Posted in Cool Tools, What Makes You Happy?

My Planner Isn’t a Bullet Journal. (It’s Actually a Sticker Book.)

E99C2305-00D7-45BD-89B4-3D802320474CThis is my Happy Planner. For those who care, it’s the middle size available. I chose the Happy Planner over other cool options because the pages are colorful. I got it at Michael’s on sale (you can catch the sales at the ends and beginnings of each year) and I bought extra cover sets on ebay. This is my current favorite cover, and it says, “If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” I feel like I do that, or try to do that, for those around me. I wear the brightest colored clothing and hair colors I can find (and I wish other people would too). But maybe I just like it best because it’s got bright yellow on it, and yellow’s my favorite. In any case, you can catch a glimpse of my work desk and the Adventure Time skirt I got on etsy. I buy a lot of stuff on etsy. When you open the cover, you can see all the stickers I’ve placed inside, taped in sheets to the laminated pages.

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And that gets us to the back cover. The stickers in my planner take up about 1/3 of the heft of the book. I mostly buy them from all over etsy, but in case you’re dying to know, I’ve included what I hope is a comprehensive list at the bottom of this post.3525FFD0-95DC-4582-89C9-2A3E579F78BF Some of the sticker types I use are filler: rainbows, rainbow hearts, rainbow stars, pink hearts, yellow stars, yellow smiley faces, So So Happy encouragement stickers. They don’t really stand for anything, I just like the way they look, and they take up space and make everything more “filled out” looking. But for the bulk of my stickers, each one represents an action, a mood, something I want to regularly track. So rather than “make a plan” for the day or the week or the month, I actually use my planner as a visually recorded account of what I did/accomplished, and how I was feeling. Since I don’t want stickers for every action I take (poops, for example, which some people wish to track, but I do not) I try to focus my sticker collection on habits I want to encourage myself to keep doing / do more of: exercise, writing, reading, chores. I also want to track things like my period, if I was sick, my mood (I have cry-faces and happy faces and angry faces, etc.) and YES, I do actually write down upcoming appointments and To Do lists as well. Just not maybe to the extent that (actual) planning people do.

Some of my month spreads end up looking gorgeous and amazing. For Nanowrimo, for example, I used extra special stickers to track my daily word counts on rainbow typewriters. So my November month-view ended up extra gorgeous and hyper-focused. Winning! (On the sidebar, Doug’s homework word count, impressive!)

Glorious November spread

Another month that ended up looking gorgeous and amazing was my February spread, thanks to my awesome and amazing friend Karen, who bought a Valentine’s Day-themed sticker pack for me at Target. I held nothing back, as you can see. (Those little green guys are recyle days and paydays.)

Fabulous February spread

And then there’s the weekly view, which is the bread and butter of this industry. I love the way the Happy Planner breaks the week into seven days and the days into thirds. I use them for 1) before work 2) at work 3) after work. There’s a weekly sidebar on the left that I use for To Do’s. And different planner companies will give you the option, or not, to start your week on Sunday or Monday. Some people want the work week sandwiched by the weekend on either side, like bookends. I’m not about that life. The reason the weekend is beautiful is because it’s two days together, and hopefully, two days off together.

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I hope you enjoyed my sticker book, I mean “planner.” It must be a planner, right? It has the word right there in the name… So some of the stickers featured here I bought at the Container Store (these and these). But most of the stickers featured here were made by etsy artists:

Happy Cutie Studio UK
Planner Frenzy New Hampshire
Anna’s Planner Bubble Poland
Planner Studio California
iArtisans Canada
Plan Gorgeously California
Tiny Little Tulip Arkansas
Brianna Nicole Designz Wisconsin
Keena Prints Philippines
Domino 626 Virginia
Once More With Love Canada
S. G. Stationery Arizona
Hello Stickers Georgia
Ashwood Arts Texas

