NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

Just last week, I announced that I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. After sketching out some NaNoWriMo spreads in my Bullet Journal, I soon realized that all of my novel planning would easily begin to overrun my notebook. That is when the idea for my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal was born.

Think of it as a writer’s notebook meets the organization of a Bullet Journal, and you’ve got the idea. In my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal, I’ll be making plans, taking notes, logging ideas and writing time, and organizing my research and resources along the way.

Not sure what NaNoWriMo is? Check out last week’s post for more info :)

Today’s post is just a glimpse into what I have put in my journal so far. I can’t wait to watch it fill up and grow over time. Are you ready? Let’s go!

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

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MY NANOWRIMO BULLET JOURNAL

For my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal, I decided to stick with the notebook that I know and love — the Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dot Grid notebook. I’m also using my usual Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen (size S) and my trusty Tombow Dual Brush Pens for color.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

In addition to the traditional Bullet Journal® index, I decided to use my Color Index hack to further categorize my entries. (Learn more about the color index here)

Green = World Building
Purple = Plot
Orange = Characters
Blue = Titles
Pink = Planning

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

The left-hand side of the first spread in my journal is a simple task list to complete before NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st. I’m already making progress on it :)

On the right-hand side, I copied down the NaNoWriMo outline from Christine over at Better Novel Project. Although I’m still not sure if this is the structure I’ll be following, I wanted to have it as a reference in my journal nonetheless. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out Christine’s blog. She has a wealth of information for new and experienced writers alike.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

Up next is a traditional monthly log for both October and November. I decided to write in all upcoming events and appointments so that I can see where I will have more (or less) time to plan and write.

November is shaping up to be a hectic month for me with travel, birthday, and holiday celebrations. Knowing what is coming ahead and being able to plan my writing around it is going to be a big factor in completing my 50,000 word goal.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :) I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

After that, I have some pages for title, plot, and character ideas. Don’t mind the paper covering up my lists… what kind of writer would I be if I posted spoilers of my novel before I even begin the writing process? ;)

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :) I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :) I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

The next few pages are all about character development. I copied down some character archetypes for heros, heroines, and villains from Tami Cowden over at www.tamicowden.com. After that, have some tips for writing stronger characters from Kristen at www.shesnovel.com.

You’ll notice that the vast majority of my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal so far is simply reference material. As the month progresses and November draws closer, I’ll be getting into more actual planning of characters and plotlines.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :) I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

The next two spreads are some info about the 16 personality types as put forth by The Myers Briggs Foundation. Taking the MBTI assessment can be pretty expensive. Luckily, there is a great website where you can take the test for free and get detailed descriptions of each personality type. 16Personalities.com has become my go-to resource for learning more about not only myself, but my characters as well.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

The next spread is all about world building. Here, I’ve been logging interesting settings along with some cool ideas for different magics and sciences that I could potentially use in my novel.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

Up next is a simple description of the seven main plot archetypes. On the opposite page, I have my “What if?” list. I haven’t filled much in here, but it’s my hope that these “What if?” questions will help me if/when I’m experiencing some writer’s block in November.

I'm SO excited to introduce my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal over on the blog today! Come check out what I'm putting in it, and how I'll be checking my progress along the way. Oh, and there's a free printable in it for you too :)

Finally I have my NaNoWriMo word count tracker. I decided to go with a line graph in this rendition. The mint green line represents my daily goal. As I write each day, I’ll form a new line based on my actual word count.

I had some extra space on the right-hand side and figured there was nothing more fitting than a bookcase to fill the space. After I finished drawing it, the idea hit me that I should have drawn exactly 30 books (one for each day of NaNoWriMo).

As luck would have it, I counted to find that there are exactly 30 books on the top 4 shelves — it was meant to be! I colored in all but those 30 books with my Tombow markers, and I’ll be coloring in a new book each day of NaNoWriMo.


I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal! I can’t wait to add more plans and sketches to its pages. And I am even more excited to finally start writing my novel in November.

Of course I can’t leave you without a free printable! Some of you asked for the complete tracker page, while others wanted just the bookshelf, so I decided to do both :)

The PDF is now available in the Tribe Resource Library for you to download and print.

Not a Tribe Member yet? Sign up below and gain access to all of my free printables + so much more!


Free printable from Kara at bohoberry.com

Kara Benz
Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.
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  • threadbndr

    Are you planning on seeing if your novel is salable, or would you consider posting it on AO3 as an ‘original work’ so we can read it? Just seeing the planning that you’re doing for it is making me (us) curious…

    I admire writers that can do longer works – the most I’ve ever managed are short stories.

  • I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, too. I’ve been planning it for months, so I hope this will be the year I actually finish! I don’t use a separate bullet journal, but I do keep a word count tracker in my regular bullet journal. I’ve found the creation process forces me to throw out a lot of ideas before I land on one that works. If I keep them in my journal, it’s like they’re haunting me! My post on my own process is scheduled for this Wednesday. Great minds, I guess! ;)

  • Awesome. I applaud those pantsers as well. My brain isn’t wired like that either. In fact, my heart races just thinking about it. (winks)

  • Thank you for the writeup! This is going to be useful, not only for Nanowrimo (won’t be participating), but also for other writing projects. I’ve been keeping an eye out for such layouts. You might also want to check out the diagram of the Three Act Structure for Plotting. And also, Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He gives a good breakdown of 6 core competencies along with percentages (for instance, second plot point should be around 75%). This is really useful especially when reading Kindle ebooks because you can see what the percentage is at the bottom and see how well the author has done in following the plot structure.

  • tishushu

    Wow! I think I wanna do NaNoWriMo, too! Awesome post!

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  • Audrie Ford

    This is an awesome idea! I watched the video that went with it, too. I had a question (for the community at large, I guess) about the journal you’re using: I noticed there were empty pages left. This is something that always makes me anxious about creating journals separate from my main bullet journal. What do you plan on doing with the blank pages that remain?

    Also, since you’re handwriting your novel (which is what I’d like to do, too): How are you going to keep track of your words and submit at the end of November? Are you going to guestimate?

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  • Kristen Kieffer

    KARA. Wow! I just stumbled across your site after seeing it in my referral traffic for She’s Novel, and OH MY GOODNESS. You are the bullet journal queen, lady. And I’m so incredibly in love with this entire post. Your NaNo prep is absolutely stunning.

    And thank you so much for including 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters. It’s so exciting that you’re using it to help prepare for NaNo this year! Sending you all the good luck and writerly fairy dust. Happy NaNoing, my friend!

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  • Lezlie M

    Do you sell these on your Etsy? I would love to use them, I’m participating in Nanowrimo for the first time this year. Thanks!

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  • Katie I

    This is so beautiful! I love the NaNo tracker.

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  • This is such a great idea! I love the idea of a novel planner!

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  • Nicole Bossard

    Thank you for this post (and the YouTube video, which is how I found it)! I am now obsessed with this idea. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for years, and last year (my inaugural bullet journal year) I wasn’t happy with how I incorporated my NNWM tracking into my journal. I am definitely going to use your ideas as inspiration for my own separate NNWM/writing journal. (P.S. – my word count tracker is a whole page of bookshelves with books representing word counts that I color in when I hit that goal. Very similar to your daily bookcase!)

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  • Tauana Nagy

    NaNoWriMo and Kara together <3
    I'm a happy girl right now! :)

  • I love love love this! Of course I didn’t prep for NaNoWriMo, but I am nonetheless planning on starting writing today haha let’s see if I can pull this one off! I’ll keep your planning in mind for later though!

  • What size journal are you using for this?

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