NaNoWriMo Bullet Journaling

It’s the middle of October already and for a lot of writers that means they are well into preparations for NaNoWriMo. Last month I spoke about how to Bullet Journal using an ARC binder and this month I’m going to discuss three ways you can use a Bullet Journal to keep track of your writing throughout the month of November.

What You Will Need

To start your own Bullet Journal you will need to buy a good notebook and the Leuchtturm1917 A5 249 Pages Dotted Hardcover Medium Notebook is the notebook most serious Bullet Journal users use. The pages are lightly dotted and each page pre-numbered with a pre-printed Index page at the front. Pens are very subjective and last month I had suggested the Papermate’s Gel Pens as these are the pens I use, but lately I’ve also been using pencil crayons for different tasks so I don’t waste ink. I picked up a 24 pack of Crayola pencil crayons but if you really want a choice in colours they come in packs of 24, 48, 60, 100 and 462! If you browse Pinterest looking at Bullet Journal images you will see colour is important part of a good bullet journal. So let’s get started.

Three NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal Ideas

I’ve been thinking of different ways a Bullet Journal could be leveraged to help you with your NaNoWriMo challenge. Here are three of my ideas.

  1. Word Count Over/Under Calendar
  2. A Fact Sheet
  3. A Chapter Wish List

Word Count Over/Under Calendar

The primary goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel of 50,000 words within the 30 days of November. Your daily word count needs to be 1,666.666 words a day, but since you really can’t write 1/6th of a word so I round the daily word count up to 1,667 words a day. That will give you 50,010 words in November. The most important thing you need to do is keep track of your words. That’s what this custom Bullet Journal calendar is used for. Each cell has -1667 written in it.


At the end of each day write down your word count for the day at the top of the cell and then subtract 1,667 to give you your daily over/under. At the end of the week add up all of your over/under numbers to get weekly. At the end of the month, you can add the weekly numbers to get your final over/under. Never lose sight of your word count.

A Fact Sheet

What’s a fact sheet? When your writing you often need to make up information on the fly. For example, your hero’s brother is described as blonde with green eyes and you realize that’s a fact you don’t want to forget – so you write it down on your Fact Sheet. In the fact sheet you just need four columns. The first is the chapter the information is revealed in. The noun (person, place or thing) is the subject of the fact. Then the fact itself and finally the page(s) the fact appears on. You can have different fact sheets if needed. I have a character fact sheet and a general fact sheet. If you’re writing a mystery then you may want a clue fact sheet or a suspect fact sheet.


A Chapter Wish List

Like a fact a sheet, a Chapter Wish List is simply a list of possible chapters in your novel. Sometimes while your writing you realize that you need a chapter so take a moment and write it down on your wish list. On days where you’re having trouble writing something, review your Chapter Wish List and pick one of them and write the chapter. You never have to write a novel in chronological order. Write what you feel like writing that day and record your word count on your calendar. Your wish list will help you write 1,667 words a day.

Have you ever wanted to write a novel? Have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo? If so, have you ever won NaNoWriMo? How do you use your bullet journal to win this year’s NaNoWriMo?


3 responses to “NaNoWriMo Bullet Journaling

    • It depends on the type of person you are. I write everything down because once it’s in the computer I won’t look at it again. By tracking your +/- word count on a daily and weekly basis so you know what needs to be done that next week. The fact sheet is important so your lead character doesn’t have blue eyes on page 84 and brown eyes on page 104. I have a number of point form notes about the different chapters I need and if the mood hits me, I write one of those chapters. It all goes towards your word count.

    • For me, in 2015, not so much. The curse of my Nanowrimo struck again and I only found time to write 2,500 words. Maybe in 2017 I’ll finally succeed.

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