Penguin peeking at you within title image

Yearly Index: Transforming Hobonichi Weeks → MultiYear Writer’s Notebook

♦️ Pub: Oct 3, 2019 | Updated: Oct 3, 2019 @ | Reading: 6 min. | Words: 1,435 ♦️
You stare at the Hobonichi Weeks Yearly Index, scratching your head. Turns out, with a twee bit of imagination, you can make that miniscule-spaced sucka sing your tune.

Overall Purpose of this 2020 Hobonichi Weeks

The ultimate portability champ
The ultimate portability champ

I set up my Hobonichi Weeks “Baby Penguins” as a multiYear Writer’s Notebook, to delight myself with the bird-infused cover beyond 2020. Unstated yet equally compelling: time invested in setup spreads over four years!

As always, I approached the targeted preprinted section with the intent to maximize the for-a-flea space presented. No slave to tradition, I converted the Calendar into a repository for more than 50 word lists. Scrutinizing the Yearly Index section encouraged a similar bonanza, elevating the factory spread from a meh to an oh yeahhhh!

Printed Structure of the Hobonichi Weeks Yearly Index

The Yearly Index spreads over one facing-page set, intending a single year’s at-a-glance overview. Four (invisible) horizontal grid boxes form each day slot, accommodating my preferred multi-year coverage.

Spacing? Great for a flea, but human use mandates creativity
Spacing? Great for a flea, but human use mandates creativity

Tweaking the Weeks Yearly Index

Momma be cray-cray, snatchin’ weird opportunities to insert a penguin pic.
Momma be cray-cray, snatchin’ weird opportunities to insert a penguin pic.

I drew three vertical lines, within one month’s column, to produce 4 columns/fields per day slot. Working near a window, at high noon, unveiled the subtle grid on the sheet under my working page. (House lights tend to glare-out the needed subtleties.) I commandeered the grid as a guide for the vertical lines.

Second: I used an archived page to duplicate the 4-column spread, testing for three aspects of assorted highlighters.

  1. I wanted to ensure contrasting hues.
  2. The narrow spacing prompted concern about my ability to stay within the lines.
  3. Puddling at the end of a drawn line irks. Within the current context, I refused to set the stage for 300+ splotches.

The third rationale shoved MildLiners back into the container. The winners, by a mile: the Bic BriteLiner and Zebra JustFit highlighters.

Devising the Color Scheme and Choosing Markers

Color-coded swipes of a highlighter shape this Pixels By Year view, reflecting daily writing-process category tracking:

  • Drafting
  • Editing
  • Researching
  • Outlining / Organizing

One yellow BriteLiner bid farewell due to its barely discernible non-appearance. Weirdly, another yellow BriteLiner satisfied. Because they looked the same, with duplicate markings, I moved on. Didn’t wanna see myself at a counter “trying” to replenish the preferred version.

After serial tests, I chose the Zebra JustFit line for this spread. The colors chosen

  • produce the required contrast
  • encourage precise application
  • refuse to belch

I rush to add: Bic blue BriteLiner duplicates its blue JustFit cousin in all desired respects: actual hue, no belching, and precision application.

Highlighters, with swatches, used for the Yearly spread in my 2020 Hobonichi Weeks
Some may prefer “red,” added as a nod to different folks / strokes

Because the colors chosen source in my intuition, I maintain no associated Key:

  • Drafting: blue, the universal predominant writing pen ink color
  • Editing: yellow, suggesting caution
  • Research: researching feels like peeling an orange, to “get to the good stuff
  • Outlining / Organizing: purple, one of two favorite colors. Since this category persists as my least favorite writing activity (read: necessary evil), I apply a fave to lessen the sting. (Little things, folks, to coerce little smiles along the way.)

Caveat! (Submissions / Queries Tracking)

⚠️Be aware:⚠️ the physical nature of the printed spread forces sacrifice. Example: I craved a one-glance view of submissions and queries. Why? Imma chump sometimes. To counteract that, I wanted submissions and queries included within the tangible objective-proof spread I developed. I need to see what I did/not do, and the Pixels deal grants that wish.

