BuJo Round 2: Monthly Spreads

I’m now one month in to my new re-boot of my bullet journal. Throughout the month, I kept thinking “man, I should be doing more with this…” But in all honesty, it was kind of nice not to have to deal with it so much. I could have included my One Positive Thing 365 project in it, but I think that’s better suited for my actual journal because it gives me room to elaborate when needed. Also, I had originally decided to try to include tracking for my water and exercise in my planner, but that was sort of a wasted plan. My FitBit app is just handling that, and I try to write down my gym dates at least in the planner at some point. Now I just have pages of little icons I drew with no data related to them… Oh well.

As you can see, I ended up with a really simple, but I feel somewhat meaningful, monthly spread. As I mentioned when I talked about my page-ripping re-boot, I’m not doing really any tracking. I mean, at most, maybe just a little bit in my goals since those had weekly actions. But I don’t feel the need to keep a record of how often I did certain chores or good habits, etc. I just want a concise way of recording my life. However, I will say, I do want to figure out some sort of BuJo-Recipe book type thing. But I think I’m going to do that with a mini-binder so it’s easier to add and move things around.

So for the monthly spread I decided to add a mini calendar and to highlight important dates. I may end up tying this into my Highlights section via actual highlight colors. Maybe. But it gives me a quick month-at-a-glance, which I like. But it doesn’t have to be as detailed as my planner is. In fact, no where close.

At the beginning of the month, I start with just the calendar and my goals. This gives me the flexibility to add what I need and not be limited to space. I’m trying to keep my goals small and manageable, though. Things I think I can actually tackle in one month. Since I was doing two that involved weekly accomplishments, I added bullets behind them for the weeks and crossed them off as I completed them. As you can see, outside of one week of missed exercising, I did really well!

At the end of the month, I decided to add an Outcomes section below my goals. This allowed me to reflect on how I did with my goals and any changes I saw. So I could note that my thesis outline goal has completely shifted, and it doesn’t look like I just failed at it. I could also discuss my weekly gym dates and how I lost 5lbs! From there I’ve got my Improvements section, however, I’m still needing to reflect more to fill this out. I’m hoping these will help shape the next month’s goals, but it doesn’t have to be an exact transfer.

The largest section of my spread is my Highlights. These I can fill out as the month happens, as I prefer them in a chronological order, but I tend to forget. Typically at the end of the month I sit down with my planner, journal, and social media (mostly instagram), and see what happened that month. I try not to add things I personally did not partake in — like I didn’t do anything for my sisters’ birthdays this month besides text them, so I didn’t add that to my highlights. However, I also didn’t go out and march for the Women’s March On Washington, but it was so significant that it did need to be included because it does impact my life. It’s also why it gets the denotation of “important history” because it is just that.

So far I’m continuing this spread design for February. I feel like it gives me the flexibility to add or change things up as needed, which of course is the beauty of bullet journals in general. Maybe if I ever read more outside of class, I can add in a “What I read” section… but yeah, I don’t see that changing much. Sadly.

Do you BuJo? What’s in your monthly spreads?

That time I started a Bullet Journal…

I have kept journals and diaries since I was in elementary school. I actually still have most of them, though, it is possible that maybe a couple of the super early ones have gone missing. (And I know a few definitely have pages ripped out or large sections blacked out with a thick sharpie.) The point is, I have been keeping a handwritten record of my life for a long time.

However, though I love doing it, I’ve never kept a consistent habit of it. A lot of that is because after a while, it feels like I just waste pages ranting about things that aren’t really worth the pages they fill up. I wanted my journals to have significance. Or at least be more than mundane rants and petty heartbreak. I also wanted them to be a showcase for my creativity. (I blame the 1000 Journal Project on this one.)

But nothing stuck. And back when I was blogging more regularly, I just dropped the habit. I mean, well, I didn’t drop it completely, I still kept a journal. But I found myself abandoning them before they were full. Wanting to start over with a fresh page.

So I finally broke down, and decided, yet again, to try something new: Bullet Journaling.

Now, I’m pretty sure most bullet journaling is more aligned with a planner than journaling itself. It’s about managing tasks and such. Most people have monthly, weekly, and daily spreads. And they very much look like planners with all the to-do lists and how you manage which items got done and which you need to migrate, etc. That aspect of bullet journaling never really appealed to me. Well, not in the sense that I wanted to create a new book for it. I have a beautiful agenda and I love it and will not stop using it to keep my life somewhat organized.

So how am I using my bullet journal then?

