June Writing Challenge Announcement – Join Me!

Today I am making a super fun announcement to tell you all about the writing challenge I have created for myself (and for you guys) for the month of June!

Starting on June 1st, I will be challenging myself to spend one hour every single day on my writing.

I have always loved to write. I have started multiple different novels, I have written tons of short stories, and I am constantly jotting down lines for poems on my notes app. But, I never really prioritized it. I always told myself “when I have more time, I’ll finally finish that novel” and “I’ll work on that manuscript one day.”

I have no excuses now. The majority of us are currently practicing social distancing, meaning we are staying home pretty much every day. I know I definitely am. Now is the perfect time to finally commit myself to writing. I am done with school until the fall semester, and I don’t really have many responsibilities right now.

So, I created this challenge and shared it with you guys on Instagram and Twitter! So many of you told me that you are going to be joining me, and it was so incredible to see. I am even more excited to be doing this now, and I even created a few extra weekly challenges to make this more of a group endeavor! Feel free to do these if you want (and share them on social media if you are comfortable), but do not feel pressured if you do not want to!

If you want to share your progress or challenges on social media, be sure to use the hashtag ‘#HourToWrite’ so I can see your post!

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I decided not to have any word count goals or writing prompts because I want this to be as stress-free as possible. Use your hour every day to work at your own pace- maybe you are stuck at one scene and all you can write is a couple of sentences. Maybe you’re revising the first draft of your novel, so your word count doesn’t change much throughout the month. That is ok!

I also created a Discord group chat for you all to join if you want a place to chat with others about writing!

Also, I am posting updates and other things on my Instagram and Twitter, so be sure to follow me on those if you want to keep up :)

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let's chat

Please let me know in the comments if you will be participating in this challenge, and tell me about what you’re going to be writing :)

Jessica

May Bullet Journal Spread

Hello! I have not shared a bullet journal spread with you all since FEBRUARY because my spreads have all pretty much been the same. My 2020 bullet journal is very minimalistic because I wanted it to serve a specific function & not just be a pretty design (there is nothing wrong with making intricate spreads & I LOVE looking at them, it just wasn’t effective for me personally!!).

This month, I did change some things up, so I decided I would share the spread with you guys!

May BuJo 2020

First up, we have my goals and TBR page. I don’t do a monthly calendar anymore because I don’t use it that much. Most of my monthly planning goes on a google sheets page I have, or on my phone calendar!

I use my overview page to instead write down some goals, as well as my TBR for the month. I like having these written down because seeing it helps me to say on track.

Next to this, I have my expenses sheet, which is one of the most important pages in my monthly spread. I think it’s a really great habit to track your expenses so you can see where your money is going. Plus, knowing that I will have to write down everything I buy makes me want to save my money even more. Each month I try to make this sheet emptier than the previous one!

May BuJo 2020

Next up is my habit tracker! I changed up the format from my previous posts because I think it is easier to use and much cleaner. I also changed some of the habits that I’m tracking because my priorities are different. Plus, I realized that I was tracking some things unnecessarily because I was already doing them every day, or they just weren’t important.

This month, I will be tracking…
1. reading
2. writing
3. working out
4. running
5. drinking enough water
6. meditating
7. any days that I bit my nails (hopefully none)
8. getting enough hours of sleep

May BuJo 2020

Moving on, we go straight into my weekly spreads. You could see some of it in the last picture, but here is a full week’s spread.

I decided to give myself room vertically this month instead of horizontally because I like to plan my days out by hour. This way, I can write down my most important tasks, and I can write out a schedule for myself each day.

So far, I am really liking this method of to-do list-making.

At the bottom of each day, I also write down what workouts I am doing (including the days I want to go for a run). For now, I kept them in pencil just in case if I decide I want to do a different workout one day, or if I injure myself and can’t run (which happened last week).

I also have room at the end of the week to write down any notes that I have. This space is usually dedicated to grocery lists or tasks that I need to move over to the next week!

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Overall, I’m really happy with my spreads this month, despite how simple they are. I am very glad that I decided to go with a minimalistic BuJo this year because it has been much more sustainable for me. I’ve actually been sticking with it for months now!

