Journaling, Writing

Organizing the Creative Process

Getting in touch with your creative side is not an easy thing. It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. I’ve always thought that my ideal writing space would be on a deck overlooking a lake, the tranquil surroundings gorging my muse with plot twists and inspiration.

I’ve never honestly had an opportunity to write like this so I can’t tell you whether that setting would stoke my creative fires or not.

I’ve tried taking a notebook and pen outside and sitting in front of a blazing fire but it doesn’t take long for the annoyance to sink in as I constantly hold down the pages the wind keeps attempting to flip and have to start swatting at the flies destroying any shred of inspiration with their consistent buzzing. So, through trial and error I have found that writing outdoors isn’t something that works for me.

How you choose to write has to work for you and there are so many different ways to do it.

Just as important is organizing how your go about your writing process. Though usually that holds just about as many challenges, if not more.

One way I’ve decided to go about organizing my writing process is through journaling.

I’ve written about bullet journaling before. It’s something I do off and on and every time I’m “off” of my journaling, I find that life gets a little less organized. Bullet journaling is a daily dedication but you have to make sure you actually enjoy how you’re doing it.

When it comes to writing though, I’ve twisted journaling to my way of thinking when it comes to the creative process. I have a Scribbles that Matter Bullet Planner that’s great when it comes to scheduling my week and having a to-do list that pertains to only the day-to-day. But it didn’t take me long to figure out that it was very limited as far as providing a creative outlet. I had to get something else to help me out with my writing. I had to make sure I was able to journal in a way that I actually enjoyed so that it would be helpful.

With a goal in mind, I packed my kids up a few weeks ago and took them on a craft store adventure to find the perfect planner.

I had it worked out in my mind – something rigid, simple, something with lines, with fill-in-the-blank spaces for what I needed to get done every single day to stay on top of my writing goals. Something where half the work was already done for me. I know, seems kind of backwards, right? Wasn’t I trying to find something that would allow me the room for creativity? We’ll get to that.

It didn’t take long to find a version of The Happy Planner, complete with fun stickers, washi tape and pages with headings specific to keeping organized notes. A little sticker-shock aside, it was what I was thinking I needed.

However, we set off to the opposite side of the store and I found something that was completely the opposite – an Artist’s Loft sketchbook filled with nothing but blank pages.

I left the choice up to my oldest, holding both up and asking her which one she thought was more “me.”

Her response, word for word, was, “The one with all the blank pages, because you’re kind of all over the place, mom.”

That could not be closer to the truth. The girl has me all sorts of figured out. That freedom, the blank pages that allowed me to do whatever I needed to do, was exactly what I needed.

So, with all of that freedom, here’s what I did with it to help organize my creative process! Feel free to use any of these methods if they work for you!

I know a lot of people go into the whole NanoWriMo ready to kill the daily word count but that’s just not something I’ve been able to do so I’ve had to figure out a way to track my words that works for me.

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Any time, anywhere, track your words like you just don’t care!

I’ve still got your average 50k as a goal but the daily thing over the course of one month? Not so much. I’ve left those blank so that I can put in the dates that I’ve actually written on and have color coded my usual writing styles – On point!, good and steady, like pulling teeth and hated all the words.

On the page following that one, I’ve got just a basic date/time and notes on the writing conditions set up in hopes that if I keep track of all of these things, I’ll figure out (Lord willing) when I’m at my peak for creativity. That’s the idea anyway.

Thanks to my work with Middle Schooler’s, I’ve been re-introduced to Language Arts and by re-introduced, I mean I’ve sat through a school-years worth of both 7th and 8th grade Language Arts. Not much take away from there, but I did pick up this nifty map that’s been really helpful. It’s a great tool and I highly recommend using it if you’re struggling with the plot-line of your story.

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The freedom of this sketbook has presented me with the ability to throw anything on whatever page I want without dedicating any pages to “brain dumps” or “plot lines” and this has definitely worked for me. It’s a chaotic form of organization that speaks to me on a level that pre-designed organization never will.

Not exactly bullet journaling, but definitely journaling on a level that could prove helpful for others as well. If you have methods you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them! And like I said, if anything I’ve thrown out there is something you feel would help you along, have at it!

And, if the writing bug just wont bite, it never hurts to throw a few sketches down just to keep those creative juices flowing. 🙂

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