Guest Post

Guest Post: Sarina Langer on Bullet Journals

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Guess who’s back on my blog today? Yep, fantasy author, Sarina Langer. Sarina has taken time out of her busy release week for her new book, Wardens of Archos, to guest post on Writerly Bookish Stuff.

Sarina is a bullet journal (BuJo) advocate, and is here today to explain what a bullet journal is, why she benefits from using one, and how you can get started on your own. I’m all ears for this post. Over to you, Sarina!


Bullet Journals

Chances are you’ve at least heard of the bullet journal, even if you’re not sure what it is, exactly. It’s grown in popularity over the last few years, and sites like Instagram and Pinterest are full of beautiful examples. The bullet journal is a way of organising anything you want, in a way that suits you. I recommend you check out the original website, too.

What I love the most about my bullet journal is the flexibility, the creativity, and the ability to plan and organise everything the way I want. You can imagine it like a planner that does exactly what you need, without limitations. When you buy a basic planner or a diary, you have a page for each day or a two-page spread for each week, but sometimes you just want something… more.

 

If a week is going to be quiet, you can use as little space for it as you think is necessary. If you know one week is going to be busy and one page won’t do, you can spread it out over as many pages as you need.

But there is one downside, and it’s why many people eventually give up on it. Your bullet journal takes time. Why draw a spread for every month when a regular planner already comes with twelve? Why set aside time every Monday morning to write down every day that week and date it, when any planner you can buy already has that? I get your apprehension. There are days when I’m not sure I can be bothered, and it’s on those days that I look to more basic spreads. I’m not artistically creative. If you told me right now to draw a hedgehog, I’d need a reference picture and it still wouldn’t be pretty. I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful bullet journals on Pinterest (my board right here is full of them!), and I assure you mine looks nothing like that.

Our days are busy, sometimes chaotic, and time is precious. I understand not wanting to waste a lot of time on something you can buy with no effort in most shops for little money, and if that’s what you want to do, go for it! But I hope I can show you today that your Bullet Journal doesn’t need to take a lot of time and still look pretty(ish).

These are my basics:

The Key

Your key is usually found at the front (if you want to make it harder on yourself and stick it on page 97, go for it – as I said, you can do anything you want in this thing), and it’s a short, easy summary of how you’ll use your bullet journal.

Kay's Post_BulletJournal_Pic 3.jpg

The basics are your code – the signage you use for completed tasks, started-but-unfinished tasks, priorities, and so on. You can include anything you like in this, such as appointments, important meetings, or research you want to do; your bullet journal is flexible!

I recommend just sticking to the basics if you’re starting your first journal, and leave a bit of room in your key to add to it as you go. Your preferences will likely change as you go, and you can adjust, add, and cut as you need to.

My own preferences have changed quite a bit in my current bullet journal (BuJo #2), so I’ve included an updated version of the key partway through it. I’ve also marked the page with washi tape so I can find it again easily should I need to.

Yearly Spread

Don’t you just love it when a new year starts, and you have all the options? What will you do that year? Which goals will you set? What are your priorities going to be?

I love planning, friends, and your yearly spread is a good place to do that on a large scale.

Kay's Post_BulletJournal_Pic 4.jpg

For 2017, I did something a little more ‘extravagant’ than I usually do. (writing out all those numbers took time, you know!) I have plenty of space for monthly goals and appointments, which I love. What I don’t have is a page dedicated to my goals this year, so when the time comes to create next year’s spread, I’ll include space for that. I do have two double spreads with goals (colour-coded and categorised, naturally) and ideas on how to achieve them, but really I just want a list where I can tick of goals as I hit them.

So, 2018’s calendar is going to be more basic with a year-long list of goals.

Monthly Spread

Kay's Post_BulletJournal_Pic 5

I tried so many different designs for this before I found one that works for me. My monthly calendar is on one side, and my to-do list for each month is on the other. That way I can pencil in important meetings and release dates and things like that, and have everything I want to achieve on the same spread. I’ve experimented with various levels of intricacy and detail, but in the end this minimalistic spread works best. It saves me time, and it has everything I need at one glance.

Weekly Spread

I’ve tried even more layouts here – my bullet journal is a mess of failed spreads, and that’s mostly the weekly spread’s fault. I’ve tried everything from having all the info on one, crammed page (which didn’t leave me anywhere near enough space) to having a double spread, to using four full pages for my weekly goals. Minimalism won again.