Let me know what you think in the comments :)

Jessica

Journal With Me #6

Wow, it has been quite a while since I’ve done an art journaling post. I don’t usually journal anymore (aside from the spreads in my bujo), so I never make these posts. But, I was recently inspired to do a spread for the movie “La La Land” because I had just re-watched it!

It is one of my favorite movies, so I figured a page in my journal is necessary.

So, here is that page :)

I started off with my blank journal and some screenshots I printed out of the movie.

After I cut and arranged them in a way that I liked, I glued them down and outlined the entire thing in black. I wasn’t really pleased with how this came out, so I added some hints of gold along the border as well.

Overall, I’m not super satisfied with this, but it’s okay. I tried to make the most of it!

Then, I wrote out one of my favorite quotes from the movie on the left-hand side in gold and added another quote on the top right. To top it off, I added a piece of washi tape, and that was it!

This was one of my simplest pages, but I am happy with how it came out.

Here is the final outcome :)

La La Land Journal

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Do you art journal at all? I think it’s very therapeutic, and it’s something I want to get back into doing.

If you follow any art journal accounts (on Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, WordPress, anywhere!), please share them in the comments! I am looking for all the inspiration!

Jessica

February 2020 BuJo Setup

Can you believe I’m actually being a consistent human being for once and I’m posting my February bullet journal spread? Me either.

But I’m doing it.

My bullet journal setup for this month is pretty similar to last month’s if I’m being honest. All I simply did was tweak a few of the pages that were not working for me last month, and I kept the ones that were.

I’m hoping to get more creative with my spreads in the future, but for now, I’m really just working on practicality and ease.

The first two pages of my spread are a little monthly overview. On the left-hand side, I have a section for my goals for the month (which I did not write in yet because I had not decided them when I made the spread).

On the bottom, I have room for my TBR, which I have actually already posted on the blog, so check that out if you’re interested! Then, on the right side of the page, I created a calendar so that I can have a monthly view. I use this mainly to track blog posts that are going up, as well as big events or birthdays!

Moving on, I have a spread for my habit tracking. Last month, I made individual blank calendars for each habit I wanted to track, but I really did not like that method. I know it’s pretty common in the bujo community, but for me, it was just very confusing.

Instead, for this month I created one “spreadsheet-style” spread to use. This was I can clearly see each day marked, and I can track even more habits. I think this method will be much more effective for me to use, so I’m excited about it!

On the other side, I have an expense tracker. I am working really hard on budgeting this year and getting my finances is order. I am going to be attempting a “no buy” month for February because January’s was not successful (mainly due to illness + school stuff, so I had to spend more money than I would have liked).

February BuJo 2020

Finally, we have my weekly spreads! This month is pretty similar to last month’s as well, as far as the horizontal layout goes. But, I do feel like I have more room to write under each day this time around, so I’m liking that a little more.

In the next month, I probably want to experiment with a vertical layout instead, but for now, this is something that worked for me, so why change it?

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Leave a link to any bullet journal posts you’ve done, if any, because I am always looking for inspiration! If you liked this post, definitely let me know. I’m not sure if I will continue posting these monthly, but I am having fun creating them, so if you want them, I’ll do them!

See you soon.

Jessica

Bullet Journal Setup for 2020 ft. January Spread

If you’ve been here for a while, you know how much I L O V E organization. Planners, to-do lists, notebooks- anything I can use to make my life less chaotic.

I’ve used a bullet journal on and off for years now, but I recently started using it more consistently. I knew that it was something I wanted to continue to use in 2020, and I designed it in a way that I really love and that I think will suit my needs very well.

Today I wanted to show you what that looks like! I went for a very minimalistic theme- I’m sticking to black, white, and grey. Eventually, I want to incorporate some gold, but I need to buy a gold pen first.

Anyways, let’s move on to my key and cover page!

2020

January 2020 BuJo

The key is a fairly plain page- I drew a key on it just for that play on words, and I kept the actual symbols I use very simple. I use a square for tasks, a circle for events, and a bullet point for notes. I also have an index but it is very basic and not very interesting, so I did not include a picture. Basically, it just has the name of the page plus the page number next to it.

Then, for my cover page, I just printed out a little graphic I made that says “Hello 2020” and I wrote a quote at the top that says “Let this be the year you go after courage.” I am not entirely happy with this page, but I’m glad I made some mistakes right from the start, so now I don’t have to worry about keeping the journal perfect.