Bullet Journal - Adorkable - Monthly Spread

Well, it’s more of a hub for my goals, and a place to highlight memories. I don’t have weekly or daily spreads. And my monthly ones do not have a calendar on them — well, not in the traditional sense. I am doing some habit tracking. I saw other people sharing it and thought it looked neat. However, with a week of tracking, I remembered I hate tracking. But I had already committed a page to it for October. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually grow to like it? But yeah, one of the reasons why WW or MyFitnessPal never worked out for me in the long run is because I hate feeling like I have to record each and every detail of my life, rather than just live it. I’m not tracking too much, but still, we’ll see how it goes.

Bullet Journal - Adorkable - Habit Tracking

My other pages in my monthly spread are more for personal reflection. Highlighting the events that happened which are worth remembering, noting things to be thankful for, and making note of things I’ve learned.

Bullet Journal - Adorkable - Monthly spread: highlights, gratitude, and things I learned

I don’t see myself adding too much to my monthly spreads. While I love how some people have done their weekly spreads, it’s just not something I need. I’m also not really giving myself space here to write long entries like I have in my traditional journals. Again, a lot of this is because I feel like sometimes I just ramble too much in my writing.

However, I did decide to include some more long-range spreads just to take note of other things important in my life.

Bullet Journal - Adorkable - Goals and Bucket List

One thing you’ll notice in my pictures from my journal, a lot of the spreads are blank. That’s mostly because it’s all still very new. And because I’m indecisive. Do I have items on a bucket list? Yeah. I do. But I haven’t decided if I just want to list them as I think about them, or break them into topics (which means I may run out of room as new ideas pop up and I’ve already committed to a layout).

Bullet Journal - Adorkable - Books and Places

I saw some really neat books spreads — a lot of them illustrations of shelves and you write the names on the spines as you read them. Those were cool. But I also saw someone who included their goodreads goal and rating system. And so that’s what I went with. Sort of not liking the hearts, but they were easier to draw than stars… but I’ll likely switch. Or maybe tone down the red. I also sort of regret doing a full page to “Places I’ve been in 2016” as, well, I haven’t really been anywhere this year. But I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to use this page without making it feel depressing that I’ve essentially spent yet another year in this town without really any adventures.

Bullet Journal - Adorkable Me - Grad School Spread

My favorite spreads might be my grad school spreads. This is a huge part of my life — heck, it’s almost my whole life right now. So having this recorded and saved is important to me. I’m super proud of my academic work. Of course I’m going to share it. Hopefully I’ll have a “research I presented” and “papers I published” spreads later on!

Bullet Journal - Adorkable - Grad school spread: thesis and graduation

I’ll hopefully have this left page pretty well filled out by the end of this semester, and that’s really exciting. Just as exciting as it is that I could be graduating December 2017 — assuming I can get my thesis done and defended by then. But still, spring 2018 isn’t bad either.

I’m not sure what this journal will look like at the end. Or even if I’ll keep with it enough to fill all the pages. (Or at least as many pages as it takes to finish grad school.) But going to give it a try for now. I’m hoping between this and my counseling sessions, and a few other self-care things I’m doing, I can have a product that show just how much I’ve grown. Something that can remind me just how strong I am. And maybe just a neat piece amongst many others that I leave as my written legacy.

Upping my gamer status. (aka my first livestream)

I have a weird relationship with videos on the internet. Not weird in a bad or gross way… more weird in the mixed feelings way. I enjoy some YouTube videos, but I’m not someone who really watches a lots or even really follows that many people. Even if they’re my friends. I kind of feel a little bad about it, but at the same time, I know not all my friends read my blog even if they know about it. And that’s ok.

Anyway. One of the video things on the internet I do actually enjoy and participate in is through Twitch — video game streaming. I’ve been watching my friend TJ stream games for a few years now. As he was playing SOMA, I started searching around for other streamers to watch. Not because SOMA was bad or anything. Quite the opposite. It was a really enjoyable game. It’s how I found the other relatively new streamer that I now follow.

Watching people play games about 5 days a week got me wanting to play more games. And it got me wanting to stream myself. I had set up my channel a while back, but hadn’t done anything with it because I don’t have a capture card. Without it, I can’t stream or record any of my Wii U game play. However, after a little bit of searching, I found some interesting games for Mac on Steam. Now, I still don’t have a capture card, but I could (and did) download a free streaming software like OBS.

And so.. well… Now I’m streaming. I still haven’t quite settled on my schedule. The best times for me are Tuesdays and/or Thursdays after my class (so around 1 or 2pm EST). And of course that will change next semester. Anyway.  I had my first stream over the weekend. I think I’ve been going a little stir crazy with being sick all week. I recorded one of my play throughs. Though I’m sort of regretting it because I most definitely sound sick. I’m just happy I don’t have my cam and green screen stuff set up so you guys can’t see how sick I actually am…

I’ve never really been a PC gamer. I guess I’m still really not, given that I’m using my MacBook Air for this. BUT. I am really enjoying it so far. It’s different being on this side of things. The delay between the stream and the chat is real. And definitely a challenge. But it’s fun having your friends join you as you play a game. (And as someone who’s been stuck in sickness isolation, it’s been nice having some company even if it’s virtual.)

