Posted on September 19, 2017

Bullet Journaling: Tales of a First Time Journal Maker

Bullet Journal/ Living

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In July, I went to a national conference for interpreters and roomed with a friend from grad school. At some point over the 5-day conference, she mentioned she used a bullet journal. She showed me her book and it was one of the coolest things I had seen! I was in love. She had creative spaces to organize her projects, tasks, plan the meals she would cook for her family that week, etc. I was inspired.

I had heard of bullet journaling before but had never looked into it. It seemed like too much time or just another thing I would get into and then not keep up with. While the jury is still out as to whether or not I will keep up with it, the journey has definitely been fun so far! I’ve seen so many fantastic bullet journal spreads on Pinterest and Google that the amount of human creativity just amazes me. Sometimes it’s a little intimidating. Will my journal be “that good”?

After looking at spread after spread, I realized something: it doesn’t matter. The journal is supposed to be for me. It’s supposed to be something I can look at and say, “I made that.” Will my pages ever look as pristine and professional as the pages of others? Maybe. Maybe not. The point is, I’m having fun with it!

Looking to start your own? Here is a rundown of my journey so far:

Gather your materials.

I spent a fair amount of time pouring over blog reviews and products on Amazon to figure out what would be a good fit. It’s hard to choose a book based purely on pictures and reviews alone, but I decided to take the leap anyway.

  • Notebook: I chose a Leuchtturm1917 Hard Cover Medium Dotted Journal. This seems to be a popular book for bullet journalers. There is an official Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal but I went with a “regular one” that is less than half the cost. I don’t have anything to compare this one to but the exact type of book you have doesn’t truly matter as long as it works for you. A plain old notebook works just as well as a $25 journal.
  • Markers: I didn’t have any pens or markers that seemed appropriate for this new venture of mine. Since I viewed this as my “self-care treat,” I decided to get myself a new set. For this I went with a set of 36 Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. I love them so far! The variety is great and worth the little splurge. I’m hoping to get some brush pens at some point. I have since purchased a set of 10 Tombow Dual Brush markers but I haven’t learned how to “use them” yet.
  • Extras: I purchased a small pack of journal stencils, though this is completely unnecessary. I just want to test them out. There are a plethora of journaling-specific sticker sets out there as well. I’ve gotten a few from the Create365 line.

Seek inspiration.

Numerous blogs and websites have ideas for what you can include in your book. I decided to make a list of the ones I was particularly interested in. This is of course not an exhaustive list, but at least a jumping point for where to start. My favorites so far are the monthly habit tracker, reading tracker, and weekly calendars.

  • Food and Fitness
    • Favorite Meals
    • Weekly Grocery List (with removable sticky note section)
    • Hogwarts Running Club Trackers
    • Weight Loss Tracker
    • Non-Scale Victories
    • Water Intake
  • Personal Care and Development
    • Year in Pixels (Mood Tracker)
    • Monthly Habit Tracker
    • Goals/Goal Tracker
    • Reading List
    • Travel – International and Domestic
    • Daily Gratitude List
    • Bucket List
    • 30-Day Challenge Trackers
    • Favorite Quotes
  • Home and Finances
    • Savings “Jar” Tracker
    • Debt Repayment Tracker
    • Home Cleaning Routine
  • Personal/Blog-Related
    • Weekly and Monthly Planners
    • Birthdays
    • Editorial Calendar
    • Social Media Calendar
    • Future Projects

Get started.

Sometimes this is the step that halts a new project in its place. I build up excitement, I gather all of the materials, research it to no end… and then the time comes and I stop. I bought this pretty book! What if I ruin it? What if I make a mistake? Then the whole thing will be ruined! …ok, self. Time to knock it down about 10 notches. Remember up there how I said it’s just for me? Who cares if I make a line somewhere I don’t mean to make a line. Or if a page doesn’t turn out how I imagined it would. This is only my first attempt after all.

My reading log with a Harry Potter-themed shelf.

Keep at it.

Again, this might be a struggle for some (many? most?). We get in our daily routines, other things take precedence, and the me time/journaling goes out the window. Even if you can’t spend hours a day journaling, a good fifteen to thirty minutes is all you need to get started. Make a page or two a day and check in with the pages you’ve made as you go. Over time, you’ll figure out how frequently you need to use your journal and how much time you can set aside for it. And hey – if it means having everything in one place (and not spread across five different notebooks and about a hundred sticky notes), you’ll save at least 15 minutes just by not having to look for things!


XO, Grace



Beginning November 2017:








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