How I Use My Traveler's Notebook and Hobonichi As A Writer

Published by Darron Toy on

everybody Sarah here from heart breathing's and I am here to show you how I use my travelers notebook and my hobo Nietzsche as a writer here's going to be just a basic overview this is my chic Sparrow it is a leather travelers notebook and an a5 size this is the mr. Darcy but you can get lots of different travelers notebooks there are ones that are made of cloth and stuff if you don't like leather and there are ones that are made of leather I think this one costs a little over a hundred dollars and I absolutely love it I also was able to get it monogrammed here or stamped with the word believe' which is also your on my tattoo it's just one of my favorite things and I'm going to show you real quick how I use it as a writer so just a simple explanation of my setup is I have a few things here that I use all the time I've got a stencil here that I use with my hope and Ichi this is actually one of their hope and Ichi stencils so I use that a lot it just slides right in there and I also have some other stencils that I use I just got these off Amazon and I can link them down below but they have a lot of great icons here like I use this yoga one a lot and exercise one a little coffee cup some weather icons stuff like that and then I also have like text boxes some checklists this one's kind of cool because it has some of the social media icons there which are nice for when you're doing like a bullet journal or hobo Nietzsche some other like flags and things and then this one is probably the one I use the most I don't I use the checkboxes often but I also use like the little camera the video for recording so it has also some of the social media icons but they're smaller and I use like the little pencil and the computer monitor the TV the podcast for when I'm recording stuff so this one I use a lot and I got this this was something I got from Michaels and it was in another like stencil pack so I just keep those sort of tucked in this little pocket here I have some extra washi tape just like stuck on to an old like still one of those store loyalty cards just for on-the-go and I have a clear Kate Spade ruler that I use all the time as well to keep my lines straight and just some little stickers and stuff so that's basically my main tools I also keep in the pen loop here a Eunice style fit multi pin which I like to have the multi pin because you can have five different colors so if you want a color code anything you can just use one pen instead of having to carry several so here's my basic set up if you're not familiar with the travelers notebook it's a notebook of notebooks so to speak it's kind of something that you can put multiple notebooks inside up and they have lots of different sizes so that's a whole nother rabbit hole you could go down if you are not familiar with traveler's notebooks but basically I have the a5 size which is basically like half size of a sheet of paper and I have purchased notebooks and there are these elastic bands that come pre built into the travelers notebook that you just open your notebook in the middle and slide them into so you can see the bandhas here in the middle I made some dash boards and things like that if you're interested in seeing how I made these I would be happy to do another video but for now I'm just going to talk about how I use it productivity level so I have four different notebooks in the four elastics here and the first one is one I actually just added new notebooks so these are not super full because my last ones were completely full but this one is one where I plan to take notes on plot ideas as they come to me I'm already through plotting a book so until I need to use it again I probably won't use this particular notebook until I'm ready to plot but I keep one in here always for plotting and then on my dashboards I have some little sticky notes that help also so in my second notebook this is just my brainstorming notes so this is different from plotting this is sort of more of a brain dump where I keep like notes on pin names if I ever wanted to use pen-name I really really want to use pen named someday to write mysteries because I don't think that it would really go under my same Sara Canon name because it's just a little bit different audience I think so I kind of brainstormed some of that different to do different thoughts about different series potential genres that I might want to write I've been thinking about doing a web serial and so there's you know ideas for potential genres so any time I think of something that I want to keep for later I put it in the second notebook then my third notebook here is more for like scheduling so I've been doing something called a miracle morning you can find the book on Amazon or I can link it below by how elrod and it's about getting up basically an hour early and doing exercise journaling affirmations visualization reading and meditation I do my meditation after I shower in the mornings but I've been getting up to do this and it's actually helping a lot with my productivity but I keep my little schedule in here then I have sort of brainstormed what my ideal weekly schedule is in terms of social media and how much I want to write and how many days so I keep that as a reference as well so those kind of scheduling notes are in that notebook then I have another notebook here that is specifically for my new heart breathing's blog and it has you know blog post idea notes has YouTube idea notes for videos I want to record just general notes on how I want to run the blog I've done some interviews with people that I think might be interested in the blog to see what they want out of it what kind of things they'd like for me to cover so I keep all those notes in this one place when I was looking for music for my intro I kept notes of that kind of stuff all in here so these are kind of really all for sort of brain no brain dump notes and ideas notebooks then tucked in this back pocket here instead of using the elastic I have the hope of Nietzsche techo cousin which is the a5 size of the hobo Nietzsche and then I have a pencil board here that helps you can put it behind the page so that you can use it to write on it kind of gives you that like back page to write on okay so I keep it tucked in back here but this if you're not familiar with it is a Japanese planner and one of the reasons that I switched from the Erin Condren planner and I was also using the happy planner for a while is because this planner is one of the only ones I've ever found that actually has like a yearly view monthly view a weekly view and a daily view