I’m going to start a new game on Tuesday*, so if you want to swing by and say hi that would be super awesome.

*Assuming I’m feeling well enough and I don’t have too much going on school-wise.

World Building Tips

One of my favorite things about fiction would definitely have to be world building. Not just in writing my own stories, but getting to explore the worlds delicately crafted by other writers. Often times, I find that a uniquely created world can save mediocre or cliche plots and characters. Some of my favorite worlds are in the Grisha trilogy, Graceling, Hunter, Daughter of Smoke and Bones, Sunset Rising, Seraphina, Cats Cradle, and of course masterpieces* like Lord of the Rings, Song of Ice and Fire, His Dark Materials, and Harry Potter. All of these books have taken the time to think about the environments where their characters live and work; the creatures, the cultures, laws of nature… It’s not just background.

Since world building is something dear to me, I wanted to share some tips of things to consider when creating the world in which you place your story. It may seem like a lot of extra work, but once you know the systems and these unspoken rules that we live by ourselves every day, it can help give more depth to your characters and reasons for behaving and believing the way they do.

World Building Tips for Writing via AdorkableMe.com

Geography
I always start out with what does this world look like. Is it mountainous or coastal? Grassland? Tropical? Knowing the physicality of the world will serve as a base for which all other elements are built upon. I’m a visual person, so I tend to create maps. As much as I hate to reveal the magic, it’s not as daunting as you may think to make a map. I take a lot of inspiration from our own natural coastlines and national borders — but arranged in my own way for the most part, since I don’t often set my stories on earth as we know it. If you are writing stories using our world, use real town maps if your sites exist or make your own if they don’t. You can definitely take liberties, but just make sure they make sense and feel consistent. The coffee shop should always be two blocks left and one block right from your MC’s apartment, and should generally take the same amount of time to get there. It’s not often that your characters will be fighting your geographical world directly, but these elements will definitely butt heads with them and bring additional challenges for them to overcome.

Climate
If you’re creating your own planet (aka not using Earth), then you can really play around with this. But if you want it to be earth-like, it’s good to play within our own climatic rules. Equatorial zones are hot, poles are cold. The climate will dictate what sort of clothing your characters will wear, what type of food they’ll eat, even the type of housing or transportation. It can also effect other things. I always get a little peeved when you have these post-apocalyptic scorched earth scenarios but all the characters are as white as white can be. Fun fact: our skin has melanin, and melanin helps protect us from UV radiation from the sun. The higher the UV exposure, the darker the skin of your population will typically be. Now, skin color is clinal — meaning it’s a gradation — and it’s also a complex trait. Is your story in a tropical climate? Does it have mosquitos? Ok, so if you’re creating your own world, you likely skipped the mosquitos… But, the point is, mosquitos (and other bugs, etc) carry disease. Mosquitos can carry malaria, for which humans have developed a number of adaptations to help protect against this disease.

The main point here is to take into consideration the adaptations needed to survive in your environment.

Culture
There are a lot of ways you can take this one. But culture sets the rules by which people interact with one another. They should not be taken lightly. Having two cultures come into contact with one another is an easy, but also very good, way to create conflict and tension in your story as well as a means for moving the story forward. Culture will also dictate what people will wear and eat just like climate will. Think about what’s taboo in your story’s culture, how will those play into the story? And remember consistency within your culture. People living in the same areas will be influenced by the same cultural laws. If your character doesn’t follow these rules, then you need to consider why that is… or if you need to change the overall culture of that population.

Lifeforms
In fantasy, science fiction, or speculative fiction you can go wild with this one, if you can excuse the pun. But like your people, the animals and such also play by a set of rules. For most creatures, they’re non-sentient and thus act on a matter of instincts.

Technology
One of the reason I don’t write modern fiction is because I really don’t want to deal with cell phones and the internet in my stories. Technology can be a blessing and a curse. Lack of technology does not mean a society is automatically lesser or savage. Your character can feel that way about other cultures, but I highly recommend not having that come through the narrative. Also, technology is more than just gadgets and computers and such. Weapons, methods of making containers or cloth, agriculture… these all have to do with technology. Think about the light sources, how they heat and cool their homes, how they cook and store their food.



Sometimes these aspects can lead to more questions that answers. I wouldn’t stress over them too much unless they directly effect your story. But dynamic worlds can lead to in-depth characters as well as help you create conflict to keep the pace going steady. Like all things, it’s about finding a balance. Your characters can (and sometimes should) break or question the rules of their society. However, your story — and most importantly, your characters — need laws to guide them, natural and societal.

