Tag Archives: Outlining

September’s Wrap Up and October’s Happenings


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My Writer’s Bible, Bullet Journal, and Notebook

My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April's calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.

My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April’s calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.

Back in April,  I started my Writer’s Bullet Journal in a large (well, it’s the Master) Leuchtturm 1917, but it was just too big to handle easily. Forget taking it anywhere. And it didn’t fit in my Writer’s Bible, which is a custom Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook). I tried the softcover Leuchtturm 1917 and loved it, but it became harder and harder to find, so when I got down to the last few pages of it I decided to use a Midori A5 grid notebook I had, since it could also be housed in my Writer’s Bible and replace the filled softcover Leuchtturm1917.

get shit done

Self Explanatory

With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, I needed to get things together. I had 6 weeks to prepare for November 1st and when I really thought about it–that just didn’t feel like enough time, but HEY! a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I got my butt in gear and started preparing. My husband said, “It’s not November yet, why are you doing Nano stuff now?” I looked up at him with my serious face. “It’s almost the end of September. I’ve got to get things ready…” I said.  And then I looked down at my Writer’s Bible and said, “I’m excited and there’s a lot of work to do.” And like Jake at the end of the Gunslinger, my husband nodded and said, “Well go on and do your NaNo stuff then.” It’s not as good as “there are other worlds than this,” but it made me happy. And since I’m using Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course again I knew I’d need to start at least 33 days before NaNoWriMo. I really do love using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline.

amwriting april 22

Camp NaNo April 2015 (?) Writer’s Bible, Laptop, and Starbucks’s White Chocolate Mocha

So here I am, preparing for NaNoWriMo once again. Only this year, I know so much more than I did the previous years… with each passing year I learn more about myself as a writer. I’ve learned more about writing, outlining, pantsing, branding oneself, the writing community, editing videos, taking pictures, planning and using a bullet journal, what works best in my Writer’s Bible, and what I need in order to survive NaNoWriMo. Not that I don’t aim to write between 1000-2000 words per day during the rest of the year, but there is something about NaNoWriMo and the various writing communities that pushes you do do more, to try new things, to expand your horizons, and to get your ass in the chair every day and WRITE! And the planning community, especially the bullet journal community has given me such great ideas for how to plan out things in my Writer’s Bible and Writer Bullet Journal.


NaNoWriMo 2016: Writer’s Bible, which includes my Writer Bullet Journal, my Writer Notebook, a few supplies, Tarot Cards

When I first talked to Jonel Imutan about making me a Writer’s Bible, a TN specifically for my writer stuff, I knew I wanted something unique, functional, and that fit me. I told her what I wanted, and left it up to her which style of typewriter to engrave on the front, and how to coordinate the colors, and once it was done I got to name it–Shakespeare. Thought I’d have named it something from a Stephen King novel, huh? Nope. Though I love King’s works, and he’ll always be my favorite and he’s a genius, there’s something about Shakespeare that has always spoken to me.

I have done numerous videos that have featured Shakespeare (my Writer’s Bible), and over time it has become even more supple and pliable, more functionable because I’ve learned what works best for me, and it’s always subject to change if I find that something isn’t working.

Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I'm using as my Writer Bullet Journal

Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using as my Writer Bullet Journal

Inside my Writer’s Bible, the first notebook is the Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using for my Writer Bullet Journal. I printed what you see on the cover, which I found on Pinterest. I love what it says: Punch Today in the Face. Some days you just have to do that… and I know there will definitely be days during November when I am going to feel like punching something in the face. 😀 Don’t get me wrong, NaNoWriMo is awesome, but it’s chaotic. I’ve tried pantsing during NaNoWriMo, writing by the seat of my pants, and I failed. I love the idea of pantsing…of writing intuitively with no outline, just writing, but I was flailing around like a fish on land by the middle of November when I did that. Since then I’ve been working on the method of planning that works best for me. It feels like I’ve found it–using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey, Arwen’s method specifically, has really helped me find my groove with outlining. I used it last year and I’m using it again this year. I’ve also tried the Save the Cat method, along with a few others.


On the inside, the cover page, I pasted a picture that I got from NaNoWriMo 2015 for inspiration… it reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing… WRITING, plus it has fun things in the picture like Coffee, Pens, Ink, a Notebook…and let’s not forget my Coffee magnet bookmark. I love how this picture makes me feel. So below is a gallery I created of the rest of the inside of my Writer Bullet Journal. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. It’s still a work in progress though.. and I made a few boo boo’s…  but overall I like it. I can live with the mistakes, it just gives my Writer Bullet Journal character. 😀


Next is the Index, and then the Future log. Nothing complicated about either of those. I have been working on this new Writer Bullet Journal since September 20th and so far I’ve gotten a few things done, but there’s still much more that I need to work on. I’m trying to stay organized. There’s so much to keep up with that I had to get organized if I want to get things done, especially if I want to be efficient. It’s about working smarter not harder.