it's got all of that stuff like most calendars they've got maybe like a monthly and then a weekly but there's no daily page and I find when I'm organizing my business and my writing I like to keep track of my daily word count my daily to-do list and I really liked using a bullet journal so this kind of gives me best of both worlds scenario where I kind of get the feel of a bullet journal with the daily page but I also get the feel of a structured planner because I felt like with the bullet journal I was constantly drawing things in that took forever and I loved it and it's beautiful but it just took too much time so this really works for me and it does have a year at a glance for last year and next year then it has this index where you've got really it's supposed to be used as an index and you can kind of see here on these like the second half of the year where I haven't marked anything yet this is what it looks like and and it has the months here at the top so like 7 July August September and so on and then it has the days written here with a little block down at the bottom and I was trying to think how best could I use this because I don't really need an index to be able to like turn to this page and find you know certain notes or some kind of information so I decided to use this as a yearly word count tracker and a habit tracker so what I did was I left enough spaces here at the beginning blocks for 5 spaces which on my best day I can get a five-figure word count my average is more like maybe a thousand to 2,000 words a day unless I'm like going crazy but anyway regardless of that I leave 5 spaces because I do have sometimes days where I get 10,000 words or more so I get 5 spaces here then I blocked off like I just took my ruler and made a black line for this on either side of this one block and then I colored it in with a mild liner zebra mild liner highlighter and then I also marked off the weeks so each one of these blocks is a seven-day week and you can see this some you know some of the months it doesn't work out exactly like a week but what I do and you can see this hopefully pretty well with January is I put my main goals up here I have three my three main goals like to do this month go right up here then in the middle I've written weekly total for my weekly word count and then over here I've got four things that I'm going to be tracking so I've just decided at the beginning of each month what I want to track and January February I've been tracking the same thing so DBT see is don't break the chain that's a challenge I've got going on in a writers group that I run called whirlwind of words where we mostly sprint but it's basically like write at least a hundred words every day edit a full page or do like 30 minutes of outlining so don't break the chain do at least one of those three things every single day either edits outlining or words so that you're getting some progress on your book every day then bright lines for me is a more personal thing to track because I do a system of of eating called bright line eating where I don't eat any flour or sugar and I only eat three times a day no snacking so if I followed my bright lines then I get to mark it off professional development is over here which for me is like courses that I'm taking books that I'm reading on business or how to write that sort of thing and blog work because I've been working to launch my heart breathing's website and this is actually launch week so if you're watching I really appreciate it and thank you for the support hopefully you'll get a lot out of these videos and if there's anything that you'd like to see covered about my planner or how to self-publish please go ahead and comment below let me know what it is you'd like to hear more about like if you like the planning videos I'm just kind of getting a feel for what people are going to want to see so feel free to comment and let me know like if you want to see more of this if you want to see like color coding or planning plotting ideas I'll be happy to cover it so if I worked on my blog that day I get to mark it off and as you can see for January I had like editing days outlining outlining and then I wrote 14,000 words this day so in the blue highlighted space because I counted up all the original words I wrote that week I got to write 14,000 761 then I keep my word track word count tracked for the week and then in the blue space I add up the total for that week down here at the bottom I also wanted to just do a couple of little things kind of as a memory keeper I guess you could say so this is more like beyond the darkness released this month and I also had planned on doing heart breathing's launched last month but since I got behind on my book if that didn't happen so I moved it over here I also turned 41 cuz it's my birthday in January so I just kind of I'm gonna fill these in with like little things I want to remember but anyway so these are the way that I'm planning to use this index page which is kind of like a yearly overview I'm gonna track my word count and have a monthly habit tracker to see what I've gotten done for the month and then kind of celebrate the milestones and wins so that's the index then this is just your typical monthly calendar and I feel like I haven't totally used the monthly calendar very much so I may kind of play around with how I want to use this better but I actually haven't been back to reference this page very often so I'm not sure if I can try to find a way to use it a little bit better okay so then it has also a weekly view and for a while when I first started using it I was trying to you can see like it's changed drastically from week to week how much I used it but I found that I was trying to be so specific on how to use it according to the hours because it has the hours here from 5:00 a.m. until midnight and I just was trying to figure out how best to use it but it was just not something I was utilizing until I went on Pinterest and saw some ways that other people are using it it was like oh yes this is totally how I want to do it so I actually I have a cricket which is if you're not familiar with that it's like a crafting tool that cuts out vinyl and it can cut out stickers so I went on Etsy I bought some Ikon stickers in different colors and then I made my icons and then I made my own stickers from those icons so like the little pig the email a notebook meal planning little tags almost all of these stickers I made myself because these are the ones I knew I would use like a pencil for when I'm writing a little notebook for when I'm outlining a envelope for when I'm sending out an email or checking my email I've