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We are a community of people who see the value of paper as a medium for planning, productivity, creative expression, and exploring ideas. We encourage visitors to share advice and inspiration, and we love to see submissions for templates, kit images and story articles. We are also the official home of the free D*I*Y Planner kits. Please enjoy your stay, and make yourself at home!

Create Word Art with Wordle

I was reading Neil Gaiman's blog today and came across this interesting link. Someone had taken some of his prose (the infamous "I Believe" passage from American Gods) and rendered it in Wordle.

It's a word-art site where you feed it passages of text and it spits it out in a mind map sort of visual-word poetry/art. You can create your own account, upload all sorts of interesting passages, see how the site creates renders of what you add and share it with others.

I'm making all sorts of word art with it to use as covers for my journals, greeting card covers and just fun background image art.

Forum Topic: Browsing planners: is it just me?

So I love my Circa planner. Love it to death. When I get the urge to rearrange it, I can do so very easily thanks to my collection of Circa covers, discs, and DIYP pages. In other words, I need absolutely nothing planner-related.

So why is it, when I have what really is the perfect setup for me, I browse the planner section of every store I go to that has them? Even the pharmacy carries some of those Franklin OneNote planners, and I flip through them every time I go there even though I've seen them a million times. I just like holding and touching planners. They're inspirational. They're oddly comforting. And they're just plain cool.

So am I the only one who does this? Or am I a complete freak?

Imitation Writing

Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, used to write and rewrite poems in college so she could memorize them. She writes,

In college I was in love with literature. I mean wild about it. I typed poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins over and over again so I could memorize them. I read John Milton, Shelley, Keats aloud and swooned on my narrow bed in the dormitory.

I copy bits and pieces of my favorite writers prose down in my journals, tucked between entries of daily life and my own imagination. I keep various quotes and story snippets from writers I admire among my index cards. While I write them down, as the pen makes scratching marks across my pages, I look at the language: how it runs off my pen (or mind's tongue), how long the sentences are, and what words were used. I like to think that it helps me dissect language down into uncovering what makes them work and "so great."

Have you ever attempted to imitate your favorite writer's prose? How well did that go? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

Forum Topic: Working definition for Planning and Productivity??

Planning and Productivity is the art of telling yourself what to do, when to do it and --to some degree-- how to do it, in shorthand. Furthermore the readiness, willingness, and ability to follow those directions is as important as the ability to give them. (Duh.)

Note to self: refer to organizer early and often.

Second note to self: the fact that something is not captured in the organizer does not mean it does not need to be done. (Double duh.)

I christened my new Circa compact system today so I'm feeling a little philosophical. I picked up a zipper folio for it so that should motivate me to make it work.


Forum Topic: Tips for managing multiple projects?

Does anyone have a system they particularly like, or just some general tips they've picked up along the way, for managing a to-do list for multiple projects? I've tried keeping it all in one running list, but it's a pain to reference the project in every to-do and link dependent to-do's within the same project. So then I tried a separate to-do list for each project in my planner, but that makes it hard to judge how much overall project work I have at any given time. Argh! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Instuctables: Hipster PDA How-To

Instructables: Hipster PDAInstructables.com bills itself as the world's biggest show and tell. To be sure, a lot of the how-to's lean a little to the ugly side of kludgey, but they really tap into the true DIY spirit. And there's certainly no lack of step-by-step articles for notebook hacks and Hipster PDA variants.

For example, take a look at one that uses our D*I*Y Planner hPDA kit:


Also note the related items at right, and explore from there. You too can have a Moleskine cover made out of a circuit board, suitable for impressing geek friends, scratching the table-top, or --when your loofah is nowhere to be found-- sloughing off dry skin.

Polyvore: A Web Collage Creation App

Last year I wrote a post detailing ways to use collage as a tool for motivation.

Today, while perusing the RSS feeds, I stumbled upon this site, Polyvore. Apparently, this site allows you to collect images from all over the site and mix and match them into your own collages. You can then share these collages with anyone. Rolling over and clicking on any of the images in the collage, takes you back to the original site where you can buy it.

I have yet to try this app (wanted to share this with you all first); but in my quick perusal of the site I did see that they teach you how to use their editor. The potential to use this tool as a powerful and visual way to create motivation collages that can then be shared with others is amazing. I can see many kids also using this as a way to create wish-lists for holidays or any occasion.

Forum Question: Planner variety

I would like to see how many planners you have tried and used through the years, even if you didn't stick with one for very long. Please include the sizes also. I have had a Daytimer, Planner Pad, FC classic and compact. I did not stay with compact even through the trying stage because it was just too small. FC took it back and let me have the classic with a smile. Customer service was great for that. Years ago I just had a loose leaf very small black notebook.

Ringing in some changes

From now on, things will be a bit different here on DIYPlanner.com ...and in a good way. I'll be detailing some of the proposed site changes in the next little while, especially as we tackle the technical parts. First off, though, one of the biggies: a change in our front-page content.

Lo, in the beginning, DIYPlanner.com was conceived of as an online 'zine style site, with an emphasis on original articles to differentiate itself from the plethora of "me-too" productivity blogs popping up like lemmings in the tundra. After all, when everybody is pointing to somebody else, there are few with anything to say; in fact, if you followed all the threads, most just went back eventually to 43Folders.

This decision meant that everything our writers produced had to be formalised to the point of being suitable for "real" print publication, mostly tied to their own subject expertise, whether that was templates, productivity, creativity or humour --think columns. This was a good idea at the time: we developed a lot of great original content, made a name for ourselves, and attracted a fair degree of mainstream media attention.

The problem is, three years later, this approach has a tendency to wear writers down, especially when they cover the same topics. Plus, it's no longer needed: we're established, the talent of our contributors requires no further proof, and --frankly-- it prevents us from saying a lot of the things we'd like to say. For example, if one of the team purchases a cool new notebook, that person shouldn't have to carefully construct a long and detailed review of the product.

So, change number one: although we'll still ring in with full-size articles, all the team members will now tackle things like product first impressions, mini how-to's, short reviews, links to other sites (with commentary) and other day-to-day happenings as short blog-style posts. And our writers should feel more free to handle whatever subjects they want, as long as it fits within the purview of the site.

Second, there's a lot of great discussions happening in the forums, but sometimes these quickly "fall off the grid" as new ones pop up. So we'll be promoting select forum topics to the front page on a regular basis to give more people more occasions to jump into the fray.

And the last one for now: we'll be contacting certain site members whom we feel have contributed a lot to the site, asking if they'll be interested in becoming regular front-page posters now that that the weight of the onerous "professional article" no longer looms dark overhead. However, if you're fairly new here or just like flying under the radar, and think you have something to contribute, please contact myself or Innowen; we'd love to hear your ideas.

I'll be writing about more changes soon, but what do you folks think of the above? Any other suggestions?