If you feel overwhelmed or stuck or if all else fails, take some anthropology courses. One of the unexpected bonuses of my studies is that it is letting me see world building in a whole new light. If you’re not interested in pursuing another degree, you can always find a lot of really good resources online. Or find a friendly anthropologist or anthropology student (hi!) and ask them to hypothesize with you.

What are some of your favorite fictional worlds? What other aspects do you think should be considered?

*In terms of world building, these works are just phenomenal for creating worlds you just seamlessly sink into and they are highly realistic.

I’m in ur tubes, being all awkward and stuff.

So I made a decision recently, almost slightly on a whim, to make a vlogging channel on YouTube.

I’ve never been a huge YouTube person. I mean, yeah, I’ll look up adorable and funny cat videos. Occasionally I might even check out some music there. More often I’m watching gaming videos. If a friend posts a video on a topic that seems interesting, I might watch — but I’m really bad at keeping up with anything there.

And the idea of putting me on YouTube? Well it makes me self-conscious about my voice as well as whatever awkward thing I do with my face. Also, editing seems like a lot of work. But I’m learning to ramble more concisely, and really editing isn’t too hard. It’s the waiting for things to export and upload and process.

YouTube: My Adorkable Life

So. Yeah. Apparently I’m vlogging now. It’s a new channel, mind you, so there’s not much there now. But I’m going to shoot for at least one upload a week maybe.

ALSO. You can find me on another part of the YouTubes… Joey is starting up a gaming channel and you can watch the two of us play Super Mario 3D World together. So definitely checkout It Is Me Joey Gaming. I’ll be making a few more appearances there, and I’m excited to be a part of this project of his!

Share your own channels in the comments! Or, if you don’t vlog, share some channels that you like watching! Looking forward to getting to know more of the YouTube community.

But have no fear, I’m always going to be a writer at heart, and will always be blogging.

staying on task

goal2013_organization02

I love planners. Ever since grade school. I would always decorate them with stickers and use those sparkly gel pens. And I’d always get so excited about them every year. In college even more so, since the school used pictures of the students in them and I always hoped there was some flattering picture of me across the pages.

Not much has changed since that time… Including my terrible habit of promptly neglecting my planner a few months in.

It’s because of this that I was really hesitant to spend too much money on one this year. I know a lot of people have their favorite planners that they swear by… I just had a hard time justifying $50 on a planner I wasn’t absolutely in love with.

I wanted a book that had the monthly calendar view for the year, as well as weekly pages split with a page for notes. Finding that was a lot harder than I thought. In the end, I chose one from Paper Source that’s been working really well. Monthly calendar views in the front, weekly pages split with notes.

I’m making a strong effort to use it daily. (Or at least weekly.) What’s different this time? I’m a bit more serious about my goals this year. Not that I haven’t been in the past, but with a lot of what I’m doing being disconnected from each other, I want a way to see all my goals and my steps toward them at once.

It’s about finding balance. If I can see what steps I’m taking one week on a certain project, I know what sort of free time I have for other projects. And if using nice felt-tipped, colorful markers helps me stay motivated, then that’s ok with me.

It’s only Monday and I’ve already used up half of this week’s notes section! Pretty sure this will happen more often than not.

Getting ready for 2013: new projects!

If you subscribe to my not-really-weekly newsletter or my facebook page, you already knew a little bit of what I’ve been up to…

Over this past month, in whatever little free time I get, I’ve been working on designing worksheets. I’m a big fan of lists, and seeing things visually really helps me plan things out and just get my mind organized. So I searched and searched online, and found a few that were sort of helpful, but nothing really what I wanted or needed. So I figured I’d make my own!

listmylife_sample

List My Life is a series of worksheets I’m developing that will hopefully help me, and others, just get things, including our thoughts, organized. Right now they’re just worksheets, BUT this is just the start of this project and I’m excited to see how this will grow.

I am not getting into life coaching. These are worksheets without the coaching, but can be used in conjunction with any sort of life coaching/planning program you’d like.*

I currently have worksheets for general life & goals, food & meal plannings, and blog planning. And as a special gift to all of you… I have a 2013 sampler pack you can download. These are basic sheets, mainly to give you a taste of the design. Below are a few others in the series…

*UPDATE* Now also available in a “dude” version. AKA, more masculine colors available to download now.

ListMyLife_samples

I’ll be fixing up the MyAdorkableLife.com website, which will be the home to these worksheets and a lot more!

This is just the first of hopefully many many projects I’m starting in 2013.

If you have any feedback on the worksheets, or worksheets you’d love to see made, let me know!

*If any of you are life coaches or launching new projects yourself, I am available for design work for all your worksheets and even eBooks! I can even go beyond PDF and format your work for ePub as well. Contact me if you’re interested!