Here we are, half way through 2022 and while I’m barreling forward at full speed, there are some things that need to slow down. Namely, I need to give myself some space to think about a big project, and I’m going to use One Book July 2022 to do just that.

a new notebook and tarot card stickers with the text "One Book July 2022: A Book Series Brain Dump"

I’ve been following One Book July for years, and I’ve even tried to participate before. But here’s the thing:

I don’t like to mess with a planning system that’s working. And right now, my planning system is working.

But then it occurred to me that I plan more than just my work days. As a writer, I plan a ton of online content, and the books I write.

I thought briefly about creating an online content planning system in one book, but then remembered I already did that with The Author Platform Planner.

But I have an old blank journal or two just waiting for me to do something with them. And that’s when it hit me.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about One Book July and what it is.

What is One Book July?

One Book July is a yearly event in the online planning community. It’s all about simplifying your planning process by picking one planning system in the form of one book, and using that for the duration of the month of July. Then, when you’re done, you can see all the pros and cons of using that.

Now, one book is subjective. That could be one blank notebook that you turn into a bullet journal. It could be one traveler’s notebook full of various inserts. It could be trying out a brand new planning system for the month. You get to pick.

And you don’t necessarily have to focus on your life planning. You could use One Book July as an opportunity to try some new kind of project planning, or even journaling.

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Basically, whatever system you want to tweak, you can make One Book July work for you.

My Plan for One Book July 2022

For me, One Book July 2022 is all about a project I’m working on. My daily planning system is pretty set, and there’s no part of the Hobonichi Weeks I want to tweak, beyond trying new drawn-in layouts on occasion.

I’ve mentioned this in a few places, but I’m currently working on a book series based on the major arcana of the tarot. The first novel in the series is finished, and I’m in the process of outlining the next two while also getting the story world set up.

There’s a lot to juggle with this one, since it will be 22 books. (Who knows if it will ever be finished? Right now, it low key feels like this is the sort of project that will kill me. In a good way.)

I’m currently building an Airtable database to keep characters, places, and plot elements straight for the course of the series. It’s a great way to see what story puzzle pieces go where, and what I have left to add.

However, building databases uses a part of my brain that isn’t particularly story-focused. I can put the pieces where they go, but there’s no falling into the world in my head and playing in that imaginary sandbox.

So, I thought I could use One Book July 2022 as an opportunity to build a writer’s journal just for this series. If you’d like to see what this looks like, check out the video below.

My Hopes for One Book July 2022

Will this little project be worth the time and effort? Will I regret using up a very nice notebook for this? Will I even be able to read the notes I scribble in here? (Seriously, my handwriting is BAD.) Who even knows? Only time will tell.

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So, before the project begins, here’s what I’m hoping to get out of One Book July.

001: Story clarity.

Writing one novel is hard enough, but a whole-ass series takes a lot. Even though I know what each book will be about, simply because each book is based on a tarot card, I need to know a little more about how that plot affects the setting and the characters.

And then, I need to consider how each story affects the series overall.

There’s a lot of moving pieces, and I do like that the database keeps them organized. But I need some time to play with the stories to see if all the moving pieces make sense in the context of the world I’m trying to create.

Also, I need some space to brainstorm ideas for my fiction town because I found out there was already a series with this fictional town name.

002: Clearer details.

I have a hand-drawn map of the town, and it’s not super helpful. I mean, I know where places are in relation to one another, but I need some space to think about these places look like on the inside and how they smell and their vibe and all that good stuff.

I will eventually end up recording that in the database, but I can’t do the brainstorming in the database. Instead, I need a notebook where I sketch out and list as many details as I want.

003: A series arc.

This is the part that I’m currently struggling with the most. As I mentioned in this post about how to outline your novel with tarot cards, there’s a natural plot arc with the major arcana. But what does that mean in the context of my story world?

I have a vague idea of what this is, but I need some room to think about what it would look like in the story and how the major arcana arc would play out in the context of the world I’m building. I feel like this will be one of the easier things to brainstorm. I just need some space to record it and keep it all clear.

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004: Stronger characters.

No matter how much I outline or plan, characters generally don’t become fully-developed until I’m writing the actual book. But I like to plan as much as possible so I have some stuff to work with. I’ll be using this notebook for defining my characters and giving them tags and traits, but also figuring out more about them so I can really hit the ground running when I’m writing.

I’m not sure what this will look like in practice, but I’m excited to mess up a notebook in the name of better characters.

005: A magic system.

So, this series features a coven and the spirit they work with. I need to know more about how that came to be and why. In the first book, this is all introduced, but I don’t do much with it. (I mean, the first book introduces A LOT.) However, moving forward, I need to know more about how this all works.

What can I say? I’m a write first, ask questions later sort of girl. So, I wrote a bit already. Now it’s time to ask some questions.

Are You Participating in One Book July 2022?

Are you going to try One Book July 2022? What kind of project will you try? Have you ever created a writer’s journal for a 22 book series, or am I a crazy person? Are you excited to try a new planning system?

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