January 2020 BuJo

From there, I have my year-at-a-glance pages which I just use to keep track of holidays and birthdays. It’s also helpful to refer back to when I’m creating my monthly spreads. I’m really happy with the way this came out!

January 2020 BuJo

The next page is one I absolutely needed to include- it’s my goals for the year page! I divided it up into personal and professional goals (professional being school and blog related; personal being everything else). I talked more in-depth about my reading goals here, and I will have a post dedicated to my personal goals up soon!

I also have a stats page because I think it’s fun to look back at my growth for the year. I don’t want to focus on the numbers in 2020, but I do like to have some sort of record, just so I can see what I should be working harder on, what I need to change, etc.

January 2020 BuJo

Next up we have some reading related pages! Last year I kept track of the books I purchased, and I wanted to do that again this year- especially since my goal is to limit my buying to 10 books or less. I also created a list of the top 15 books I absolutely want to get to this year. I have a huge backlist of books to read, but these are the ones I’m most excited about.

Next up is my ARCs list- I have a ton of backlist ARCs, but I decided to only list 2020 ARCs on here because those are ones I want to make sure I get to! After that is a page where I can write down blog post ideas as they come to me!

January 2020 BuJo

From there we have my wish list page, which is just a place where I can keep track of all of the things I want to buy if I have the spare money. I’m trying to save more money this year, so I wanted to include this page to keep track of things I would like to get rather than buying them on impulse as I tend to do.

The last page before we get to January is a brain dump page. Basically, this is just a spot where I can jot down random things that come to mind or that I want to remember. Rather than having a ton of sticky notes lying around (as I usually do), I can keep them stored here!

January

January 2020 BuJo

Here are the main spreads I did for January! Of course, the first page includes my goals as well as a TBR for the month. I am big on monthly goals, and I try to align my monthly goals with my yearly goals so that I am constantly working on them. The other side of the spread has a calendar that I use mainly to plan out my blog posts and the occasional birthday or big event. I have a separate school planner that I use to keep track of assignments and social activities, so this one is more business-related.

Then, I have a page to track some habits. I’m not sure how I feel about this layout for it yet; I usually do one big table that I think I like better from a practical standpoint. Though, the aesthetic of this one makes up for it a bit.

The following page is for tracking my expenses. I am slowly getting into budgeting, so this is something that I always try to incorporate in my monthly trackers.

January 2020 BuJo

This is how I decided to set up my weekly spreads in my BuJo this month! I don’t love the way it is looks, but it’s quick and simple, which is what I care about the most. The practicality of the journal is more important to me than the looks, which is why I don’t do elaborate spreads (even though I think they are gorgeous).

January 2020 BuJo

Finally, I have a very simple wrap-up page where I am just going to write down the books I read plus what rating I gave them!

On the page next to that, I glued in a list of the American Film Institute’s “Top 100 Best Movies.” One of my goals for 2020 is to watch all of them (about 2 per week). I inserted the list in my bullet journal so I can track my progress.

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That is it for how my bullet journal looks! If you use a bullet journal, definitely let me know what other spreads you use, so maybe I can incorporate them in future months!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Jessica

Happy Ending- A Poem / Blogtober Day 4

I haven’t posted any of my poetry on here in a while. Being vulnerable on the internet is hard. And scary. So I don’t do it as much as I’d want to.

But I love sharing my writing. And I constantly want to improve- feedback is one way to do that. So here’s a poem I wrote during National Poetry Month in April!

The clock struck midnight,

and Cinderella lost her shoe,

but in this fairy tale,

the prince never found it.

She waited months

for him to rescue her

from her horrible stepmother;

Only the wait was infinite.

One day she woke up

and realized that she didn’t need a Prince.

She only needed herself,

a little courage,

and a bit of will.

So she packed a bag,

walked out the door,

and never looked back.

She eventually found her prince.

The story didn’t happen the way she thought,

but she learned an important lesson instead:

sometimes you need to be your own savior;

your own guide out of the darkness

in order to finally get your happy ending.

 

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Please let me know what you think of this poem :) If you liked it, if you think there’s something to change, etc. I want to hear it all!

