Handwriting

My First NaNoWriMo Experience

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November has come to a close which means my first experience with NaNoWriMo has come to an end. I am not a NaNoWriMo winner, I fell a long way short of the desired 50,000 words coming in at 30,572 words, a far cry from the target.

A post about NaNoWriMo isn't the normal sort of post for The Finer Point but during this challenge I used a lot of analogue tools and planned using a trusty Bullet Journal. In today’s post I will share this process and some of my discoveries with you.

My very simple NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal.

I am not a fly by the seat of my pants writer, nor was I a huge planner outlining all aspects of my story. I fell somewhere in between but in order to have some idea of where I was going and what I needed to do I created a very lose Bullet Journal to plan and track my word count.

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The most useful spread was the calendar. This was a simple hand drawn calendar where I planned out what I was writing on which day. This planning was important to kick off NaNoWriMo and forced me to consider the more complicated or time consuming sections of my story and tackle these on the days where I had sufficient time. At the end of each day I added my final word count in for that day. This was useful to see how I had done each day but also proved useful in figuring out if I hadn't written enough for a section. As the month went on I didn’t plan out too much on this page, it became more of a record keeping spread.

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My NaNo Bullet Journal included a chart showing my word count target by day that I copied from Boho Berry. This was useful but became a bit depressing the more I fell behind. I continued to use this as a tracking tool but spreads such as this could become a little de-motivating during the month.

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Other pages I had in the Bullet Journal were not referenced very often but they were important in helping me keep consistency. I had plot and character outlines and lists to make sure I didn't forget anything and also knew the links between characters. The rest of the Bullet Journal was used as a brain dump to keep anything related to my story all in one notebook.

The actual writing.

I wrote the whole thing by hand. I wasn't expecting to do this at all but I actually quite enjoyed it. I had plans of using a mixture of analogue and digital tools and thought my hand could ache from too much writing. Far from it.

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I went through all three of my Baron Fig School Set notebooks. These were perfect as they had lined ruling, my personal favourite, and I could use a wide range of tools on the paper. I polished off my Insightful Spectre Squire refill during the month, worked my way through the School Set Archer pencils from Baron Fig and refilled several fountain pens on numerous occasions. I am not sure I have used any of my supplies that quickly before. It was great fun.

Overall thoughts.

I have really liked taking part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote far more than I ever expected to and at times whilst I struggled to figure out where I was going with my story, I found a way. I was a long way off the desired 50,000 word target but I am not sure that's the real purpose of this challenge. I found time most days to write, to get this story that has floated around in my head for years, down on paper, by hand.

Time away from my digital tools to create something with pen and paper is really quite liberating. The one change I will make for next year, if I have a story to write, is to drink more. I am sure this would improve the quality of my writing.

Now it's time to edit...

New Things for 2016

For 2016 I decided to make a small, humble lists of things I want try, and in some cases develop, throughout the year. These aren't resolutions as I think that word just sets you up for failure. These are a list of things I want to do to develop and make my use of stationery more enjoyable.   

Incorporating a daily photo into my journaling 

My 2016 Hobonichi Techo

My 2016 Hobonichi Techo

One of my aims for the year is to take a photo every day. I have tried to do this in the past, a photo a day, or a photo at a specific time every day but I have always failed.

This year however by including the photo in my Hobonichi journaling I have been more aware of what I have done through the day and what photo depicts that day well. Because it is linked to my journaling I have found that I am sticking to it and conscious that I actually want to have that photo in my Hobonichi. In months to come I should be able to flick through my Hobonichi and see photographic reminders of what I have done.  

I have been saving a photo sized space in my Hobonichi Techo with an old photo being used as a handy spacer. At the end of every month I will print the photos I have taken each day from an online resource and then stick or washi these in. I have allocated a 'to print' folder in my Photos app on my phone which has a collection of the photos I have taken so far. At some point I will look at investing in an instant photo printer, but only if I stick to this new ritual.  

Learn to use watercolours

My small Winsor and Newton watercolour set

My small Winsor and Newton watercolour set

I am going to try and play around with watercolour paints this year. I definitely won't become an artist or landscape painter, but I would like to try and add some watercolours into my journaling and specifically into my Travelers Notebook. I have seen a few Instagrammers that do this and it looks great and is something I have wanted to try for some time. I have a Winsor and Newton small watercolour set that I picked up after Christmas that includes some basic colours to get me started.  

Instagram for nerdiness

This year I have set up a Instagram account for my blog and I will be posting all my stationery nerdiness there. I wanted to have a dedicated account where I could post photos of how I use my stationery and follow likeminded people. 

Play around with calligraphy 

I want to try and improve my handwriting this year. I like writing in cursive and I have tried using a dip pen a few times. I was inspired to try my hand at calligraphy when watching the Ink - written by hand video made by Ryan Couldrey (if you haven't watched this video, do it now. It's great!). I am a real novice by I love trying things out with the dip pen. I have done some lettering for a family member and really enjoyed it, so this year I want to improve and learn some more. 

Use more of the ink I own

A selection of my inks

A selection of my inks

I don't rotate my inks very well and therefore don't use the small collection that I own. So this year I want to ensure that I use more of what I own and re-ink my fountain pens regularly. This also ties in with the plan to practice calligraphy as I can use different colours with my dip pen. 

Do you have any stationery goals for 2016? If so I would love to hear about them. I will endeavour to post updates here that relate to my goals for this year, that way you can all keep track of my progress.  

CursiveLogic - Interview at Pens! Paper! Pencils!

I thought I would share Ian's interview with the creator of CursiveLogic, Linda Shrewsbury. The rationale behind the project and the individuality of handwriting is something that will resonate with any pen enthusiast. 

I want to help a lot of people retain the simple dignity of a signature. I know and value the handwriting of every immediate family member. I cherish letters from grandparents who died long ago. Beyond the many strong arguments for cursive, the one that stirs me deeply is the idea that handwriting captures individuality and can preserve it for generations to come. A tradition so powerful is worth preserving!

To see the full interview head over to Pens! Paper! Pencils!