The next notebook in my Writer’s Bible is the “new shiny ideas” notebook for writing. If I get an idea about a character, a novel, a scene but I’m not sure it goes in the current WIP then I write it down in this notebook.

Shiny New Ideas Notebook

Shiny New Ideas Notebook

And here is the third notebook in my Writer’s Bible.

NaNo YT and Blog Insert

NaNo YT and Blog Insert

The first page is my NaNo Prep YT video list

NaNo Prep YT Video List

NaNo Prep YT Video List

And the next page is the NaNo Prep Blog Post List:

NaNo Prep Blog Post List

NaNo Prep Blog Post List

And the last notebook in my Writer’s Bible. Its a Clairefontaine notebook and I use it as my Writer Journal. I write down how my writing or outlining is going. What I think, etc.. The pages are wonderful for fountain pens. 😀

Clairefontaine Notebook

Clairefontaine Notebook

And last but not least, is my Writer Notebook. It is where I write out what I’ve learned from using the outlining method. I am not sure of where I got this notebook. I believe it might have been Walmart. I love the paper for writing. And I love that the pages are sectioned by different colors, and that at the top it has a little section where you can either write the date or the page number. I’ve chosen to write the page numbers.

And that’s it… at least for now. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon and this evening to write down what I learned about the Call to Adventure. I go back through my notes from my Writer Bullet Journal and then summarize it in the Writer Notebook.

Links to some of the things I’ve mentioned are below. Note:

**This post contains  some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you subscribe or purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!**

Arwen’s YT video using Tarot for writing:

Arwen’s Course Info:

Tarot for Writer’s by Corrine Kenner :

Wizards’ Tarot Deck by Corrine Kenner:

Rider Waite Tarot Deck:

My Writer’s Bible:






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NaNoWriMo Preparations Have Begun

Hello all. Welcome to NaNoWriMo Preparations… Last year I stumbled upon Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel. I wanted to try something different and outlining my novel via Tarot and the Hero’s Journey sounded interesting, creative, and fun. I watched a couple of her videos, read her information about the course, and signed up. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.

Thanks to Arwen, I outlined my novel Witchy Business for NaNoWriMo last year, and I went on to outline yet another novel, both of those are works-in-progress. And now it’s time to prepare for this year’s novel. Out came my notebook with everything from Arwen’s course, along with Corrine Kenner’s book Tarot for Writer’s, two or three of my tarot decks, a notebook, my writer’s bullet journal, and my Writer’s Bible, pens and highlighters, colored index cards. And what do you know… I’m ready. Oh, and the coffee–that’s a must.

And away I go with the start of my outline. I’ve been busy the past two days. I have gotten my supplies together, started my character sketch, started the first part of my outline. Tomorrow I start working on my MC’s GMC (goal, motivation, conflict). After that it’s the Antagonist and his GMC.  First index card with tarot card (a copy of it) is pinned on my tri-fold board–my storyboard no longer looks like a blank canvas.

I feel like I accomplished something today, even though it took me friggin’ forever to get the second part of my NaNoWriMo Prep Pt 2/Beginning of my Outline edited. Grrrr! I really need to figure out the editing software that I purchased so I can quit using Movie Maker. That, or I need to win the lottery so I can afford an iMac. 😀

I’m really excited. My outlining is going well so far. 😀


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Using the Tarot for Writing

Write Faster with TarotIn 2014, I purchased an ebook called “WRITE FASTER With Tarot: Structuring Plots” by Diana Castle. I read it, tried it with the Enchanted Deck of Tarot cards I have by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber (I’ve had that deck since 1990, y’all). The ebook wasn’t expensive, and it was worth the read, but it really didn’t have enough information for me, and as a pantser I really didn’t want to structure my novel, what I really wanted was to use the tarot to inspire me, help feed my creative muse, and for the characters.