Posted in Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo 2017 in Review

So. How did your Nanowrimo turn out this year? Did it feel easier or harder than previous years? Did you develop any new habits that helped or hindered? Did you meet, fall short of, or exceed your expectations? My worst habit this year was waiting until the last minute to do a daily entry, making it hard to stay awake long enough to write even 100 words (which I’d set as a personal goal based on previous years’ experience). Hence my advice for my future self is: write your 100 words in the morning!

more mem
I won! I did “memoir” this year, so daily entries were sometimes deep reflections, sometimes vomit journaling.
words and such
Here’s what my chart looked like. I averaged slightly above the daily req. I started ahead for the first three days but lost my lead until the All Day Write-a-Thon on Sat 11/18. Then I stayed ahead ’til the end.
Here are all the badges. I couldn’t bear to not get the “wrote everyday” so I fudged a little. One day I counted a wordy Instagram post, and two days I counted Google searches. Desperation ftw! Below are some lifetime stats (left) and fun detalia (right).
I made this in Microsoft Excel. Isn’t it beautiful?

streaksIf you love tracking devices (I’m also addicted to the Wii Fit, yes, after all these years) you will absolute adore the way that Nano keeps all the information you give it and turns it into something truly magical.

So, now that Nano is over, we return to being lost in a sea of—no, wait! Did you know that Nanowrimo now offers GOAL TRACKERS and they’re available YEAR ROUND!?!?!?! That’s right. So get started on your next project, whatever it is, and keep using these great tracking tools for all your dreams come true (and for great justice). I’m going into editing mode for December so I set up a goal tracker based on hours instead of word count. I gave myself a goal of 0.5 hours/day. Wish me luck! Let’s do great things together, Writers!goaltrackersgoalzzz


Posted in Nanowrimo, Special Announcement

Nano Real Talk, Calendars, and Memes

Nanowrimo is a time of solemn peace and reflection… Hah! Just kidding. It’s chaotic, and nerve-wracking, and completely insane! I’ve written about preparing before (in 2016, 2015 here and here, 2014 here and here…) so this time I’m just going to say: do it. You’ll be glad and proud you did. It is 1,000% worth it.

Oh, and take it from me.

The thing I wish I’d done differently was kept up more consistency with writing every single day. After a long night in class or at work, I often felt the idea of writing one or two thousand words would just be too tough. In retrospect I wish I had told myself it would be okay to write just 500 words… Maybe even just 100 words on those days.


My proudest achievement this year was writing every single day, even if it was just 100-200 words on my phone. In previous years I allowed myself skip days and that really put the pressure on. But I found this year that I was motivated by the idea of checking in every single day for that badge at the end with 30 check-ins!

Here are the calendars I made for you:

Nanowrimo Old-Timey 2017

Nanowrimo Rainbow Cuteness Overload 2017

Here is a totally kickass thing I borrowed from a totally kickass blog NOW NOVEL so go to it and check out the awesome right now!!!


And last but definitely not least, I found this:


Which inspired me to create these: (i love you. you’re welcome.)

Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Step by Step Writing Class with Jobe: Reflection!

What a fantastic night with a fantastic group of people. Sci-Fi George, Romance Kim, and Poet Karen joined yours truly, Memoir Jobe! The conversation generated was so insightful and helpful, the writing written was so sparked and energetic and inspired! This was the most fun I’ve had in a minute.

I opened with introductions, as I always do, and then started with a super lame prompt because I was nervous and couldn’t find my notes. “I remember” was the awkward jump prompt in, but it went to great places from there. I told a little bit about Intention Inspired (I’ll do a blog post about just this later, but check it out, it’s cool). We discussed our strengths and weaknesses as writers. As always I had to also mention Nanowrimo.

From Writer’s Digest we took “Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for” and opened it up to any combination of personality/appearance of person you love/hate.

For future use: I loved the idea from Write to Done of the 7x7x7 exercise. I made sure to mention Writing Exercises from the UK, which has a TON of prompts. And Karen told us about a random generator, Watchout 4 Snakes. I forgot to mention Poets & Writers.

In a similar spirit as The Write Practice, we used random words and phrases I collected from spam emails to generate lists of options.