 

While layouts with individually drawn boxes and leafs and clouds and little kittens look great, I don’t have the time to draw all that (and, as we’ve already established, I don’t have the skills, either). A bit of washi tape (which I’m addicted to, by the way) and a basic layout is all I need.

My Bookshelf

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This was one of the first things I added. My first list was just that, a list, but my second attempt is a little prettier. Every book I buy (books I don’t own yet don’t make it onto this spread) goes on here, and every book I’ve read I colour in.

My tbr is a mess and I’m sure you’re quite aware yourself that it can feel overwhelming, but thanks to this spread I have a good idea of how many books I actually have. Outside the bullet journal, my tbr exists in two places: my actual shelf, and my kindle where the books are in no useful order whatsoever. If it wasn’t for this spread I’d have no idea how many unread books I currently own.

Blog Posts & Guest Posts

This is becoming even more relevant to me now that I’ve started building my freelance writing business. Previously, I’ve used my bullet journal to plan future blog post ideas, make a note of whether I’d written the first draft, whether they were ready and scheduled, which day they’d publish, and so forth. But now I’m also using it to keep track of all my freelance writing jobs and opportunities (like this one!) by writing down who the post is for, what my word count limit is, and when my deadline is.

This way I can see at one glance what I’m doing for whom and when they want it by. Yay for organisation!

Here are some more ideas of what you can do:

Habit tracker

Dream journal

List of films you want to watch

Places you want to visit

Savings tracker

A list of home improvements

Birthdays

Passwords

Gift ideas for your loved ones

Blog post planner

Social Media Exposure Tracker

Content Calendar

Full disclosure: I actually use some of these myself but they’re not in any state to be shown off anywhere! As I said, I’m artistically challenged.

There are so many things you can try and adjust that my main advice is to start small, with the basics, and add to it as you learn what you need from your bullet journal. If you want to be creative and intricate, go ahead, and if you want to keep it simple, like I do, go ahead with that, too. You can try a bit of both, if you like! That’s the beauty of your bullet journal – it’s yours, in every way.

And if you realise fifty pages in that you no longer want to use a specific spread, or try a different layout, good news: you can!

Happy journaling and organising, people!


Author Picture.jpgSarina is the author of the Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. The first book in the series, Rise of the Sparrows, was released in late May 2016. She’s currently working on the sequel and a new fantasy duology.

She’s obsessed with books and all things stationery, has a proud collection of over twenty notebooks, and squees every time she buys a new notebook, pens (hmmm, fountain pens ❤ ) or highlighters.

In her free time she reads fantasy and sci-fi novels, plays video games, and researches human sacrifice traditions and the end of the universe.

Where to find Sarina & her books:

Website & Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Pinterest

Newsletter


For use of content in this post, permission must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer.

Guest Post

Guest Post: Faith Rivens on Beating Procrastination

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Good day to you all. I have the pleasure of hosting another wonderful author on Writerly Bookish Stuff today. Faith Rivens is here to discuss that annoying thing all us writers face from time to time: procrastination. Fancy some tips on getting out of the slump and beating procrastination? Get your notepad ready and stay tuned. Over to you, Faith.


Hi, everyone.

I’m excited to be able to share some thoughts with you on a problem that I’ve struggled with a lot in the past. I’m focusing on it from a writer’s perspective even though this challenge is a universal one.

Procrastination. That inclination to postpone the inevitable tasks that cause us undue stress. Is there anyone on this planet who hasn’t delayed action of some kind for any reason?

There was a time when I did pride myself on quick response and action. In the early years of my student days, I was glad to get my work done as quickly as possible. It was a work ethic that didn’t last. But it never affected my own writing life. My stories were what I used to procrastinate my school work.

And then came what I call the ‘Dark Period’ in my life, a time in my early twenties when I was struggling with what I wanted to make of myself, who I wanted to be, even my weight. It was a time when I wanted to devote myself to writing entirely and I would argue that I could make a living doing it. But when I was alone in my room, I didn’t work on stories. I just binge watched shows and read a lot and watched the time fly by.

Looking back now, I can honestly say that I wasted a good year and a half of my life going through the motions. And yes, that experience was extreme, toeing the line between procrastination and depression, but I learned quite a few lessons from that dark period about how to deal with the urge to delay, and I’ll share them with you now.

Breaking down the problem is always helpful. And I believe there are, at least, three major (pardon the scientific term) variables to take into consideration:

  1. One’s reason for procrastination;
  2. One’s preferred form of procrastination;
  3. & One’s exterior circumstances.

Let’s break those down!

