How to Do #Preptober in Your Writer’s Bullet Journal Like a Boss


So if you’ve been around the block a few times in the writing community, you probably know what NaNoWriMo is.  

It’s National Novel Writing Month! Just click that name and it’ll take you right to their website! 

But a good portion of that process is the prep that you have to go through the month before in what the hard core NaNoHeads (can we make that a thing?) like to call #Preptober. 

Even if you’ve never heard of the event before the month long event of NaNo, I’m here to help you get right through it in your Bullet Journal! 

Now, I wrote a blog post last year about this and I’ll link it here so you can go and check it out. 

Set Up a Writing Area

I talked about this in last years post but it really can’t be stressed enough. 

The right writing area can make all the difference in your procrastination. You need to make sure that your desk or table or wherever you tend to write needs to be set up so you have NO EXCUSES! 

Excuses are our worst enemy when we are procrastinating. Ask me how I know. When I remove every excuse that I can think of, it helps me actually COMPLETE the thing. My procrastination is fueled by excuses. 

I still do most of my writing on my phone and now my iPad, which allows me to write without excuses on the Scrivener mobile app. #notsponsored (but I wouldn’t complain)

Because my manuscript is on ALL my devices and updated over the cloud, I am always able to keep writing, no matter my excuse. 

I’ve been known to write in line for coffee, while peeing, and while sitting on the couch watching “PJ Masks” with my kids for the four-thousandth time. The Scrivener mobile app is my favorite way to write my books and opening that up makes me feel like it’s time to go. 

Location helps too! I really like settling into my bed with a glass of wine and my iPad and cranking out the word count on the screen or with an external keyboard. 

I also really like the desk that’s in my living room during the day.  I can keep an eye on the boys and crank out the words on my computer.

Sometimes your writing area doesn’t have to be this perfect little minimalist desk with white wood and a candle and a brass pyramid and a succulent. Sometimes it just has to be you and your phone. 

Make Your To Do List

I can hear it already... 

Zoe, seriously, this is the biggest give in on the planet. This is a bullet journal blog, of course you are going to suggest making a to-do list .

Yeah... I know... I’m... just... Keeping it in my lane, okay?!

But really. Making that list and checking it all off one by one will make you feel better as you go along.



Let’s move on with it then... 

 I’ll keep it veeeeeeery simple for you then.

THEEEESE are probably some things that you should have on that to-do list. 

  • Get your novel up on

  • Make friends with MMEEEEEEE!

  • Make a novel cover

  • Make a list of characters

  • Make a list of settings

  • Make a list of plots and subplots

 Get Your Snacks

Snacks are an integral part of my NaNoWriMo and #Preptober experience. The proper snack can keep you motivated and engaged with your manuscript for HOURS. 

See, it’s all about keeping those excuses out of the picture. And my stomach can be a big excuse that I can give myself to NOT work. 

Sooooo. A key part of my NaNo strategy and my #Preptober strategy is making sure THAT excuse doesn’t ever come up. And I make sure THAT excuse never comes up by stocking up on peanut butter M&M’s, pretzels, and Thai Curry Cashews. 

Ya, know. Because I’m QUIRKY and need everyone to know it. Like Zooey Deschenell. 

But seriously, those are my snacks of choice.  Along with a bottle of bourbon, a pack of lime seltzer water, and a fresh stock of my favorite loose leaf Earl Grey tea. Taylors of Harrogate.

Protien, carbs and salt. Think about our writing snacks a bit like the ones you would take on a road trip. Water retention is KEY.  You’re gonna be on your ass for a WHILE

All sass aside, whatever your choices are for snackage, it’s REALLY important that you use it as fuel and as procrastination termination. REALLY. You don’t want to think about your stomach and end up cooking food or dawdling around in the kitchen and then there will be dishes and too much to do and all the procrastination.

Set Up a Reward System


Another thing that I talked about last year. 


