How to create a simple wreath for your bullet journal – a step by step guide

Wreaths are used to mark the start of a new month or year or to mark special occassions.  
Here’s a quick and easy step by step to creating your own winter inspired wreath.

First off, I use Frixion pens which are erasable gel pens.  If I don’t own Frixions, I would use pencil and copy over your wreath with a fineliner or sharpie pen when you are satisfied by the overall effect.  Wreaths don’t need to be perfect.  They are simply a combination of little doodles that create a complete wreath.

To start I chose a glass in the size that I wanted and traced the circle, centering it onto the page.  No need to use expensive stencils.  I used the circle as a guide as I added the words and flowers and branches that I wanted to complete my welcome 2018 wreath.

Before I added any flowers I chose the words I wanted to use.  I used a technique called faux calligraphy to darken the downward strokes of the letters.  This gives it more character and is easy to learn and doesn’t require a special pen to do.  

I used a poinsetta arrangement that was given to me as my inspiration for the winter theme I wanted to work with.  The poinsetta is the focus of the wreath allowing everything else to compliment it.  I made it the biggest part by adding more petals/leaves around the center then added some lines for detail.  

I didn’t want the two sides to completely mirror each other but I also didn’t want to add too many elements to the wreath.  The swirls are easy and fun and add a bit of whimsy.  The “popcorn” flowers are similar enough to the white flowers that came in the arrangement that I just let the squiggles be and added leaves as needed.  The branches with “berries” on them are simple and another quick winter detail.  The pine needle branches are a nod to the Christmas tree that still stands in the living room.  A reminder that Christmas was only a short time ago.  Pine needles are easy to draw and help to fill the wreath with a heavier element to contrast the lighter details.

Holly was a new element that didn’t have soft, rounded edges and was chosen for contrast and because I wanted to repeat the pine needles and poinsetta but also wanting something new between them.  

All of this was done as quick doodles but the overall effect is pleasant and marks the start of a new year with a special page.  I haven’t decided whether or not to add color.  I will post an update if I do.  : )

This was the completed wreath but I chose to erase the upper arc of the circle since I preferred the openness of the bare circle at the top.  In truth I like both versions but I liked the idea of the wreath being simpler, like I’m hoping 2018 will be.  

So that is my 2018 wreath.  I hope you find inspiration for creating your own and don’t allow this creative page idea to overwhelm you.  Keep it simple, with maybe 4 or 5 elements then mix and match them around the circle.  And have fun!  Creativity should always have an bit of fun and challenge so you can grow as an artist.  : )

Happy 2018!  

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Word of the Year Layout

This year I chose the word nourish.  2017 was a year of chaos and change.  Most of it good but the journey came at a cost.  I feel like 2018 is the year to step back from some things and refocus my energy and take some time to take care of the things that matter most to me and to simply take better care of myself.  

The layout is simple, done in black ink with washi tape for a pop of color.  I chose three quotes that I hope will remind me to be kinder to myself.  And I determined the ways I would do that.  I’m not very good at putting myself first.  I always feel guilty when I do.  But I need to start doing so if I want to have the energy and the wellbeing to do so.  Thus the gentle reminders that it’s okay to take care of me. 

I invite you to share your word of the year layouts.  And I hope 2018 is everything you want it to be and that your word choice helps in that journey.  If it doesn’t, flip to the next page and give yourself a new word that better suits your needs. 

New Years Resolutions and My Bullet Journal…2018, to my best year yet!

First I should admit that I don’t usually do new year’s resolutions.  But this year with the help of my trusted bullet journal I hope to bring to light the things I should do more often and ensure my big goals don’t get ignored with all the little things that must be done or seem like they must be done at the sacrifice to my dreams.  A lot has changed in a short time so in many ways 2018 will be a fresh start.  We’ve had the chance to free ourselves of much of the clutter we found ourselves living with for no other reason than it was there.  It came in the house and it stayed even if its purpose had passed.  We’re making changes to our new home that make us happy instead of just making due.  We are trying to use proper storage so things have a home.  But it’s deeper than that.  It’s changing how I view every part of my life.  Including how I schedule tasks.  I suffer from last-minute-itis.  And I never get everything done that I hope to complete.