ONE:

Identifying the reason behind the urge to procrastinate is essential. When I get the antsy feeling to prolong the plunge, it’s my second step after admitting to myself that I am procrastinating.

During my dark period, I hit a roadblock with my writing because I felt the pressure of wanting to prove that it could be a full time job for me. It removed the joy I felt when writing and made me more inclined to look for other things to do so I wouldn’t have to deal with that stress.

On a smaller scale, the reason for procrastination can be much simpler. Maybe the storyline isn’t clicking with you, you’re bored of the scene you’re writing, or you’re tired of staring at your screen.

TWO:

Knowing how you like to procrastinate seems especially paramount, considering that we live in a digital age. From streaming videos, to stalking twitter, to retail therapy, to browsing GoodReads to add one more book to your already mountainous TBR, to looking for the perfect pins for your novel aesthetic. I’m sure most of us rely on our computers or devices to distract us from the task at hand. And we should never underestimate the lure of a good book, either.

When I was going through my dark period, I was watching shows on the side and reading FanFiction.

THREE:

I feel the need to bring up external factors that influence us because I think too many times we neglect how the people and circumstances around us can affect our mindset. I have mentioned in the recent months that I’m struggling with a family issue at home and the challenge of that makes it difficult to focus on the work I have to do and inclines me to procrastinate my writing because my mental energy is drained.

So…

Once you understand why and how you procrastinate, finding a way to stay inspired becomes easier. Like most vices in our life, there’s no foolproof cure, but there are definitely steps that can be taken to make the challenge less daunting.

If you’re avoiding writing the next chapter or scene because you’re afraid of tackling the material, why not try drafting or outlining it first if you’re not ready to take the plunge, or write another scene to inspire you. If you’re tired of looking at your screen, try writing by hand, or schedule yourself day by day according to a manageable timetable that will make sure you don’t run into boredom.

If you know that you’re someone who procrastinates most online, find a way to switch off the internet so it can’t distract you from your task, or go somewhere different and write by hand. Or set yourself a reward system. If you write a certain amount of words give yourself a certain amount of time to connect online and then jump back into the writing.

When you’re struggling with life outside, it can be a bit more tricky to find the impulse to work and, in fact, you might find yourself slipping into a writing rut more than a cycle of delay. In those instances, when finding the will to write might be more difficult, look back and remember why writing brings you joy and look for times in the day when you might be more productive. Or set smaller goals for yourself every day. Don’t stop writing, just stop putting too much pressure on yourself to accomplish word counts that exceed your ability.

At the end of the day, friends, writing should be something you do because you love it. If it doesn’t excite you, find ways to rejuvenate and refresh, put the writing aside until you find that joy again. When you do, it’ll be easier to resist the urge to procrastinate.

May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill, dear friends!


Author PhotoFaith Rivens is the author of the novella, Eléonore. Her second novel is due to release later this year.
A reader since the age of three, publishing a novel has been a life long dream. When she’s not busy creating fantastic worlds for readers to delve into, she spends her time reading more fantastical worlds, playing the guitar, and geeking out on all things Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Sherlock!
Life is never boring with a bit of imagination!
Find Faith and her debut book here:

Permission for use of the content featured in this post must be sought from the author, Faith Rivens.

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Book Reviews, Books and Me

August Reads Round Up

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Black-Eyed Devils by Catrin Collier

5528155Full Review: Black-Eyed Devils

I rate this book 5/5. Historical truths, teamed with believable characters and back story make for an interesting read. Everything is against Amy and Tom. He is a ‘Blackleg’ brought in by mine bosses to fill the jobs of the striking miners. Amy’s father and brother are striking miners. Need I say more?

A Shining in the Shadows by Beverley Lee

6tag_130817-200747Full Review: A Shining in the Shadows

I rate this book 5/5. A brilliant interpretation on the vampire genre. Effortless plot twists, relationship growth, and character development. Highly recommended, and I can’t wait for book three.

 

Never Too Late by Jane Laird

6tag_190817-073513Full Review: Never Too Late.

I rate this book 2/5. This readd is very short, and left little time for character development. The story is swett, but I found the ending forced.

 

Hellfire by Drew Avera

6tag_190817-073430Full Review: Hellfire.

I rate this book 4/5. This scifi, military tale drew me in and kept me enthralled. I would love to see this addaptedd into a full length novel. The ending was brilliant and unexpected.