Jessica

October Reading Journal Spread / Blogtober Day 3

Hello everyone! Today I thought I’d share my October reading/blogging journal spread with you. I am pretty proud of how it came out, and I think it’s just super cute. It’s not as intricate as some of my spreads in the past, but I’ve been trying to go for a more minimalist approach.

October 19 reading journal

First up is the “cover” page for October. It just has two little pumpkins and my attempt at some pretty script lettering. Handwriting is not my strong point, so I’m slowly working on it by trying new things.

October 19 reading journal

Then we’ve got my monthly layout! I use this page for planning out what blog posts are going up when, so those are all blurred out (no peeking). I’ve also got a little square on the side for tracking my goals for the month. These are usually color-coded depending on what category they fit into- for example, blogging, school, fitness, etc.

October 19 reading journal

 

Finally, I have a wrap-up page. This is how I keep track of what books I’ve read during the month. It’s obviously blank right now (we’re only 3 days into the month), so there’s not much to see on it. Usually, I just include my star rating and a couple of words about the book and my thoughts!

I think this month I’m also going to print out pictures of the covers and glue those on!

October 19 reading journal

let's chat

My reading journal doesn’t have that much going on in it for this month, as I’ve been using my school planner a lot more frequently. But, I hope you still enjoyed this post and maybe got some inspiration from it!

Do you use a reading journal?

Jessica

I’m Participating in Camp NaNo?!

Hey, loves! We are one week into July on the day that I’m writing this and… I decided to join Camp NaNo.

This was a very last-minute decision for me (clearly, as we’re already a week into the month), but I really wanted to make some serious progress on my novel. I’m not expecting to finish it. In fact, I’m not even expecting to make it 1/2 way through.

I am working mainly on a novel I started back in November for NaNo. I am currently at 21.5k words after reworking my outline and deleting some scenes that no longer fit. My goal is to hit 30k words on this WIP.

I think this will be totally manageable, as it’s less than 9,000 words total.

In addition to this, I am also working on outlining a second novel that I just recently got the idea for. I am hoping to get it outlined by the end of the summer so that I can start writing it for this coming NaNo. Once I’m back at school, I will have less time for planning, so I want to get as much of it done now.

The story is a YA contemporary, but since a lot of the plot is currently being reconstructed, I won’t say too much just yet. Here is a little snippet, though:

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I’m hoping to do some writing vlogs, too, so definitely check out my Youtube if you are interested in those!

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Are you participating in Camp NaNo? Let me know what you’re working on in the comments below :)

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Books About Writing That I Want To Read

Hello everyone! Hope your January is going well so far. I can’t believe it’s almost over already!

Today I want to talk about books about writing that I want to read! I haven’t mentioned this here yet, but I am actually starting a new WIP! I am so so excited about it, and I will give more details about it soon. But for now, I want to give you a list of some books I want to read that are about writing. As a writer, I think it is so important to learn about the craft, and what better way to learn than from the experts??

These are all books that I have NOT yet read, but I’ve heard amazing things about them. I won’t describe them in too much detail since I haven’t actually read them, but also because there are a lot on this list! I hope you find at least one to add to your TBR :)

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On Writing by Stephen King

This is one that’s a staple to all writers. I have heard nothing by good things about this one, and I am actually in the process of reading it right now. It is funny and entertaining, but sprinkles writing tips all throughout. Stephen King is a legend in the writing world, so learning from him is huge to me.

 

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This is another that I’ve heard such amazing things about. I want to read it ASAP! I will probably get it from my library right after I finish the previous one. From what I’ve heard, this book discusses so many different aspects of writing- not only does she give advice and tips on writing itself, but also on being a writer and what it is like.

A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf

This is basically all of Virginia Woolf’s thoughts about writing put into one book- why wouldn’t you want to read this? Woolf is such an important and prominent writer, and her works are said to be art. I have only read one of her books, Mrs. Dalloway, and loved it! I definitely want to read more by her in the future, and eventually get my hands on this diary!

Why I Write by George Orwell

This is another diary-like book by a famous author. You may know him for 1984 and Animal Farm. His books were pretty revolutionary for how they described the future, and I would definitely love to read his reasons for writing. I am sure that this one will be amazing.