So this year I plan to actually use the monthly task/braindump page that I create every month and never fill in.  What good is a tool if you don’t use it?  I threw out or donated so many things I’d barely used or never used in some cases.  Some things got tucked away and I forgot I owned them.  I also realized I don’t plan ahead enough.  I make Christmas cards for friends and family.  Nothing is stopping me from making them in September or October or November (well, NaNoWriMo, but I could get a few cards done even with that).  Even the first week of December would be better than what I’ve been doing.  So better, smarter planning is in my future.  It’s a little change but I hope it gives me huge rewards. 

I’ve lost two days to a rather vicious flu and I realized that all those close enough to last minute tasks I had scheduled have now become last minute tasks that I have to complete on Christmas eve.  And that’s only if I feel up to it.  Cutting it too close, time and time again.  That’s not how I want my future self to live.  It’s too stressful.  

Lastly, I tend to leave myself last in the order of things letting my writing take a backseat and often my health as well.  I eat too late or not at all and I’m beginning to feel it.  I need to place more importance on me.  And I remind myself that it’s not selfish to do so.  We only get one life to live and I’m not using mine the way I wish to.  My goals and dreams need to become a priority if I wish to fulfill them.  

So my word for the year is nourish.  Mind, body and soul.  Writing is for my mind, exercise and eating right and regularly for my body and quiet moments of review and reflection for my soul.  Another piece of bullet journaling that is supposed to happen but doesn’t.  

2018 starts in a week.  In that time I hope to put the chaos of 2017 behind me and start anew.  2018…my best year yet!

Post NaNoWriMo Guilt

I may not have made it to 50000 words this November but I did achieve a good portion of it.  The first week of December I kept up the habit.  Got my 750 words in each day then more of life happened, then Christmas prep and the days are flying by and the words are not happening.  I’ve failed to make them a priority.  And I’m kicking myself.  If it didn’t matter to me, no big deal.  But it is important to who I am and who I want to be.  

I have to get that half hour of writing time in each day.  If I want to be a published author that is how it is done.  2018 is right around the corner and I’ve decided it’s my year to succeed.  I know I’m going to stumble and fall.  But if I keep making it a priority it will eventually pay off.  My name will be on the spine of a published book in my local bookstore and maybe a bookstore near you.  : )  

That’s the dream and I plan to make it a reality.  750 words at a time.  Or more when the opportunity arrives.  NaNo taught me that I can do more.  I can be more.  I can write.  And I will.  Life will give me my thirty minutes a day.  I demand it!  It is priority #1.  

NaNoWriMo 2017 Recap

I guess the first question that needs to be answered is did I win?  Did I make it to 50000 words in 30 days?  I did not.  Apparently moving and building furniture and writing 50000 words in the same month do not mix.  Am I sad?  Not really.  On the days I could write I brought in numbers that make me proud.  Numbers I have never reached before.  I wrote 37348 words and learned a lot about my novel after a false start and a tangent that was fun to write but didn’t exactly fit with the direction of the story I planned to tell.  

For 8 days of the month I wrote zero words.  For another 8 days I wrote under 500 words, often way under 500 words.  For 5 days I wrote under 1000 words and yes, I’m including the day I wrote 523 in that grouping.  Lol!    So for most of the month it came down to 9 days of writing big numbers.  4 of those were around 1000 words.  The other 5 were between 3062 to 7482.  I had two 7000+ days.  I didn’t know I could do that.  


So do I consider NaNoWriMo 2017 to be a fail.  Not at all.  I have 37000 new words, a true start to my novel and some record breaking numbers that will forever remind me that I can produce more than I thought I’m capable of.  How do I know?  I did it!  I made it happen by putting butt in chair, using google docs and writing on my phone when I was away from my computer and pushing myself to write more when the opportunities arose.  I also have to thank the wonderful person who created the Word crawl/NaNoWriMo Academy Crawl for some much needed inspiration and the push I needed to keep going at times when the feeling of defeat was beginning to win.  Plus I learned to keep my outline close.  When I didn’t have it I wrote some strange stuff.  
Now that November is over I haven’t stopped writing.  I have a novel to finish after all.  I signed up at 750words.com to challenge myself to write every day.  Because if I’ve learned one thing from NaNoWriMo this year, if I’d just written 750 words on the days I wrote nothing or less than 500 words I would have won.  I still would have needed some big number days but together they would have been enough.  

