I make no apologies for my love for paper planners – Self-Designed, Passion Planner, Kikki K., Bullet Journal system – they all intrigue me. However, since we started planning our trip to Japan, I came across this brand while searching for A5 20-Hole Punch devices: Hobonichi.
While many friends who have gone to / are familiar with the land of stationery magic that is Japan knew about this brand, it wasn’t until I discovered it myself and the Tiger went, “I was wondering when you were going to find out about them,” that I got curious.
I’ve been combining scheduling mechanics with some basic bullet journal techniques for the last year.
The planner I was using worked well enough, but it was starting to get a little bulky, especially with the need to replace sheets or stick to weeklies in order to stay within the folder’s thickness. So after browsing the specifications of the Hobonichi Cousin, and being able to feel the paper and its heft for myself in that huge LoFT store in Shibuya, I was hooked.
One of the best things I found out about the Hobonichi was not only its versatility (yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily calendar pages), but also its large community. Some use the diary as it’s meant to be used, some use it as a travel journal, and some use it as a sketch book.
All of them got me motivated to join in the fun and do my own #Hobonichi365 on my Instagram.
So here’s me giving you a glimpse of how I’ve set up my Hobonichi Cousin for this year:
Yearly Index – Habit Tracking
I got this idea from @christie_ingram, which I am incredibly grateful for because I’ve been cracking my head on how to include habit trackers into the Hobonichi itself. So many thanks and do check out her other ideas on christieingram.com.
Monthly Calendar – Major Events, Holidays, and Dates
Weekly Calendar – Penciling and Bookings
There were already holidays included in the diary, albeit Japanese public holidays, so I took the opportunity to add our local holidays, including the events I’ve already been confirmed to be involved with. Likewise, I’m using the weekly calendar schedules as usual.
Daily Pages – Daily BuJo Fixings
Now comes the fun bit.
Taking my needs from my previous planner together, I’ve decided to track the following with my dailies:
And a few tweaks here and there.
So that is all! You can take a look at my daily pages on my Instagram, and I’ll be posting some updates here as well. I’m excited, and I hope all of you are too!
I have a confession to make – I think about writing more than actually doing the act itself. For the longest time, my worst habit was to write as little as I can get away with and hope for the best – only because I was not in the groove. Of course, this proved to be incredibly unsustainable if I wanted to produce work on a regular-enough basis so that there’s something to put out in the world.
This meant times where you had to buckle down – something I believe even the best of us have inertia against. Therefore, instead of forcing the words out after a few hours of staring at a blank screen, here are a few things I’ve been doing to keep at writing, or getting back into the groove, even on the dry days:
Read to reacquaint yourself with your love of the written word and turns of phrase.
Listen to good fiction podcasts for dialogue and descriptions.
Watch good films and TV serials for inspiration.
To paraphrase Stephen King, to not read is to not write. We can only discern what’s “good” or what speaks to us if we consume the media we like to create. In our current circumstances, good stories are not confined to the written medium, so look out for stories you can relate to or are interested in. Who knows? Maybe you’ll pick something up.
P/S – This is also useful in giving you some pointers on what to avoid as well.
HACK YOUR IDEA BANK
Remember those ideas you had over the course of the last few years? Did you manage to write them down? That’s your idea bank.
I find it really useful to keep my notebook / journal of previous story ideas in the event of days where story ideas don’t flow. Even if you don’t go with any of the ideas you’ve written down in the past, it’s also quite a great exercise to flex some creative muscles and see if they get triggered reading your past thoughts.
There are two main ways I do this – collaboration and / or working side-by-side with other creators, which gives you that slight pressure of keeping up with your end of the project.
The other way is what I call the Charsiew Space Tactic. A good friend of ours, Ben (a.k.a. the creator of the Charsiew Space universe), told this to one of our friends who kept asking, “How do you manage to put out so much stuff with a full time job?”
His answer was, “Apply for a booth at the next indie festival and ask your sourced printer about the last date you’ll have to send you files over or else you’ll have nothing to sell to make your booth costs back during the event.”
I’m not saying that this is one of the best ways to get yourself to work, but I’m not saying that it doesn’t work as well. (Shhh…)
FINISHED, NOT PERFECT
I feel this is probably the most important pointer I have both for other creators and with myself. Since I started participating in the National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) programme, I’ve learnt the value of having finished, instead of perfect work. We know of people who speak about wanting to put work out but never do in fear of criticism or that it’s not “perfect” enough.
A blank page is more difficult to edit than a “crappy” piece of work – and I feel that having this in mind while I finish the last, painstakingly-written line for the day makes my writing session feel more productive. I can always go back to a piece for more edits. I can’t really do much with a blank piece.
JUST WRITE ANYTHING
Fan fiction, short lines, dialogue, chapter plans, story plans, just so you can get your muscle memory of the act of writing back.
And you may be surprised with what you find during this period so why not?
So as I leave all of you with this post, I hope these pointers helped in some way. I am, no doubt, still on this journey. So I’d also like to hear from all of you – what else would you recommend to boost your creative motivation? Leave it in the comments =).