 

I Still Love You by Jane Lark

6tag_190817-073804Full Review: I Still Love You.

I rate this book 2/5. The writing was fine, but the topic was far too depressing for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong, the topic is important to highlight, but this book was just not my cup of tea.

 

The God Machine by Mikey Campling, Drew Avera, Christopher Godsoe, and Jamie Dodge

6tag_190817-073558Full Review: The God Machine.

I rate this book 3/5. A unique concept that could easily be expanded. Considering this is the work of four authors, it didn’t jar with me, and the writing styles ran smoothly throughout.

giveaway, Writing and Me

400 Followers Milestone

400 FOLLOWERS

Wow, I hit the 400 followers milestone on Writerly Bookish Stuff. Thank you to all my followers, old and new. I’m delighted to receive so much support.

This calls for a giveaway. Who would like to be in with a chance of winning all four of my ebooks, EVO Nation and EVO Shift from the EVO Nation series, Thrown to The Blue from the Indigo Flame series, and an ARC of my novella, Zombie Playlist?

All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter to be in with a chance of winning these books for either yourself or a friend.

ENTER HERE

Good luck to all who enter, and thank you for your continuing support of Writerly Bookish Stuff.


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

 

Book Reviews

2nd Half of the Year Reads & Reviews

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Can you believe it is the end of 2016? Best not to dwell on how quickly time seems to be flying, and just offer everyone my best wishes for a healthy and productive 2017.

Back on July 1st, I did a 1/2 year post of my reads and added links to my reviews of each. I plan to do exactly the same for the 2nd half of the year too. You can check out my 1/2 year post: here.

Well, I smashed the target that I set myself for the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2016. I read 82 in total this year! Yep, I think I might do a little bookaholic, happy jig about now.

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Anyway, on to the good stuff- the reviews from July-December.

    1. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine 5/5: Review.
    2. 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough 4/5: Review.
    3. The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon 4/5: Review.
    4. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz 3.5/5: Review.
    5. A Strange Little Place by Brennan 3/5: Review.
    6. Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph 4/5: Review.
    7. Looking for Alaska by John Green 3.5/5: Review.
    8. Pavel by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
    9. Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac 4.5/5: Review.
    10. Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz 3.5/5: Review.
    11. Parallel by Shana Chartier 2.5/5: Review.
    12. The Aurora Stone by G.S.Tucker 3.5/5: Review.
    13. The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee 5/5: Review.
    14. Dark Secrets by Leah Taylor 3.5/5: Review.
    15. A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart 3.5/5: Review.
    16. Collective Ramblings by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
    17. When Time Comes (Novella) by Cat Nicolaou 3/5: Review.
    18. Mirror Mirror (Novella) by Anthony .M. 4/5: Review.
    19. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab 4/5: Review.
    20. Mad Woman by Kat Savage 4/5: Review.
    21. Germination by Jamie Thornton 5/5: Review.
    22. The Last Orphans by N.W.Harris 5/5: Review.
    23. Feyland by Anthea Sharp 2.5/5: Review.
    24. Grey by Kade Cook 3/5: Review.
    25. Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins 4/5: Review.
    26. Thirst for the Hunt by A.C. Wentwood 2/5: Review.
    27. Nano Contestant by Leif Sterling 4/5: Review.
    28. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking 3.5/5: Review.
    29. Train to the Edge of the Moon by Asper Blurry 4/5: Review.
    30. Book of Birds by L.M.Bryski 4/5: Review.
    31. Untamed by PC.Cast & Kristin Cast 3/5: Review.
    32. Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige 3/5: Review.
    33. When Darkness Breaks by Brianna West 5/5: Review.
    34. Earth’s Knot by Katie Deann 2.5/5: Review.
    35. A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson 4.5/5: Review.
    36. The Christmas Bake Off by Abby Clements 3.5/5: Review.
    37. Naughty or Nice Anthology by Various Authors 3/5: Review.
    38. Eleonore by Faith Rivens 5/5: Review.
    39. Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman 3/5: Review.
    40. Make My Wish Come True by Jade Cooper 3/5: Review.
    41. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne 4/5: Review.
    42. Pastels and Jingle Bells by Christina. S. Feldman 5/5: Review.
    43. Stained by Kayla Krantz 3/5: (not reviewed on blog)
    44. Tough Love by Skye Warren 4/5: Review.
    45. Daughter of Llathe: A Tale of the Two Rings by Ben Cassidy 3.5/5: Review.
    46. Project Dodge by J.Lynne 3/5: Review.

