Bullet Journaling for Writers: Inside my Craft Companion

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If you want to check out my YouTube video, I go into much more detail about my Writer's Bullet Journal and how I use it every day! Click the link to go check it out and make sure to subscribe if you like it!

The Ginger Wordsmith walks you through her set up of her bullet journal for Writers! Everything I use in my bullet journal is linked on my blog! https://thegingerwordsmith.com/blog/bulletjournalingforwriters If you would like to sign up for my email list, head over to my website! And join me for NaNoWriMo.

Note for February 2018: I have MOVED into a new Writer's Bullet Journal Traveller's Notebook! If you want to see how my system has morphed, check out the video below!

I'm moving into a traveller's notebook system for my writer's bullet journal! Come and check out how I have it set up so far! LINKS TO ALL THE GOODIES! GeekiDori Etsy Store https://www.etsy.com/shop/Geekydori?ref=l2-shopheader-name Good InkPressions Etsy Store https://www.etsy.com/shop/GoodINKPressions Stinson PaperCo. Etsy Store https://www.etsy.com/shop/StinsonPaperCompany FOLLOW ME ALL THE PLACES!

The bullet journal system has gained so much traction in the last couple years and it has been a fun ride to watch it. I won't go into the basics of the system, if you want more information, please go to the Bullet Journal Website for more information!

I love using my <a href="http://bulletjournal.com">bullet Journa</a>l to track my writing, my life, my lists, and my interests. I'd love to share with my new set up as I move into September!

But First: An Epic Back Story of my writing life

*epic music playing, a la Lord of the Rings*

I tried to use the bullet journal system more like a planner and set it up for the whole year, or until it was full, rather than making a page every day and migrating.

I didn't use the future log very effectively and didn't really figure it out that go around. I stopped using it for about a year after that.

I started using it again back in June of last year and got into the Planner Community. Once I saw how everyone was using it; for blogging and their business, using the flexibility of the system to their advantage, using it for creative journaling, it clicked.

My next bullet Journal, I played with the system. I lurked in the community and just tried the system out in that book. I loved it and started to use it to track my writing as my Writer's Bullet Journal.

I started to use it for more, even using it to help me get through NaNoWriMo last year, following Kara from BoHo Berry use her Wrtier's Bullet Journal even though it was my fourth year in a row doing NaNo.

This last planner, I began tracking word count progress more heavily and using it to start a couple businesses and starting my blog.

But now, it's time to go heavy hitter. It's time... for the Purple Leuchtturm1917

My Latest Writer's Bullet Journal and How it's Set Up

Now, keep in mind that this is NOT going to be my only post on this. If you're looking at this later, be sure to keep up with the rest of my planning experience, because it's always changing. That's the beauty of this system! It's VERY flexible.

I love that it's purple! I have many favorite colors and usually stick to a fairly monochromatic pallet; wearing mostly black and gray. However, purple is an exception.

The sticker is from the NaNoWriMo store and I bought a pack my first year of participating. They are not available anymore, but the merch store is still filled with great swag!

A great way to support them is to buy merchandise or just contribute to their global fund. Please, if you participate in NaNo, consider donating. They do great things like workshops for kids and it keeps the staff employed and able to reach out to so many people!

The pens I will link below. Full transparency , I DO get a commission if I send you to Amazon through my site and you purchase these items in that shopping session. It won't cost you ANY extra money, Amazon is just saying "thank you" to me for getting you to their site. If this puts you off, you don't have to buy ANYTHING. But it does help support my family, and you know you were probably gonna search on Amazon for this stuff anyway, so I appreciate any purchase you make and you have my thanks from the bottom of my heart!


The Key Spread

Obviously, I have a key in the front. As everyone does. My Key doesn't differ greatly from anyone else's, I like the original.


