Writing Update 2/15/2020

So how’s writing going?

That’s the question I ask myself every day. I’m finding that my goals are shifting because planning seems to be taking a lot of time. The characters have to have names. The places have to have backgrounds. How many islands are there? How many empires are there? How does magic work? etc…

Loosely, about four or five scenes have been written. However, I can tell you that I’m writing more than the end of last year and with greater consistency. This book might actually be the one. Things are clicking more and more.

If you focus on word count and don’t have yourself a plan, it’s easy to write yourself into a hole. Trust me, I’ve been doing this a few years now. It’s what happened with my last book. This time I’m making sure I get things right.

Reading Goals For This Year

I’ve decided to increase my reading to help me with my writing. I’m going to attempt a book a week. Here are some of the books and series that I have in mind:


  1. It by Stephen King
  2. Pet Sematary by Stephen King
  3. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  4. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  5. American Gods series by Neil Gaiman
  6. The Way Of Kings series by Brandon Sanderson
  7. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
  8. The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher


That should be enough to occupy me for a good bit. In the meantime I’m building a very long list.

Writing Update 1/4/2020

In the process of putting a book together I’ve reached out to someone to be my “writing buddy”. Basically we’re going to exchange work perhaps once per week or so and critique. I’m using this as a strategy to force myself to actually add words to this thing. Like in many endeavors, it helps to have help.

My end goal is to publish by December. I feel like this is reasonable since one book a year is quite common and December is a good time away. I’m aiming for 4 or 5 drafts (including the final manuscript), in the beginning gunning for 700-800 words per day. Not exactly Nanowrimo but not nothing either.

I’m not giving away the working title of this book yet but a good bit of planning has already been done. I know where I’m going in a general sense.

This is the first of several writing updates. When I’m finally done with this thing I will have accomplished a major long-term goal I’ve had for years.

Writing A Book

This Christmas season has been great. Last week was mostly about exchanging presents and spending time with family. This week looks to be mostly about resting up.

During this time I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do next year, and I’ve decided I’m going to go for writing a book again. Last time I tried writing under a pen name, so I’m not sure if I’m going to try that again or not. It seems like a lot of effort. This will be the big dream this year. I’ve been looking to write one for years and if I don’t do it now I don’t know if I ever will.


Why I Use OneNote To Bullet Journal

Many people have seen the way that I used to bullet journal. However, paper has some disadvantages. For starters, it’s slow. It takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour of my day to write everything down, and even then there’s no guarantee I’ll remember it well enough to keep it in my head all day while I’m out and about. I could take the last daily log page, but why risk it when I can go 100% electronic now?

I’ve switched back to OneNote. It’s just so much faster and has so many advantages to paper. For starters I don’t have to constantly worry about looking stuff up in an Index. The Index is always to the right (or wherever I choose to put it).


The order of these pages can be changed with minimal effort. No moving things around in a binder and altering the index by hand. The bujo can be copied by simply backing it up to my desktop. Oh, and I can also keep it on my phone and make changes on the fly. So really, I don’t see many downsides.

Aside from saving time and hand strain there’s other reasons to go full electronic. Minimalism is important to me. I don’t like to clutter and right now paperless is the best way to avoid this. Tomorrow I’m moving all but one of my notebooks to storage. I’m also doing the same with all but one of my books. This way I’m covered in case I feel nostalgic and want to write something or if I want to finish that fantasy book I haven’t yet but keep telling myself I will.

In any case, paperless is probably the way of the future, and I’m trying to be as far ahead of the curve possible.

Bullet Journal Tip: Put Tabs In Your Bujo

Today I wanted to share a method of Bullet Journaling I developed when I was still using a paper bullet journal. Instead of a regular bullet journal this requires a binder.


There are four sections to this binder (A, B, C, and D), each with it’s own index except for D. Section A is for keeping track of future, monthly, and daily logs. Section B is for anything related to “other” stuff, like if you have lists or cheat sheets. Section C is for any drawings you might have if you like to draw art. Section D is simply for new pages.

So why is this useful? In a regular bullet journal when you have a new list or idea you want to add, you have to do the math to keep from breaking up your daily log pages. Your index will also be less organized. With these four sections every new page goes to its appropriate spot at the end of each section. If you make a new daily log page, all you do is go to the last page of section A. Every new idea you have simply goes to the last page in section B. Every new drawing you make goes to section C.

And of course this is not set in stone. You can have as many sections as you want and it works the same. That’s the thing about bullet journals is that they’re unique to each person.

Once again I know from experience how difficult it can be to keep up with things. That’s why I developed my system. I hope this helps you.

How I Stay Clean And Organized

Today I wanted to share with you how I keep my life from going out of control in the organization department. Two and a half years ago I had a serious cleaning problem. I was hardly able to get out of bed without consciously avoiding the mess everywhere. There were receipts all over the counter and floor and I kept tripping over my clothes.

It wasn’t just cleaning either. I couldn’t keep anything organized or straight. I kept forgetting about bills and due dates. I was also forgetting about holidays and family events.

My issues were so daunting they seemed for the longest time like they were here to stay. Here’s a list of things I did to fix the problem.

1. I created a shred box, bought a scanner to scan receipts, and put the rest either in the trash or in a box.

Junk is junk and receipts are no exception. However, some of them were important. I made a makeshift shred box, bought a scanner to scan receipts into my computer, and bought three boxes from Gander Mountain to store all the extra paperwork.

2. I got a bullet journal.

I have three places where I keep everything: my phone, my bullet journal, and my wall calendar.

These three things keep everything backed up and tidy. Every morning and evening I sync the lists on my phone with the bullet journal and the calendar. This way everything is always organized in my head and I know what I’m doing that day.

3. I twist tied cables.

I work an I.T. job by day, and one of the things we do is tidy our cables so they don’t get out of order. I bought a large number of zip ties and twist ties and put everything in a drawer.

4. I changed the lights to get better sleep.

Sleep has always been a challenge for me, partially due to the fact that I’m always around screens. At night time this was a problem. I bought a large number of led lights and changed the daytime ones to white and night time to red. I also bought blackout curtains and filtering glasses to have more control over when the light hit my eyes.

5. I bought containers for all the old junk.

6. I automated.

I bought two Google Homes, a Roomba, and a Canary Camera security system.

7. How it all works together.

So here is an ideal day for me. Google home wakes me up and I immediately get ready for work. If I have time I check my lists and prioritize. I use the white lights in the apartment and my phone to schedule things during the day. When I get off work at night I come home and switch to red lights and turn off the computers. Again, this is an ideal day, and I stick to this process enough to be effective. Both Google Homes are useful for setting timers, alarms, checking weather, and just plain passing the time. At night I sync my bullet journal, calendar, and phone and I stop using my phone as much and instead switch to paper for to do lists. If all goes according to plan I go to bed on time while checking off my to-do lists enough to be satisfied. New receipts are scanned into my phone and discarded or put in a box to the side. All in all this system has been a success and it has improved my sleep and mood.

I’m posting this because I’ve met a lot of people who have the same issues I did. I know from experience it can be a full-time job keeping the house straight and remembering when your appointments are. I hope this helps if you’re one of these individuals.