring outside of:

  1. In submission guidelines in a 1980 magazine, the submission was required that your sentences in the manuscript read from left to right, top to bottom, the exception being only for poetry. HA! HAHAHAHA! I Laugh in the face of proper ordered wordage. I can write down the side of my page, I can write diagonally across the page, I can even write from top to botom if I choose to do so because it’s mine, Mine, MINE! In celebrating this newfound freedom, yesterday’s journal reads like this:  2016-02-04 11.20.22
  2. Same submission guidelines (Yeah, I found an old Writer’s Digest while cleaning out my basement.) A good way to break into freelance includes editing grammatically weak tattoos and ghostwriting hate letters to the telephone company. WHAT????  What does that even mean? By today’s translation does that mean that I should go get a grammatically incorrect tattoo in protest of  one of the phone companies?  Sprant with a circle and strike through? Or maybe I should go retro and get a bell with a circle and strike through.  I *heart* Hal – on a tee maybe. That may be way before many people’s time, maybe not. I dunno,  I’ll have to think aobut this one.  This one may be rebellion fodder for another day.
  3. Do not bind the pages together of your manuscript s together with C-clamps.  I had to laugh. Of course the  innner child finds the humor of this irresistible. My solution –  not a C-clamp, but these things are so handy! Since this is my first go at this venture,  I’m not really worried about anything super cool. Come on,  the notebook was 33 cents! 2016-02-04 11.17.18
  4. The placing of smiley face stickers on or about your manuscript does not measurably enhance its appeal.  Get thee behind me Satan!  Of course it does! Smiley faces are the bomb. It lets you know of your happiness  level on those days that you feel like the storm clouds of life are following you around. Smiley faces are a necessary addition to any  journal or calendar or notebook or  anything. (See image above with smiley face addition.)
  5. To sell inspirational pieces and lovely poetry you must have a three part name and  credentials behind your name. Ms. Ellie Mack the Divine! How’s that?  That’s five parts. Why aren’t you laughing? I will come over there and “inspire you” to laugh one way or the other buster. Let me tell you my lovely poetry.  There once was a lady from Mitts who had  these really big . . . . .  moving on. I’m not sharing my poetry. I am not a poet. I have notes. Notes that are mine not anyone elses and are for my eyes only.   I have quotes. Quotes that are meaningful to me because it’s MINE and it’s for me.  YES,  I am being a selfish bitch! I’m over 50, it’s allowed.
  6. Dont seal the SASE. BWAHAHAHAHA! Billiant.  I would have never thought of that on my own.  Now If I can just come up with some place I need to send SASE to. . . (For you younguns that don’t know what SASE is –  Self Addressed Stamped Envelope)
  7. Use top quality ink, never handwritten in pencil. Seriously? First off, who would submit  their work even in 1980 handwritten?   If it were back in the 1800’s maybe but 1980?  I mean we had these huge typewriters that weighed as much as a grown man.  By 1985 we had dot matrix printers available, granted typed was better than that, but still. So, . . . just to be  kitschy, I am dedicating tomorrow’s journal entry to crayons. Do they still come in the big ultra pack with the sharpener built in? I may need to run to the store tonight and buy me a box. OOH! Then I can make a rainbow bridge with my favorite colors and add gold glitz and silver around the edges. I may have to make my own coloring page. I haven’t actually used crayons in a long time.  I think I need some.

The deal is this is MY journal.  You do what you want in yours, I will do what I want in mine.  It’s for my eyes,  for me to keep my daily grind from grinding me down to nothing. It’s to keep on track and not miss apoointments and have a bit of reflection for successes and failures.  It’s a way for me to track my blog posts and hit my goals.

Nex time (bullet journal blogpost) I’ll share a little about my layout and what I’ve already tweaked.  This is the main reason why I love this system – I can personalize it in whatever fashion that I want to, or not. If I don’t want to write a bunch of stuff that day,  I don’t.  If all I want to do is write down my todo list that’s fine.  If I am feeling particularly long winded then I can write like the wind.

Live it OWN IT Love it!

(Words borrowed from one of my mentors!)

Write on my friends, write on!


I’m Back!

Summer is coming to an end.  School has resumed, the temperatures are finally dropping slightly, and to make it official we had rain.  After a long summer of record high temperatures and drought conditions the rain was a welcomed relief.  The kids thought it was ironic that it rained on their first day back to school.  I felt it just added closure, that the summer had wrapped up.

At the end of things I often reminisce about the highlights and lowlights. Evaluate what was right and what was wrong;  What I can do better next time, and what things should be avoided.  That’s sort of what I’m going to do here. Step into the way back machine, and here we go. . . (wavy lines across your screen.)

I have accomplished part of my goals I set at the beginning of summer, made partial progress on some, and others have . . . well, fallen by the wayside.  I should have established a firm agreement with accountability partners but I didn’t.  I have managed to drop a little more weight, but have by no means been as hard after it as I should.  Hey, I don’t deal well with triple digit temperatures.  The outdoor activities fell away quickly as the temperatures soared.  Seriously, I’ve had heat exhaustion before and put myself in that condition again even after I knew I should have just stayed inside.

Overall, though I have come to an epic decision.  This may not be such a surprise for those that know me, but it was  a shocker for my own realization. I have too many irons in the fire!  I will have to set some of them aside, for now.  Alright Penelope and Tim I see you laughing over there!

Reevaluating often means refocusing and realignment.  Definitely need that!  So, starting Monday, I’ll be starting a new schedule.  All other things will either have to fall by the wayside, be set aside for future planning or built into the schedule.   I have to schedule my priorities, then whatever makes the cut will stay, after that I don’t know when I can get to things.  Right now I’m still working on this. I have four more hours worth of stuff to cram into a 24 hour day.  I can make it work, really I can! Who needs sleep right?

In reviewing my blog, I am surprised at the posts that are the most viewed.  What did I do right, what did I do wrong?  Some of the posts that I worked on, did research for weren’t viewed nearly as much ones that were “fly by the seat of my pants” madness.  Apparently more people want to read my sarcastic wit than techniques for writing better.  Hmmm, that gives me an idea . . .

Scratch that – 6 more hours to cram into 24.  I can do it if I stock up on the coffee, figure out how to write on my phone while I’m on the elliptical, and eat my lunch while I’m showering.  It can be done I’m sure of it.  Or maybe I should just admit it and focus on only a couple of things!

Anyone else have system overload, with too many things to handle?

Write on my friends, write on.