Join me tomorrow to find out my top reads of 2016!!


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Project Dodge by J.Lynne

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Project Dodge by J.Lynne 3/5

wp-1482935349401.jpgA deadly virus. One little girl. The world isn’t ready for what happens next.

Eight-year-old Caitlyn is a rambunctious girl who finds herself at the end of a dirt driveway, watching her mother speed away. Her antics land her at an old farmhouse in a quiet, rural area with her grandmother.

The old woman sends her to the kitchen to make cookies, and when Caitlyn needs her help, she discovers her grandmother in a dark room, staring at the television. Footage shows people frantically evacuating the cities and fleeing for their lives.

Danger lurks around every corner and this little girl learns, firsthand, what happens when you die.

I downloaded this novella for free from Amazon.

Review:

The zombie apocalypse hits the world whilst Caitlyn and her Gran are alone at the farmhouse. It doesn’t take long for the undead to get inside. Caitlyn dies, but by chance, she finds her way to a research facility where people are attempting to find some sort of cure.

The action starts pretty much straight away, and the premise draws you in. I wanted to be included in how the mind of a zombie works as there are not a lot of undead perspective books out there. Caitlyn acts pretty much how you’d expect, but the slight thought processes described were interesting.

The writing style is simplistic and this does lend itself to the ‘creature’s’ perspective, but not so much to the rest. As Caitlyn regains some sort of emotional footing, you see the split personality between the human and the zombie in her- another interesting dimension. I wonder if this novella would have benefitted from Caitlyn’s first person narrative throughout. The ending is sad *no spoilers*, but I think I was expecting more. I was never fully shocked and surprised, and I don’t necessarily mean in the gore sense. With so many zombie books available, and being a huge fan of the genre, I believe there has to be something more to offer, whether it be unique plot twists or a fresh writing style that stands out from the crowd.

In summary, if you can’t get enough of the zombie genre, this is one to try. Caitlyn’s perspective is interesting, but I wanted a little more surprise.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Indie Book Advent

Indie Book Advent #24

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Day 24 of my Indie Book Advent, and the last in this feature, is a special one for me. I would like to share my books with you: EVO Nation, EVO Shift, and Thrown to The Blue.

EVO Nation (EVO Nation Series book one) Blurb:

The government tortures her, her own kind use her, and she is learning the true meaning of ulterior motives. Teddie Leason has been dragged into the festering underbelly of the secretive world of EVO; a world about to be blown wide apart.

Now, the reclusive teenager who couldn’t get upset without her unruly ability causing destruction has to somehow embrace her gift to save her new friends and her new love.

Will the actions of one man fuel a suppressed, supremacist society’s thirst for war and vengeance, or will Teddie be strong enough to stop him?

EVO Shift (EVO Nation Series book two) blurb:

She killed him, but did it make a difference?

Her kind has been exposed, abused, and segregated, and now Teddie Leason is top of Britain’s most wanted list at just nineteen. Teddie has to decide whose side she is on, what she fights for, and whether it’s worth her life.

How can she protect the man she adores, the Uncle who has taken her under his wing, and her unfaltering friends, when she can barely take care of herself? Dealing with new power and a history that has long since been forgotten, has rendered the world’s most powerful EVO vulnerable and at risk.

When will she be dealt a winning hand? Could a clandestine, renegade group of EVO change not only her fate, but that of everyone affected by this unprecedented war? And how does Teddie fit in a world bracing for a shift of unfathomable magnitude?

Thrown to The Blue (Indigo Flames Series book one) Blurb:

Foretellings have no place for goodness, only greatness. Princess Ezrahli is far from good, but she is a great woman in a conventional Kingdom, followed by whispers and scorn. However, across the waters is un-convention, magic, and fable. Her existence has been foretold in the battle against dark magic, and destiny shall weave itself into her life because darkness cannot be fought with goodness, only greatness.

Smuggling and sorcery leads to adventure, and adventure leads to destiny. Reed is a prince of the streets, but what he lacks in title, he makes up for in skill; a skill that sets him on a path already written in fate. Can he be more than what is expected? Can he enable greatness in another and survive the process?

Vengeance is a motivator, but it can never be your friend. In the end, it will ask for sacrifice, and only the great will pay the fare.

Where to find me and my books:

Goodreads

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Amazon

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