Dot for a task

Circle for an Event

Put an "x" through the dot for a completed task

Forward arrow through the dot for a forwarded task

Backward arrow for a migrated task

Strike through for an irrelevant task

Dash for a note

Star for a priority task

Exclaimation mark for something needing research

A cross for prayer note

Diamond for a writing prompt idea

This allows me to look at the page and know exacrlt what's happenign in a day and know what my crazy scribbles all mean.

The Index Spread

The Leuchtturm1917 has pre-printed index pages, which I LOVE. I have been a Moleskine girl HARD CORE until I found the Leuchturm1917.

While I still ADORE Moleskine and I will probably use them for many other things, my main writer's bullet journal will continue to be the Leuchtturm 1917 for the time being.


Goals for 2017 Spread

The Infamous Blank Page

I have NO IDEA what to put here. Maybe it'll be my "Shut Up and Write" print. Maybe it'll be something else. What do YOU think it should be? Let me know in the comments!

I've been struggling to fill this out. My goals for this year are so scattered and I need to streamline them and put them into an actionable plan. I'm sick and tired of thinking about these things and NOT doing them because I feel overwhelmed by the steps. Things like this blog. And my books. And starting a business. When I get this done, I will TOTALLY post an update on this post and I will post on INSTAGRAM! So make sure you are following me there to keep up to date.


I have revamped my goal setting process and I have learned a TON in the last few months.

If you're struggling with setting goals and taking ACTION on them, make sure to check out the blog posts below!

Planning for 2018: How to Set Up Your Writer's Bullet Journal to Achieve Your Writing Goals

Planning for 2018 Pt. 2: Daily Planning to Keep You On Track

Writing Goals: How to Reach Your Writing Goals in 2018 Using Your Writers Bullet Journal


Writing To-Do List

2017 Future Planning Spread

Future planning is the backbone of the Bullet Journal System. It allows the analog book to act more like a computer, along with the index. I usually have to plan about 8 months in advance. That is just me. This is, of course, a very flexible system and there are many people who do this differently from me.

This is my BRAIN. These are meta goals and minor goals all slapped onto a spread that keeps me SANE. These get merged into monthly, and daily spreads. I need to break a couple of them down into action collections, but most are fairly self-explanatory.

I regret having to cover most of it up, but there are quite a few spoilers. Not just for my books, but also for a couple Blog posts in future! So stay tuned!


The Hero's Journey Spread

This is a spread that I originally saw on Page Flutter's blog. She got it from The Writers Journey, which is sitting in my Amazon cart. I need to buy it, but I stole this from her secondary source. So DON'T treat me like a tertiary source!

But this is just a reference sheet. It helps me hit certain beats in my drafting and redrafting process. Most of writing is rewriting!

But these beats are part of Meta-narrative and mostly universal. You can pull it apart and rearrange it. However, it will stay mostly unchanged and easily recognizable.

Three Act Structure Spread

Again, I stole this from Page Flutter. But I wanted it because, again, it keeps me on track for drafting and redrafting. These are more meta narrative beats that can be pulled it and rearranged. As she explains the top is, once again, from The Writers Journey The print out can be found here, Ingrid Sunderberg is the genius behind that. It's so very, very helpful!
This is can be found here. Again, I used this from Megan at Page Flutter, but it's such a valuable piece of writing theory that I decided it needed to stay. Go check out the original source and her blog post on her Writers journal for more inspiration!

Basically it breaks down fiction into 7 key elements:

  1. Character
  2. Theme
  3. Plot
  4. Point of View
  5. Setting
  6. Conflict
  7. Tone

This can be really helpful during your redrafting and editing process. It will help you find plot holes and places where you may be lacking. It can even help you in crafting some side quests for your characters.

The 12 Common Character Archetypes

This has two different sources. They break down the characters into three Types with four subtypes.

