I must be some special kind of crazy. This month, as many of you know, is nanowrimo month, or National Novel Writing Month. It’s pretty self explanatory, but the basic idea is, if you decide to participate, you try to write 1,667 words everyday so that at the end of the month you have a fifty thousand word novel.
So considering I haven't written more than a couple thousand words of fiction in the past entire year (I know I know!!! I bring procrastination to a new level) this commitment was quite the undertaking.
On top of that, I have a Spanish interpreter certification test that I have paid a couple hundred bucks for that is the first week of December. I need to be practicing my Spanish everyday for that to not be a waste of money.
And then on top of that, we’re moving this month. I have one month to travel to a city three hours away, find an apartment, pack and move by the end of November.
So thats three big commitments in a small amount of time. So far so good, but then again, we’re only nine days in.
A few people have asked how I’ve been using my bullet journal to stay on top of nanowrimo. In fact, it’s because I have so many big commitments this month that I am loving my bujo so much. It helps me stay on track with getting everything done everyday.
There are a plethora of blogs out there that explain what a bullet journal is, including the official bullet journal site maintained by the systems creator Ryder Carrol, so I won’t go into it in too much detail here. My favorite explanation is just to say it’s a planner, sketchbook and to do list all rolled into one. It’s highly customizable, and fulfills my desire for a creative outlet and a high level of productivity.
The main ways I’ve been using my bujo this month for nanowrimo is to track my word count using trackers from Kara of Boho Berry fame. She is a Planner and has a wonderful blog and video post about using a bullet journal to plan for nanowrimo. I'm more of a panther and so the bullet journal system has been useful to me so I can make make time for writing on top of everything else.
One of the majorly cool spreads I’ve created this month was my apartment search guide to help my hubster and I narrow down the search and then narrow down those options to the right place. I’ve moved a lot in the last slightly less than three decades and I’ve pretty much got it down to a science.
How to Find an Apartment in a New City
Start with the easy stuff. Decide how much can you afford to pay every month with and then without utilities included. Then think about what areas of the city you would like to live in and make a list of your top three or four neighborhoods. This is easiest if you are familiar with the area you are moving to. But if you’re not, like I usually am not, start with a couple quick google searches to get a feel for the place.
I also like to search for my desired city on city-data.com (remember these message boards are always people’s opinions and should be taken with a grain of salt) and searches on pintrest for great restaurants and things to do and what neighborhoods those things are in. You can also use the super handy crime heat map tool on trulia.com and steer clear of areas with a lot of red and orange, which are usually areas with a lot of rentals available too, go figure.
One of my other favorite hacks is to go to trulia.com and look at the buy tab and filter the prices to a range I think would be really pretty nice, but fairly attainable, like maybe $200,000 to $500,000 and see where those houses are clustered and then search the same area for rentals. You can sometimes find a really cute nice place with this method.
Once you’ve got your list of rentals to go visit it’s time to think about how to make yourself more desirable to a landlord. Get permission from your landlord and employer to be your references, as well as a few other professional contacts.
But getting an apartment isn’t just about making the landlord like you, you want to make sure they are a good match for you too. Here is a list of questions I like to use to make sure I’m getting into a good landlord/renter relationship that will work for me and my life:
-What changes are I allowed to make to the apartment (like paint and hanging on the walls) and get my deposit back?
-How do I submit requests for maintenance? How quickly can I expect a response?
-When are you allowed to enter my apartment? How much notice do you give? Some people like having their property manager deliver their amazon packages right to their kitchen counter. Personally, I’d rather they leave them on the doormat.
-What reasons might you give for not returning my deposit?
-Describe your ideal tenant.
-Whats the parking policy? This is huge if your looking at a place in the city and theres a limited number of spots. For example, are your neighbors allowed to let their friends park in your space when they come over to visit?
-What do utilities generally cost? You can always call the utilities company to get an estimate for the address you’re looking at, but if the landlord knows and is willing to tell you, then you saved yourself a phone call.
-Would you live here? This one is so important. If the landlord doesn’t want to live there, you probably don’t either.
Since I put so much work into this list and the spread in my bullet journal to go along with it, and I thought it came out pretty cool, I decided to spiff it up a bit and make it available to you lovely people as a downloadable printable. Cool right?
So this post wasn’t really about writing very much, but I’m getting back to basics with my next post and I want to know: are you doing nanowrimo this year? Are you a pantser or a planner? .
Download the apartment guide here. If you like it take a picture and tag me so I can see the awesomeness you are creating! I’m on instagram @emilywritesbooks and Facebook @Emily Vaughan, or you can just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy and don’t forget to #writeeveryday!!
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"Fiction gives the human soul a voice." - Helen Benedict
My thoughts on books, writing, inspiration, motivation and my incredible chosen proffession.