got a little camera here I'm not sure you can see that super well so I'll bring it up maybe a little bit but it's got a little camera here for like when I'm taking my photos for Instagram a laptop for when I'm working on my website for I'm working on heart breathing's so I found that this actually I've been doing this for the last couple weeks and it's really working for me because those icons are a good kind of draws my eye and got okay I'm writing here I'm doing this at this time you can also see it's like I've covered every inch of the space and I've just found that I like being able to leave myself notes rather than necessarily following every single hour I'm leaving myself notes on like okay Andrew time we should go to the beach of the weather is nice play at home if it's too cold so I write out more than just saying Andrew on a list you know Andrews my son so it's it's kind of turned into like a giant to-do list a journal and my top goals and stuff all in one place then I'm putting these weather icons up at the top so these are the last couple of weeks this is this week obviously it's Valentine's when I'm recording this so I've got hearts and red and pink all over the page but I've got my basic schedule in here as well like I've got a mom visit at Andrews school I've got a meeting on Thursday I had a meeting today at 1:00 so I've got my meetings and stuff and I try to keep them popping out with these different stickers but I also have my to-do list like I want to record a video this day I've got my meal plan written on here I've got like I'm gonna upload my intro video on Sunday I've got writing times and stuff like that so it's it's a mix of my to-do list and my actual like journaling and time like scheduled things so now we move on to the daily pages and you know when you really start looking at the daily like I use them a lot for word count like Sprint's that I run like 15 20 minutes prints they'll be all marked in here also at the beginning of the month they have this page that's like remember this and it's kind of I think can be like a to-do list or memory keeping thing for the month however you wanted to use it well every 90 days I have three main goals and I have every 30 days sort of milestones that I want to hit for that that 30-day is to hit my 90-day goal so I don't know if that makes sense or but I'm talking in circles there but I write out at the beginning of each month for goal number one here's the milestones I need to hit for goal number two here's the things I need to get done so these are like my high level goals and projects that I need to be working on and I can flip back and reference this at any time when I'm trying to plan for my week and what I found this also really helping me is at the beginning of the week so this is Sunday every Sunday I sit down to plan and I write out my week ahead and then I write out the main things that need to get done in each category so heart breathing's is my blog and I have a little list of things that I want to get done sacrifice me as my work in progress so I write down what I want to get done my marketing plan paperbacks and then I write down the meetings that I have for the month or for the week down here at the bottom so I don't forget them this is what I do first then I go back and I plan that weekly page because I want to make sure I know all of my tasks and goals that I want to accomplish then I go back and fill in my weekly then every day I sit down and I actually I do it like the night before so it is currently Monday the 12th that I'm recording this and the 13th tomorrow I will what I'll do tonight when I finish recording this is Olga sit down at the couch probably watch some Olympics and I will fill out my goals for tomorrow I find it so much more productive to fill out my goals the night before rather than getting up in the morning because then I tend to like drag my feet I don't really want to do this I don't want to work on that project whatever so I always do it the night before and what I do is I mark out kind of my like to do's and then I write out my priorities and this is where I use those if you can see those icons they're like the yoga icon a book the face book the monitor the video recording this is where I use that now right my schedule down here on the left side where I can say okay I'm going to do writing from this time I've got a meeting here so this is the schedule part then I get this is kind of where it becomes more like a bullet journal in a way and you could make this as artistic as you want or as simple as you want I tend to keep mine pretty simple I really like this set up and so I write out like here's my priorities for heart breathing's I'm gonna record this video for example or like I've got a record how I use my hobo Nietzsche as a writer and when I finish that I can check it off marketing plan and so on I also wanted to just mention that I bought some tabs off of Amazon because these are not actually tabbed they do have like a color block here so that when you look on the side you can kind of see it but what I did to make it stand out more as I put a strip of washi on the first day of every month so that when you look at it you can tell what are the months and then I also bought these tabs on Amazon that stick on so I can be like oh there's February March and I can reference them very quickly unfortunately the ones that I put on the washi tape or sticking really well but I had some here to mark the like months and stuff and those just keep coming off so I'm gonna just throw that out and maybe I'll put some washi strips and redo those but that is basically how I am using my hobo Nietzsche to help manage my writing tasks and to help balance writing and family and business and I really hope that this helps and again if you would if you enjoyed this please subscribe and hit that notification button so that you get notified every time I've got a video this week I do have a video going up every single day to launch the channel and I sincerely appreciate your support and head over to the blog sometime at heart breathing's calm and see what I have to say there I'm going to have a lot of tips and tricks on how to self publish but also motivation and inspiration on how to finally get that book finished get out into the world and make your dreams come true because I want to help you learn to make money writing what you love be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you plan and what types of videos you'd like to see from me in the future regarding self publishing writing tips or how to use your planner to manage your writing career alright guys thank you so much I appreciate it bye