  • The Ego Types
    • The Innocent
    • The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
    • The HeroThe Caregiver
  • The Soul Types
    • The Explorer
    • The Rebel
    • The Lover
    • The Creator
  • The Self Types
    • The Jester
    • The Sage
    • The Magician
    • The Ruler

This is for character development. Many of the archetypes here are used for specific roles in a story. It doesn't make sense for an Innocent to l become a Rebel without a very specific character arc. So, the progression must occur. You can't have them just switching roles mid story! So, we use these archetypes, with more nuanced and more developed sub-structures, to create dynamic characters and stories.

Dynamic Story Equation Spread

This is a LOVELY spread for this equation! And it's a great reminder to plug in all these elements. You can find the original post here.


If you want to learn more about how I use this equation to fill plot holes make sure to check out the blog post below!

How To Fill Plot Holes With An Equation in Your Writer's Bullet Journal


Meyer's Briggs Personality Spread

I got this idea from over at BohoBerry! This allows me to create better and better characters. People are complicated and it can be difficult to construct a complex character if you don't know much about psychology.
The Myers's Briggs test and classification is NOT perfect, no personality test is. But it can still help you explore more parts of who you are and what makes you tick. When it comes to characters, making sure they behave the way a human behaves is very important. Studying who people are is an important part of being an author. These descriptions and classifications I got from 16personalities.com, where I took the exam for myself

I am an INTP (Introverted, intuitive, thinking, prospecting). A big part of who I am is my innovative spirit with an endless hunger for knowledge.

The good thing about this resource is that it also breaks them down into 4 groups.

  • Sentinels
  • Explorers
  • Analysts
  • Diplomats

This looks very similar to how the character archetypes are broken down! This makes both spreads very valuable when used in tandem for putting together detailed characters.


I've made an ENTIRE blog post on my process of making characters from this spread. If you want to read it, click on the link below!

How to Create Character's Using the Meyer's Briggs Personality Types


Scrivener Custom Metadata

Elements of Craft Emotion Hacking Spread

This spread is a work in progress. I have to go back and listen to Season 11 of the Writing Excuses Podcast before this spread is done.

Basically, as they say in the wonderful podcast, each genre is supposed to make the reader feel something different. This makes the reader feel fulfilled in certain areas and will help the reader identify for closely with your book.
I encourage you to go and listen to that season if you haven't already. It's so valuable.
This is my metadata labels for Scrivener, for when I go back through my writing digitally. I will put this into more detail on another post later. And I got the inspiration from The Digital Researcher. This is already a lengthy post, so I won't go into detail. I'll explain that process at a later date.

Character Worksheet Template

This next page is the template that I use for my Character Profile Worksheet. If you want to snag the freebie, sign up for my mailing list below!

Then, I have a small Character Catalog for the book, in which I'm in the first draft stages. Not all of them are filled out, as I'm still fleshing these people out, and figure out who they are as I write.

I'll make a post very soon about my personal writing process. Maybe it will help some of you find your mojo!

Landmarks In the Sahara Spread

This is how I "outline", even as so pantser. It's an idea I took from Wesley Chu and his writing process. It's very vague, and just the events I have to hit as I'm going along. What happens in between those are completely organic, and written in the true pantser style.

MICE Quotient Spread

This is one of the BEST pieces of literary theory that has EVER been put to paper. If you haven't read this by Orson Scott Card; PLEASE. Just READ IT!

Revisions Visualisation Spread


This is.. yeah. Anal. I realize. But it's pretty and makes me feel good when I make progress.

Each cell is a chapter or scene and has a line of five dots next to it. Those dots get filled in with the corresponding draft. I have the goal of each draft written down in my writing to do spread. I'm toying with the idea of filling in the cells with my character color code or my beats color code (more on that later) so that I can see the story as a whole. But I haven't decided that, yet.

The next spread is another character catalog. These are still not filled out, but this is where I'm going to flesh out these characters just a little bit more. Again, I can't show them all to you, but they are a huge part of how I write.

This is ENORMOUSLY long! 😂
I will do a part two of this, which will have a few non-writing related spreads, along with my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Happy Writing!

Zoe Fleischer

-The Ginger Wordsmith 🐙

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