Biting the Bullet (journal)

And so, I’ve finally succumbed to the siren song of the bullet journal. I have a gorgeous new fountain pen, Marvy LePens, highlighters, drawing pencils, colored pencils, stamp pads, and more gel pens than you can shake the proverbial stick at. And I have an orange Rhodia journal just waiting for my words of wisdom to be deposited within its dot-gridded leaves.

This summer has been atrocious. The weather has alternated between monsoon-like rain and heat indexes that make me swoon just looking at the numbers. And work has been so busy I feel like I can’t breathe. My week of vacation came and went and I’m wondering if it ever really happened or was a figment of my imagination. But what isn’t imaginary is the amount of writing and editing projects I have on my to-do list. I’m floundering and starting to panic. What I need is to get my projects organized and establish deadlines.

Deadlines may be a nightmare to some, but they can be a writer’s friend. The trick is to make them work for you. Establishing priorities and due dates means that I can focus on one thing and ignore the rest because the rest of those things will get taken care of later. Meanwhile, my one and only project gets my undivided attention. Or at least, that is how it’s supposed to work. I haven’t been a paragon of planning virtue this year and I’m wasting more time worrying about what I need to get done than it would take to do the tasks ten times over.

Enter the bullet journal (and Trello). I’ve been considering the journal for some time, as it’s a way to keep track of things, plan, keep my idea lists in one place, and play with art supplies and feed my inner artist. I’ve had the Trello app for awhile but I haven’t done much with it. Today I started setting up a Trello board for my writing projects and labeling them. The bullet journal is going to be for more general items, as well as project lists.

I’m a bit stuck setting up my bullet journal’s “future list,” so I turned to the internet for ideas. Website after website, the layout seems to be the same, the fonts are frilly scripts, and I can’t help but notice it’s mostly girls doing this stuff. Yeah, I’m a girl, too, but it just seems odd, especially given that the inventor of the bullet journal is a guy. Why aren’t the men doing more planning? Or are their bullet-journal websites just buried on page 629 of the search list? Or are they so busy doing that they aren’t planning?

So far, I’ve drawn a few lines, marked two pages as “index,” created three “signifiers,” and put some page numbers in the bullet journal. It’s a start!

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Quilling a Dragonfly

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

This year has gotten off to a slow start and most of my writing projects are mired in various stages of incompleteness. It’s quite frustrating and I’ve decided I need some art therapy to let myself relax and play, and I really do believe that one form of creativity sparks other forms of creativity (mental cross-training and all that).

Many years ago my father bought me a quilling kit from a hobby store. The kit included an egg-shaped piece of Styrofoam and instructions for making a goldfish. After I finished the fish I played around with three-dimensional quilling and eventually made a dragon. Then I more or less put quilling aside until a couple of years ago.

I bought some supplies with an idea for doing a specific project, but that fell by the wayside when I got busy with school. I am still busy, but this week I bought Paper Quilling Chinese Style after seeing some fantastic photos from the book on Amazon.

The book arrived today and I decided to try making the dragonfly. My skills are rusty but I’ve managed a decent first project, although I’m not entirely happy with the composition. The card it’s sitting on is Strathmore multimedia paper. I’ve used Ranger Distress ink pads in Tumbled Glass and Weathered Wood, applying the colors to the paper with a foam applicator. For the edging on the card, I used a Faded Jeans color mini ink pad and simply wiped it against the card. The dragonfly’s eyes are 5mm rhinestones glued on top of tightly rolled quills.

The yellow eyes are done, and one wing is finished. The paper clip is holding a set of wings until the glue dries.

The yellow eyes are done, and what will become the head is just to the right of them. The paper clip is holding the wings until the glue dries and above that is the abdomen.