PlanningAsAnArt ! · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I was trying to purchase the same hobonichi planner and your link is to a trace children’s book…

Alice Gregerson · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I am an undisciplined writer, I would love to see more video's on managing your time and becoming more productive in writing. I am new to this channel and sorry it's taken me so long to find this channel. I am also new to TN's and love the idea of managing my writing and time in them.

I love this channel and plan on spending more time here.
A. Gregerson

Diane DeMasi · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Hi Sarra, great videos. I'm curious where you got the clear plastic notebook covers for the four separate notebooks. Would you mind linking to those as well?

Williams Martinez · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

This was a good watch, and good for those who are result-driven. Your journal is quite tedious, I like it! Thank you for sharing this with us.

PandoraoftheGods · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Your notebooks are so cute! Where did you buy them, if you don't mind me asking?

Raquel Lopez · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I loved your video. It was incredibly helpful, the way you plan is very cohesive and the travelers notebook is much more inclusive than an actual agenda and similar to bujo. Do you cover the A5 notebooks yourself of did you buy them like that.

M. Reese · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

This was really great! I would love to "see" details. I think you should create your own Heart breathing or planner package with stickers and all. That's SO organized!
Oh, and 5-figure word count in a day??!!!! Incredible!

Zo Ramey · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I totally loved this. Thank you for the tips!!!

Heather Sutherlin · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I love the way you track your word count! Thanks for sharing your planner with us!

Suneeta Mithani · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

love both your channels! can you please do a detailed "how to write" kinda series, which covers all aspects of writing a book.. from brainstorming to plotting to character profiles to first drafts and edits etc… would love to see them! and cant wait for you to launch your writing course!

CDGMR1 · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I have began 3 books and published none. I get stuck at 90% when everything is all over the place and instead of editing I just start a new book. How do I self publish?