Then, in September of 2015 I saw a video by Arwen Lynch on YT about her ecourse for using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to write your novel in 30 days. I debated over it for a bit, and then decided I’d try it. The ecourse is $33, or at least it was when I took it, and well worth that price and more….My only wish was that she’d done a few more videos about it. (HINT< HINT if you happen to be reading this Arwen, lol!). eCourseTitleGraphicWebPageOnly

I began my journey in October, planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, and had a blast. I made videos on YT, I had a journal specifically for my ideas and my journey through the course, and I made a binder to put copies of the emails I printed out. I even kept up with all of it. (Insert pat on the back here because sometimes I lose focus, get distracted, and don’t always follow through with some projects.) Read the rest of this entry »


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Goals, Motivation, and Conflict

I am in the process of uploading a video about GMC in regard to my protagonist, as well as my antagonist, when I started thinking about my own goals, motivation, and conflict. NaNoWriMo is 4 days away…Four! and yet I feel like even after all of the planning I’m no where near ready yet. I still need to clean the rest of my writing room, not to mention the house. What? No, it’s three days! Oh shit! and shinola! *Me pulling my hair out and running around the house like a crazy person thinking about and looking at all I still need to do.*

My friend Maya has a great video about this very thing:

After I finish writing this post I’ll be writing my letter to myself to put in my basket, which is what I’m using instead of a box. 😀 I’ll also be cleaning up a few things tonight and tomorrow around my house, dying my hair tomorrow, and then doing a bit of last minute stuff in Scrivener over the weekend to make sure I have everything together. By Saturday evening I’ll be ready! Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.




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A Right Way to Write

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ~W. Somerset Maugham

When I first began writing again I read rule after rule. Write this way, no write this way…Wait, you have to write this way or you’ll never get published.

Writing isn’t about getting published, it’s about writing the story that’s inside of you. It’s about getting the words on the page. It’s about sharing that story with someone else, and hopefully, getting published–but really it’s about sharing the story.

I have written for as long as I can remember. I was writing when it was just scribbles that were words to me. Now, sometimes the words look more like scribbling, but it’s all about the words–getting the words of the story down on paper.

I have tried various means and methods of writing a novel, and I finally realized I have to do what works for me as a writer. No matter how much I like the detailed outlining, it’s just not for me–I am a loose outliner. A hybrid between a pantser and a plotter. I prefer to write the details by the seat of my pants, and plot just the core of the outline–the basics.

I think I like Nora Roberts’ quote best: “Anyone who tells you there’s a “right” way to write is a lying bitch.” ~As seen on TarotbyArwen. 😀

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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Writing


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NaNoWriMo Prep Continues: Rearranging my writing room

Not only am I planning my novel using an eCourse called 33 Days to finish your novel (using the hero’s journey and tarot) by Arwen Lynch, but today I also rearranged my writing room. I’ve been busy, to say the least.

This week I’ve also been watching my grandson because my daughter is working out of town, which means I’ve been taking him to daycare, picking him up, cooking dinner, then it’s time to eat (sitting down at the dining room table), then it’s bath time, then cartoon and cuddling time, then bed time. 😀 And during his time at daycare I’ve been working on my outline. Today, however, I spent the day rearranging and organizing my writing room so I could make room for a black click-clack couch that turns into a full-size bed when opened. A much needed accessory for any writing room that is also a slash-guest room. Not to mention that it’ll probably be my reading spot. 😀

Having a comfortable spot that allows your muse to roam free is important when writing, but even more so when you spend a lot of time there. I’ve tried all different kinds of spots, from the living room to the dining room to my bedroom, to a different room in the house (that room is now my son’s), and I think I finally might have (almost) found my happy place (at least for now–until we can afford to get one of those cute shed/cottages that I can turn into a writing shed/cottage (at least a 12×15).

I have a few more adjustments I need to make, like getting a few more of the wall shelves to house books–going vertical is a must since floor space is limited, or craft stuff, etc, but for now this will work. It’s a work-in-progress just like my novel.


Posted by on October 16, 2015 in NaNoWriMo, Writing


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Outlining with the Hero’s Journey and Tarot Cards

The Writer's Life

The Writer’s Life

In preparations for NaNoWriMo this year I knew I had to do something different. What I’d done previously hadn’t worked, and I’ve tried many things from pantsing to plotting (using all different kinds of methods from Save the Cat, the Marshall Plan, Mapping your Novel, Planning your Novel, and the list goes on), but I never got in the outlining zone. I got enthusiastic, and I got motivated, but I never hit that point where it felt like I wasn’t “WORKING,” where it was fun, like writing is for me. To me, writing, the actual writing is fun, the planning wasn’t. Not until now.

I figured out that I’m what is referred to as a loose outliner, which means I don’t outline every single scene, but I do outline the beginning, middle, and end, some of the main parts (which would be defined as those seven beats that are so important to your novel, or the moments like the inciting incident, the B-Story, All is Lost, and Showdown, or the moments that some refer to as conflict moments). I usually wrote something short and sweet for each chapter like: MC meets ___ & finds ___, or MC loses ___, Bad Guy shows up and MC freaks/confronts/plans, or Betrayal by the last person MC expects, or ___ helps/saves ___ and turns out not to be a bad guy afterall…. in the index card on the corkboard for each chapter so that I knew that those scenes needed to follow that path. However, I didn’t specify anything for each scene, or when I did it usually ended up changing.