Your silly puppy brain NEEDS that encouragement to keep going sometimes and that reward system will keep your foot on the gas with your manuscript.

When I sit down to write, I put my computer and phone into “Do Not Disturb” mode and keep it there until ALL my words are written. If I don’t, I get on instagram and wander around for like three hours and then realize I haven’t written. And then I get back into my manuscript, but I have burned through all my time away from my boys when they are doing playtime and they are hungry and want cuddles.

And then it’s over and I can’t sit down to write for another few hours. But that first go can be super important. If I get blocked from my first attempt at writing in the morning, then the next time I try to sit down to write, I feel so defeated that I don’t want to write.

And that’s terrible.

I don’t want to feel defeated when I sit down to write. I don’t want to feel like I can’t do the think I love because I have no time. That’s never good.

That reward system will help me PUSH through that defeat.

If I write 500 words now, I get to have a glass of bourbon or a cupcake or sit and play on Instagram for an hour.

If I write 1666 words today, then I get to watch three episodes of Friends or Nailed It or a Harry Potter Movie.

If I complete a character profile, I get to go on a walk and splurge on a cappuccino at my favorite coffee shop.

This helps me keep going even when I want to give up for today. Because that fancy coffee, or that glass of bourbon, or that time on Instagram is a motivator for me.

So what’s your distraction? What’s your motivation? What do you use to procrastinate? Use THAT as your motivation.

Plan for Sucess Not Overwhelm

When you look at a to-do list as long as the one you have made for #Preptober, it can be overwhelming. And it’s okay to take it SLOW.

If you can’t get three things a day done on that to-do list DON’T put that on your daily.

My big motto lately is “No Zero Days”

All that means is when I’m working on a thing, even making progress on one thing on your to-do list is a success for the day.

On REALLY bad days that means getting up and keeping the kids alive. Coffee is a bonus. Shower is a super bonus.

And that’s all it takes.

When you have a bad day, write 50 words. Or decide what color your character’s eyes are. And if that’s all you do that day it’s great.

Don’t let your to-do list lock you up, take it one step at a time

And most importantly…

Be Forgiving

You didn’t get your character done for today, you had to take the kids to soccer practice.

You spent time with your kids.

You didn’t design your cover art, you spend an hour on Amazon looking for new cases for your phone.

You found a new phone case that makes you happy.

You didn’t go shopping for your snacks for November today. You go sidetracked and went to coffee with your friends.

You spent quality time with your friends.

The biggest thing that can stop us from making progress in our writing or even our daily lives is GUILT. If we feel guilty for taking some time with our friends and family over writing. And it can work in reverse as well.

Pushing through that guilt and coming out the other side can be the most difficult thing we do as humans. Because often we are taught from an early age that doing what we love or fulfilling our dreams is selfish.

So getting up the courage to do what is next to fulfill that dream, pushing though the guilt, and forgiving yourself for doing the next chunk of work to fulfill your work is KEY.


Getting up the courage to say that your time with your loved ones or dinking around on the internet, pushing through THAT guilt, and forgiving yourself for NOT working is key.

Okay… that was a long rant. But REALLY forgiving yourself.

I know that I preach a LOT about getting shit done on this blog and that IS really important. But really, getting past the guilt is the first step to success.

RIGHT! That’s about all I have for you guys today!

Oh! You thought I would use this blog post to promote my #Preptober and NaNoWriMo Printables? Well… that would be a missed opportunity. So I’ll talk very briefly about it.

I made these printables to help you out with your NaNoWriMo 2018 and #Preptober journey and together they are 60 pages of help and worksheets and stickers to cut out.

I’m really proud of these printables and hope you enjoy them! Thank you to everyone who has purchased one, from the bottom of my black little heart THANK YOU! You are keeping the lights on here and I appreciate your support.

If you are interested in these printables, click on the link above to be taken to my store and snag yours today.

Thanks again for supporting me and spending some time with me today.

Happy Writing!


The Ginger Wordsmith