Poetspice Biblio Scribe · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

This was interesting.
I’ve been trying to see wats others plan their writing.

TheTinyCanary · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

SUCH a beautiful notebook! I wish I wouldve picked up an ink!

Tracie Carver · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Love your channel, and your video was very helpful I hope you do more ☺

KLL · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

So glad I found this video today! I'd stopped using my Cousin Avec for planning because half of it was going to waste (daily pages). This has really helped me figure out how to use the Cousin for realistic long and short term goal setting and planning. Now I'm off to see how you use your Happy Planner — I've turned mine into a basic discbound for chapter plotting and character creation.

sn0wflake · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Thanks for this! I was watching other TN videos about planners until I finally realized I should search for someone using it as a writer, like me. And this was just as helpful as I had hoped. Lots of good ideas and food for thought!

foxclouds · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Hi there! Happy to find another self-published author on YT! 🙂 Will be checking more of your videos. I’m trying to organize my writing journal and I’m glad I came across your channel.

MsChicoro · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I found your videos by typing in the phrase "Goal, Motivation and Conflict". Something of which I was not aware just 2 weeks ago. I like how you give resources and references.

MsChicoro · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Years ago, I used to use a Ziggy Planner that had a similar layout. Those no longer exist. Until your video, I'd never heard of the Hobonichi Techno Cousin planner. It is EXACTLY what I like in a planner: annual, monthly, weekly and daily view. Thank you for sharing! Because of you, I am going to buy one for 2019. I've placed it in my current planner. Also because of you, I realized I was using my Weekly Planner Sheet as a to list where I was putting things on that came up for the week. I didn't realize I was doing this. Now, I am going to use my Weekly Planner to actually PLAN before the week starts.

MsChicoro · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

How do you make those icons? What is the tool you used? And what do I need to order from Etsy? It's beautiful, your notebook, but I am not familiar with icons and creating stickers. Would love to see a video on that.

nordicpapermouse · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Such a useful video pack with goodies, thank you! 💜🐼

Christy Johnson · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I've been wanting to see a writer using a TN and there you go. Love this and I love chic sparrow too. I have an a6 for my EDC and an A5 for my books

Chau Matser · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Thank you so much for sharing there is very little about planning and writing.

A. Wilkins · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

What size is your TN?

Anastasia Rath Art · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

This is all so amazing!! I’m so glad I found your channel (and blog!). I will be proud to know I’ve been with you since the beginning with this channel because your videos are just packed with great information and I know you will go far ♥️

Vale Planwithmama · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Thank you for sharing this video, I really love it. It is very usefull

B P · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Hi Sarra! I am just getting around to commenting on your videos. I have such planner envy now, lol. My notes are in separate and varied spiral notebooks. This organization makes so much sense. Sanity-saver! Thanks 🙂

Jacki Kelly · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I love your videos. Very helpful. If you can do one on a series bible, that would be helpful. I've tried and excell spreadsheet, but it's not convenient to use.

Bella Roccaforte · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I aspire to being this organized, it's happening! Seeing HOW to use a planner has been a game changer for me. It is really not as intuitive as I thought, which is why now I'm finally getting it.

AtHomeWithQuita · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

What a fantastic video!

Samantha Sessoms · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Your entire launch has been so wonderful, Sarra! 🎉 I’ve printed out both downloads, and will be filling out the journal prompts today. Currently, I’m using a Passion Planner and I’ve found some planner peace for now (I too love the concept of bullet journaling, though the sitting down to draw it all was stressing me out 😉). Your TN is gorgeous, btw, and it’s great to see how other writers set everything up. On that note, I’d love to see the color-coded plotting method you mentioned, and any other writing-craft tips! I’m already enjoying the mix of writerly subjects you’ve covered so far.

Heart Breathings · May 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

Do you want to see more planning and organization videos? I can't wait to show you guys how I use an old Happy Planner for my plot notes, how I color-coordinate multiple-povs, and how I track my daily word counts. Do you use a paper planning system? Or are you all digital? Let me know in the comments!

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