However, now that I am outlining with the Hero’s Journey, and Tarot, using an eCourse from Arwen Lynch, I am literally having a blast, my outlining is going so well, and I’m being bombarded with real ideas, good ideas, and those ideas are detailed. My Muse is so happy she’s doing the Happy Dance. 😀  You don’t know how happy this makes me. I’ve found my outlining GROOVE.


Posted by on October 2, 2015 in NaNoWriMo, Writing


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Outlining, NaNoWriMo Preparations, and Life

I signed up for Arwen Lynch’s 33 Days to Finishing your Novel, best $33 I’ve spent. She uses the hero’s journey and tarot cards to help you get through the outlining process. So far I’m having a blast with it. I’ve changed up the labels on my corkboard in Scrivener to accomodate the changes since I’m now using the Hero’s Journey. I’m also reading Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, and Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Not sure I’ll finish both books this month, but I’m giving it a good try.

The Writer's Life

The Writer’s Life

I’ve also invested in a Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Ink, which came with two Noodler’s fountain pens. After some adjustments (heating method) to one of the pens they are both working beautifully now. I love fountain pens and Tomoe Paper. I love journals. I love handwriting some of my novel–it really helps me get into the zone. And I also love personal journaling. I keep a writer’s journal, a personal journal, and an art journal–thank goodness for my Jonelifish TN’s (Traveler’s Notebooks), which house my Moleskin, SevenSeas, and Fabriano notebooks/inserts. I’m also a big fan of my custom handmade cloth Snoopy is Writing Journal cover and pen case.


I’m taking the fountain pen journey slow, as a friend of mine who is also a writer and a fountain pen lover suggested. The idea of spending a $100 or more on a pen seems ludicras to me but they sure are pretty–I’ll stick with my Platinum Preppy’s and my Noodler’s fountain pens for now.

Now about the outlining… I just can’t say enough positive things about Arwen’s eCourse. I’m a fan of creativity, and have tried outlining with the book The Storyteller’s Tarot by Linda Perfect, and though it’s a good book it’s just didn’t light the spark of creativity the way that Arwen’s course has done. So I’m thinking it’s the combination of the hero’s journey, which we as most know is the basis of how most Disney movie’s are outlined, as well as other movies like Star Wars, Jaws, The Whizard of Oz–you can also find the hero’s journey in mythology. It’s something we’ve grown up. The Hero and all the things he has to go through in order to fight the good fight, win the war, get the girl/guy, save the day, etc.

I’ve been so into this course that while I was outlining the first chapter and the scenes I got into the “outlining zone” and completely forget I was supposed to meet some writer friends in the #writestuff tweet chat Tuesday night at 9PM and didn’t remember until 9:38PM so I missed most of the chat about endings. Me–Miss Loose Outlininer, Miss mostly a Pantser got into the “outlining zone.”

Needless to say, I’m pumped about this upcoming NaNoWriMo, my outlining, and I’ve even started walking 1 mile every day again so I can get in better shape, lose weight, and to keep my creative juices flowing and my muse happy. I think about my book while I walk most days, so it really helps me work things out in my head.

One month to go and it’s NaNoWriMo time!!!

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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in NaNoWriMo, Writing


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NaNoWriMo Preparations Part 1b

I’ve particpated in quite a few NaNoWriMo’s. With each NaNoWriMo I’ve learned something new. I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me, as well as what does. I’ve also learned that I need an unlimited supply of some type of coffee, whether it’s hot or cold. I also need snacks, healthy and non-healthy. And I also have to exercise–get out of the chair and away from my desk and move around.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned though is that I am not a hardcore outliner, at least not using the “plot” method of ouline. I’ve tried Save the Cat, the Marshall Plan, using beat sheets, spread sheets, index cards, a storyboard (on paper, in Scrivener, and on my wall), and too many other methods to list. I’m not a plot based writer. I’m a character based writer. I’m also more of a loose outliner. I need to leave some things to my imagination–I need to pants a few things so that I don’t get bored, so that I feel the creativite juices stirring and my muse is inspired.

The Hero’s Journey is more or less about the main character (or the hero’s) journey, which seems perfect for the way I write. I toyed around with using the Hero’s Journey and a Plot Method (or three) together, trying to merge the two, and that didn’t work out so well for me. I decided to try just using the Hero’s Journey to write my novel for NaNoWriMo this November. I went so far as to purchase Arwen Lynch’s 33 Days to Finish Your Book (outlining using the hero’s journey and tarot) eCourse. I’m on the third day and loving it so far.

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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in NaNoWriMo, Writing


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