A top-down perspective guides my nitty-gritty scrutiny
A top-down perspective guides my nitty-gritty scrutiny

But the Pixels door slammed in my face, given the four critical categories already assigned. I once noticed a poster: “If it won’t open, it’s not your door.” Now there’s a mantra to soothe lazy thinkers! After acknowledging the existence of a closed door, yours truly will kick, grab an ax, pluck at the hinges with a screwdriver, search for a powered saw … In other words, the door must prove its inherent invincibility to secure this woman’s “ok, I’ll back off” posture. When that rare occurrence transpires, I interpret the door a a golden invitation to explore my creative problem-solving skills.

In this instance, I ultimately determined submissions and queries merit segregated treatment. That spread will sit center stage in a related post.

Show, Don’t Tell: Hobonichi Weeks: Yearly Index Spreads

And now, the show don’t tell segment on this program, most pics courtesy of mock-ups in an otherwise archived Weeks.

Factory Spread: BeforeThePen

Hobonichi Weeks: Yearly Index / Overview — closeup view
Adore the numbered dates, situated to cover every month

The Yearly Index / Overview’s Tweaked Skeletal Structure

Tweaked skeletal structure. Hobo Weeks Yearly spread
Pens: body, 0.3mm Pilot Juice Up; header, Uni Signo 207


This image underscores the necessity of thorough testing. When drawn as long lines, yellow contrasted as desired with respect to orange. But within the tiny grids of the calendar, the contrast died. (See line 11. 😫)

orange and yellow fail the contrast test
Diligent testing revealed an issue: orange and yellow fail the contrast test

Study the rows numbered 11 and 15. A Ticonderoga Emphasis yellow restored the yellow-vs-orange contrast withOUT the belch eyesore. Stationery nerds unite! Our addiction self-validates. Maintaining a stash of nearly every highlighter model known unto mankind ensures we’ll have what we need when needed. ‘Nuff said. 😉


Whenever I confront a space hostile to full words, color emerges as friend. One little colored grid block can then tell me a full story. You may want the Pixels in a Year to tell your fitness journey, diligence to religious study, the path to cementing certain habits, your changing daily attitude/mood, or something else. Whatever your targeted milestone, don’t overlook this particular facing-page spread. You hold the power to awaken its viability. The price of entry? Patience, to work around unexpected glitches; and, your imagination.

This Hobonichi Weeks as Writer’s Notebook Series

The series opened with the month calendar section, converted into a word list repository. At least 5 words grace each date block, the first designated as “writing prompt.” But any of the accompanying “alternative words” can pull double duty, as another writing prompt. The scheme thus respects my multi-year usage intent. It also empowers my choice of a classic (69 Notes pages), as opposed to Mega (213 Notes pages), Hobonichi Weeks. The Mega line offers a mere handful of plain-Jane solid colored covers. The classic version? An oooo baby!! selection so rich many pop for two different covers. That’s the thing ‘bout the Weeks—lil dude can handle just about any subject’s workload tossed in its direction!

This article details my intended 2020-2023 usage scenario as regards the Yearly Index. Additional posts will dissect the nitty gritty of my converted horizontal weekly section, as well as some of the spreads populating my Notes section, e.g. writing goals. Til then …

Call to Action

I fashioned a category-driven one-glance overview of my writing-related sessions over multiple years. Curiosity propelled the effort. I sense Editing will muscle it’s way to first place, with Drafting coming in second. As between Research and Organizing/Outlining, and which will surpass the other, my guess equates to a coin toss.Looking forward to nailing the facts, to replace speculation.

Yearly Index: Transforming Hobonichi Weeks → MultiYear Writer’s Notebook
Yearly Index: Transforming Hobonichi Weeks → MultiYear Writer’s Notebook

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