Nanowrimo Realizations and Planning

So far I have been really proud of myself and this whole nanowrimo thing. I have felt like I have done a really good job keeping up with it. I mean, I’ve written everyday so of course I’m doing a good job keeping up with it. Also, I’ve written just above the recommended daily word could everyday too so I’m doing even better than I should be doing. I have been really excited and proud of myself because of this mostly because I have never been someone who can say that they write everyday. I have always wanted to be someone who could say that they do that whether it is a journal or a book or poetry or whatever, but I never could get myself to write. Not when I didn’t feel like I had anything to write about. However, as I have been feeling this pride in myself over how I have been doing for nano I realized something else, I do write everyday. I have been writing everyday for just a little under a year now and how is it that I forgot that I do that?

I forgot because it is a habit. At this point it is so ingrained in me that I forgot it is something I even do. I write everyday, not for very long but I do it. This whole nano thing isn’t really all that novel once I realized this. I mean, it is, because I wouldn’t normally write this much per day, but I am someone that writes everyday that isn’t new.

I write in a journal everyday. It is my hobonichi planner. I bought this planner last year in September or October with the intention of using it to become someone who writes everyday. I have always wanted to be someone who journals in particular as a form of writing. I don’t love taking pictures so I thought it would be a nice way to keep memories if I could get myself to take up journaling. At first this idea manifested itself in the form of a bullet journal. I really like the concept of bullet journaling because it allowed you to have the chance to fill a notebook without having to be an artist or a writer. It revolved more around planning. I have always loved notebooks but I have never been able to use them or fill them because I have never been someone who could write that much or would want to write that much and I wasn’t an artist so I couldn’t draw in them. Something I did love doing however was planning.

I have always been a person that loves a planner. I would look forward to getting a new one every school year to decorate and make my own. I was always the student who used a planner to keep track of projects and homework. I used it also as a place to express myself creatively in the way I decorated it or wrote little thoughts or song lyrics in it. I saw my planners as a testament to myself as I was at that time. I had a planner from most of my years at school and each of these little books was a snapshot of my life during that school year and what kind of person I was and what kind of things that I liked. One year I was obsessed with The Chronicles of Narnia movies and the band A Rocket to the Moon. You can definitely tell this from looking at my planner from that year. But, because I had always made my planners so personal it took me a long time to be able to decide that I should get rid of them. I mean, they were just planners after all, its not like they were sketchbooks or journals. However, it wasn’t until I started bullet journaling and after I had thrown away my old planners that I realized some people do see planning as a form of memory keeping or journaling, just like I did. I just didn’t realize that was what I was doing when I was younger.

I first heard about bullet journaling during my sophomore year of college and I thought it would be the perfect thing for me. It sounded like so much fun. I combined so many things that I loved. It was exciting to me because all it was was a planner and a tracker. It was, at its essence, a useful thing—a practical thing, much like a regular planner. It was something I could see myself using because I had always been someone who needed to keep a planner to stay sane and keep up with my life. However, I also like the idea of bullet journaling because it was creative as well. It was just the right amount of creative too. I have never been an artist so I am not someone who can draw or paint, but I do love to do crafty things and make stuff with my hands. I mean who doesn’t like to have a finished product of something they made on their own? Bullet journaling was creative because you could decorate it, but you could decorate just with nice handwriting or washi tapes or stamps. You didn’t have to be an artist to make your bullet journal look good. It was also creative because you could choose what you wanted to plan and track and how you wanted to set it up because you do it in a blank notebook not a preprinted planner like I was used to using. This seemed like the perfect thing for me, until it wasn’t.

I used my bullet journal seriously for about a year, but what I found is that it wasn’t the right thing for me. At first I found everything about it to be new and fun and I had a lot of fun making and decorating my spread. However, as the year went on I began to find it all rather tedious and not very functional. I was too obsessed with making every page perfect that it wasn’t really functional as a planner. I ended up using another store bought planner for this purpose and if I wasn’t using my bullet journal for a planner I didn’t really understand what its purpose was. I was just making and decorating spreads to not use them or to just use them to their most minimal extent. What was the point? What was I doing it for?

Eventually, I started to think back to what I had always liked about planners. What was it that made me so excited about them and want to keep them for years and years later? Well, I had always liked planners because they were my way of keeping memories. I didn’t scrapbook and I didn’t journal—I used my planners—and bullet journaling didn’t really end up working for me because I didn’t like having to always set up my spreads every week. I like that store bought planners are already set up for you. Just because you don’t set them up doesn’t mean that you can’t still decorate them and make them cool like you do in a bullet journal. So I decided that I needed to find some in-between. I wanted something that could be used for me to memory keep, so a little different than just using a planner to plan. I wanted to use a planner to look back on a day after it was over. I wanted it to show me a snapshot of my day. I also decided that I would like to do a little more writing in it than I was used to. I wanted to become someone who could journal everyday. That is when I came across the hobonichi.

The hobonichi planner was, to me, the perfect combination of all the things I could ever want. It is a pre set up planner so I wouldn’t ever have to make any spreads myself the way you have to do in a bullet journal, but its set up is very plain so it leaves a lot of room for decoration and personalization. This lends itself nicely to the creative side of bullet journaling without being as overwhelming, but the main reason I chose the hobonichi planner instead of just any old planner you could buy at target was because it was a daily planner. It has a monthly spread, which I use to write down one good thing that happened to me everyday and then instead of having weekly spreads like most planners do it has daily spreads. This I liked because each page is already labeled with the date. I thought this would force me to start journaling everyday. This planner is rather expensive and if I didn’t write on the daily page I knew I would be annoyed with myself because you can’t really put anything else there because it didn’t happen on that day. I knew this would hold me accountable. Also, I made sure I picked the smaller A6 size hobonichi because I thought this would be more manageable for my first year doing daily journaling.

At this point it has been over a year since I purchased my hobonichi—and almost a year of actually using it—and I have loved every minute. It is definitely the right journaling option for me. It’s like a planner so I don’t feel as scared to look at it and to write in it the way I did with just a blank journal. I like that there is a limit to how much I need to write everyday with the daily page. I know how much I need to write everyday to reach my goal and it doesn’t change. I like that there are monthlies so I can quickly look back at any given month to see what I did and what memories I made. I like decorating it with just my washi tape and colored paper. I like sticking in ephemera from my days like movie tickets and candy wrappers. It is the perfect option for me because it isn’t overwhelming. I don’t have to write too much. I don’t have to be too creative with my decorating because I don’t have to make up each page entirely by myself.  It has become much like those little planners I used to have from when I was in school. It is a memento to this year and the person I have been—to the things I have done and the things and people I have loved.

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2 thoughts on “Nanowrimo Realizations and Planning

  1. You are definitely your great grandmother Penoyar’s great granddaughter. She journaled everyday until she couldn’t see to write . She used a calendar of sorts. 😘 Grandma

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