So I invite you to join me at 750words.com to keep making our writing a daily priority.  Hope to see you there.  : )

Two-thirds of the month remain…

A third of the month may be over and I’ve managed to write just over 3000 words.  I could feel defeated but I don’t.  There are still 20 days remaining in the month of November and I’m going to use them well. I need some good days to get caught up and my daily word count is higher but I’m still able to do this.  I haven’t been doing short sprints when the opportunity allows.  That I’m going to fix.  So today I am recommitting myself to my project and letting the negative thoughts fall away.  Any new words are new words and I’m going to write as many as this November allows, starting with a writing sprint right now.  I’ve got this.  NaNoWriMo 2017 for the win!!!  : )  

Moving and NaNoWriMo

Moving and NaNoWriMo do not mix.  But that said I am writing when I can and for a few days that meant only a couple hundred words.  But that’s better than zero words.  It doesn’t help that we bought a lot of new furniture from ikea.  I hadn’t accounted for the time needed to build each piece.  But I keep writing.  My plan for heavy word counts at the beginning have given way to doing them during the middle and the end of the month when life becomes more settled.  Just keep going!  Keep pumping out those words.  Life will happen.  It is up to you to steal moments to write.  Sprint away.  I plan to get to 50000 words writing in sprints.  You can too.  : )

NaNoWriMo Eve…

I can’t believe that it’s October 31st.  In a few short hours it will be November 1st and the first words will hit the page.  And 50000 of them will follow over the next 30 days.  I’m excited and nervous and bursting with energy to just sit down and to truly get to know my main character.  

Her situation has so much hope, yet there is this underbelly of threat that can destroy it all.  I don’t want her to give up but there are others to think about.  But I want her to win.  I want her to take her life back.  The world she leaves is not one she should ever go back to, but to keep her friends safe she might.  I wonder if they will go after her.  Will they save her?  They’ve already done it once taking her into their world and showing her that everything she knew was wrong.  But that was in the safety of the world they knew.  Will they enter the underbelly of her world and bring her home?  I hope so.  That’s the story I want to write.  That’s the story that will keep me going over the next 30 days.  

Good luck on reaching your goals.  Reward yourself as you go.  You’ve got this!  NaNoWriMo 2017 for the win!!! 

Preptober Day #8

I’m calling this one the four page outline but that will depend on the amount of detail you express as you take your plot points outline from the skeleton it currently is to the more fleshed out vision that will take you to the story you long to tell.

With each step we are building a fuller vision of our story.  To do that we are going to take each plot point and expand on the beginning, middle and end of each and add in the reactions that follow.  By adding in the bridging scenes we will have a good feel of the flow of the story and the emotional price to our main characters and the people they love.

Hook

Setup

Inciting Event

Build up

1st Plot Point

Reaction

1st Pinch Point

Realization

Midpoint

Action

2nd Pinch Point

Renewed Push

3rd Plot Point

Recovery

Climax Begins

Confrontation

Climactic Moment

Resolution

At this time you can also lay in your subplots as they fit with the action and events of the story.  As he or she is pulled away from the main plot to deal with “life” in it’s various forms.  Ex.  The boy she is starting to get serious about thinks there is someone else because of her involvement with the main story problem.  Or helping her sister because she always has but she just doesn’t have time.  Or simply struggling to keep it all seperate.  

Grab your notebook and pen or laptop and start expanding, building another layer of detail onto the outline.  Beginning, middle and end of each point.  Each step bringing you closer to a complete blueprint. 

It’s hard to believe we’re one day away from the start of NaNoWriMo.  One day away from taking on a dream and making it a reality.  In 31 days you will have a completed first draft.  It will be an amazing feeling, but don’t take my word for it, discover it for yourself!  : )  

NaNoWriMo – Bullet Journal – My Word Count Tracker

NaNoWriMo 2017…

Last year I used this two-page spread to keep me motivated during NaNoWriMo.  I used a reverse NaNoWriMo counter to push myself to a comfortable lead at the beginning of the month and wrote each day’s word count on the top of the line and the up-to-date total beneath it.  That comfortable lead didn’t always last but it did allow me the non-writing times that came up, so I’m using it again this year.  : )

My favorite part was the color-in tracker around the top and side.  It felt great coloring in every 1000 words as I fought my way to completing the challenge of 50000 words in 30 days.  This year will be even more of a challenge as we are moving in November and doing some renos to the new place.    

The two quotes are ones that helped to keep perfectionism from getting in the way last year.  What are some of the quotes you’re using this year to keep you motivated?  Share in the comments below.  : )