We started with sprints, just some really short timed writings to get us going:
Computers can beat humans at chess
my collection of photos & posters from   Israel.
Amorphous Distribution Transformer Core

I was so inspired by how open and positive the group was I felt we had to do writing exercises based on each person’s favorite genre! I daresay there were some unexpected and impressive results!

SCI FI prompts
prestressed spiral rib
for the widening of
is intended for
feel a little uneasy about
Here please find
for railway sleeper , electric

ROMANCE prompts
at war, with
More than 15 years
Family Promise
you know that we’ve saved you
View an example of a Premium listing
ice cream machine.

POETRY prompts
Afternoon of Magic
we have two types
reaching the people with
dots mosaic bathroom
The payment after satisfaction
pumps and parts

I ended with some creative non-fiction (my genre) prompts, which are less common online than you might think. My favorite is David RM, who has a number of different kinds of non-fic/prose prompts. We started with a light subject, “Opinion Prompt – Do convenience items better our daily lives or shortchange our life experience?” Then we continued to a heavy subject, “Opinion Prompt – Do you think that people have the right to decide when to end their life?” I mentioned And Then I Came Back, which I can’t wait to read after hearing Estelle Laura speak at LitFest.

We end on a personal and emotional prompt, and I was was so impressed by everyone there being so authentic:

“Write about an event or time that you made a deliberate change for yourself. Write about what motivated you to make the change, and how you think that change has affected your life.”

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I was so blessed by these passionate, open-spirited writers. ❤


Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Small Favor by Jim Butcher

Small Favor by Jim Butcher, book 10 in the Harry Dresden Files series (Butcher says it’s “just a small favor” that is being asked, but I think it’s small because Ivy is a kid. Get it? Small?)

Okay, one of the things that I truly, madly, deeply (sorry not sorry) love about Butcher’s book-writing style is that he includes a lot of information and summary to mull over between now and the next book AFTER the pinnacle of action that the story surrounds. In writing classes in college, we were often told to end the story sooner than we thought we should (sooner than we had in the first drafts). I guess the sentiment is that most people overwrite the ending instead of just letting it be…enough. But sometimes that really irks me, because sometimes the ending isn’t enough, and the readers deserve more, doggone it!!! Okay, that’s my soapbox. Just wanted to say I think Butcher does a superior job of Resolution that actually resolves stuff!

Remember this one, yall
Remember this one, y’all? Borrowed from materials.

Now on to the actual story content. This volume features Ivy, aka The Archive, who is one of my favorite characters. The archetype of the lovable, weird genius girl kid is pretty common, but that doesn’t mean it can’t continue to be done well (Claudia from Interview with a Vampire, River from Firefly/Serenity, Tiny Tina from Borderlands, to name a few). Other characters like Queen Mab of the Winter Court, mob boss gentleman Johnny Marcone, and Luccio captain of the wardens, are also in the book. But, yanno, aren’t my favorite. (Heh heh heh). The main enemies of the novel are the Denarians—otherwise known as Nickleheads, a super-powerful group of evil demon-human symbiotes—headed up by the terrifyingly powerful Nicodemus. And of course since the demons are there, so too are the demon hunters, Big Ole Heart-a-gold Daddy Carpenter and unexplainedly black Russia, Sanya. And all through this bunch are sprinkled some surprisingly scary goat monsters, too! Called Gruffs. Who knew. Is it weird to anybody else that we have no Gog to go with our Magog? Pondersome…


Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:

Half way through the year, can you believe it???



Posted in Jobe Update, Nanowrimo

Nano 2016 Review

So what was tough, what was awesome, what surprised you? My proudest achievement this year was writing every single day, even if it was just 100-200 words on my phone. In previous years I allowed myself skip days and that really put the pressure on. But I found this year that I was motivated by the idea of checking in every single day for that badge at the end with 30 check-ins! The most fun was the all-day write-a-thon at Moore Art Supplies and More. What a great environment, to be surrounded by fellow writers and a surfeit of snacks! Participating this year also helped me realize how much I really need and want a local group, so I’m determined to get that up and running soon.

Hope your nanowrimo was spectacular.