The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

I heard this recommended by Kat from Katytastic on Youtube, and she absolutely loves this. This is a book about screenwriting, but the methods can be used for novel writing as well. After I heard Kat talk about it, I was sold. She said it definitely helped her with her writing and outlining, so I need it!

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose

I saw this book recommended in a Pinterest post, and I added it to my TBR immediately. As a writer, I believe it is VITAL to read as much as possible. But knowing how to read like a writer is something even more valuable. I think this book will definitely teach me a lot, so I want to pick it up in the very near future.

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Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer

I remember seeing someone tweet about finding this book at a used bookstore, and I was intrigued by it. Naturally, I looked it up. It is an illustrated book that looks so beautiful. Among the pictures, there are tons of tips for writing, and it just seems so interesting. It’s pretty different from the rest of them, but it’s still something I want to read.

 

Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder

These next two are about poetry actually, and not novel writing. BUT, this is something that I am also very passionate about. I heard about this one from Ariel Bissett, another Youtuber, and I trust all of her recommendations. This one isn’t necessarily teaching the craft, but it talks about why people read poetry and also poetry in a modern age. It definitely piqued my interest.

A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver was a beloved and very famous poet, who unfortunately passed away a few days ago. She was a huge inspiration to so many people, and I definitely want to read her handbook. This is a quick book that I think will be very useful. If I can write even 1/8 as good as she does, I would be happy.

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That is all for this post! If you have any recommendations for books about writing, please leave them down below :)

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Writer’s Block and Finding Inspiration- A Discussion // Blogmas Day 20

Inspiration. This is something I struggle with constantly. Where does it come from and how do I keep it?

I haven’t exactly found the answer to this yet.

Personally, I deal with writer’s block constantly, and I am always looking for new sources of inspiration. As someone who loves to write, I find this to be incredibly frustrating. When looking at writers I look up to, it seems as though they are able to constantly produce content and never burn out.

I, on the other hand, go through periods where I can write for hours everyday, and then I’ll go weeks without writing at all. I hate the inconsistence, but I haven’t been able to commit to a daily schedule. Life and other commitments just get in the way sometimes.

So, how do you handle this?

Remember that it’s ok to take a break

Breaks are necessary. It’s important not to overwork yourself because you’ll end up burned out really quickly. I do not believe that a writer must write everyday. Sure, it definitely helps. But as long as you are practicing your craft often enough, at least 4-5 times a week, then you are fine. I’ve definitely even had extended periods where I didn’t write outside of school because I just couldn’t.

That doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. Exhaustion will not produce your best work. So take a nap, meditate, go for a run, etc. Writing can be done at any time.

…But don’t take too long

Yes, it is important to take a break sometimes, but don’t use it as an excuse for not writing. I am definitely guilty of this. I tell myself that I need a break or I need some time to rest, and then I never end up writing.

Sometimes you just need to force yourself to pick up that pen and paper. You don’t always need INSPIRATION necessarily, you just need MOTIVATION.

Usually the hardest part of doing anything is actually starting. If you have been dealing with “writer’s block” for a while now, then I want you to go and pick up a pen/pencil/marker/crayon/whatever and just w r i t e.

Let out whatever it is you’ve been holding in. Yes, you. Right now.

You might find that once you start, you won’t be able to stop, and you’ll forget why you were struggling so much before.

Remind yourself why you love it

Why are you writing to begin with? Writing is hard, and can be very painful at times. But if you’re doing it because it’s something you love to do, then you can push through the unbearable parts.

Just taking the time to remind yourself of this can be very beneficial. It can be the extra push you need.

Where I get inspiration:

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, and it usually changes every time I write. But, here is a list of common places I get it from because I feel like it could be very useful

  • past poems/stories i’ve written
  • other poets
  • lines from books
  • song lyrics (this is a big one)
  • conversations i overhear
  • life experiences
  • pictures
  • dictionary- finding synonyms of random words (sounds strange but works)
  • movies
  • going outside for fresh air

I am a firm believer that consuming media allows you to create better. You learn from others, and you also develop your own style. You find what you like, as well as what you don’t, and use that to make your own art.

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Where do you get inspiration? Leave me a comment letting me know down below! I love to hear the process that other writer’s go through :)

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