Last year, there was a lot of creation and transformation that went on behind the scenes with my bullet journal. I featured some things, but definitely held a lot back. And I think a lot of that had to do with me wanting to find my particular style of bullet journaling.
In fact, I still haven’t found my exact style. And I think that’s ok. I think we’re always evolving and changing as humans, and therefore, our styles likely change as we do. But for now I feel like I am in a place of contentment with my bullet journaling system, and I want to share a little bit of my experience with all of you.
About two years ago, I kept seeing gorgeous planners all over my social media. And I thought I could totally do that.
So I bought a journal and a sh*t ton of supplies and was so pumped to begin my journey into bullet journaling. I set up my index, my future log, my first monthly spread, and the start of my first weekly spread. I was feeling pretty good. Then I realized about four hours had gone by. My initial enthusiasm slowly began to deflate.
A friend told me I would get better at it. That it would become easier. But as time went on and as I persisted, the traditional system of bullet journaling felt too cumbersome to me.
I would spend hours on pages that I never had a use for. I would lose motivation on certain projects because I had no end goal in sight. This whole hobby (that I thoughtlessly spent a ton of money on products for) kind of blew up in my face.
But the feeling of failure was only temporarily. From this learning experience spawned a new one: mastering the art of bullet journaling in a way that worked for me!
Everyone is different, and therefore, everyone’s journal will look different. What works for me, might not work for you. But below are some tips that I wish I would have read about before I began my journey into journaling.
- It is OK to make mistakes. I have seen this one before. But I didn’t believe it or embrace it until recently. Seriously your mistakes are what will help you to grow. They allow you to develop your own style. And they are what makes your first journal special. I look back fondly at my first one I did and I think: I had A LOT of good ideas, but I didn’t execute them just right. Truthfully, you might even become inspired again if you can see your past work with your journal. And if you’re someone like me who wants to tear out a cringe worthy page or gets anxiety when things aren’t just right, here are a few additional tips:
- Walk away from the journal for some time and come back once your stress levels are down. This actually happened to me recently and when I returned to the journal I was like “Oh, this looked far worse in my mind than it does in reality.” I kept the page and it ended up developing into something I liked.
- Purchase some Washi Tape and/or white out. Both of these work out fine for covering any minor mistakes like spelling errors or if you want to rephrase something or redraw something. And the Washi tape comes in so many colors and patterns that it really can only enhance your page.
- I have also seen other journal-ers black out their mistakes with a black pen and then write over it in white gel pen. This is a brilliant way to fix minor errors with text, in my opinion!
- Start with the traditional system, but do not be afraid to deviate from it and make it your own. As I mentioned before, one of my major struggles with the traditional bullet journal system is that it is time consuming to maintain. And if you’re someone like me who likes to experiment with pens and markers, and doodle and create themes for every section, it really eats up your time. I recommend starting with the traditional bullet journal system [x], but also not being afraid to mold your journal into something that works best for you. I keep a mix of traditional bullet journal elements, but also kind of do my own thing. 🙂
- Ease into purchasing supplies. I think another thing with journaling is that you can easily become so overwhelmed. There are millions of options when selecting a journal, pens, styles, etc. to establish. Buy one journal and tell yourself you are going to fill it to its entirety, mistakes and all. Then select 1-2 styles of pens and maybe buy a few rolls of Washi tape to start. You don’t need to have a million supplies to create something beautiful or “Instagram,” worthy. Simplicity is also lovely and it doesn’t break the bank. (<–Words of someone who wishes she would have heard this advice two years ago, hah). Plus, you might end up wasting pens or markers you aren’t thrilled with if you overspend initially.
- Don’t play the Instagram comparison game. We all do it, but try not to let this get you down. Unless you are a born or classically trained artist, NO ONE starts out bullet journaling with gorgeous pages that get 1,000+ likes. It doesn’t happen like that. Instead of thinking (like I have): Gosh I’ll never have pages that look like that. Use Instagram as a spring board for inspiration. There are so many talented journal-ers out there that give me inspiration when I feel my creative juices are low. You can also use some aspects of their work as a way to practice. I wouldn’t recommend copying pages 100%, but there’s nothing wrong with allowing it to inspire your journaling experience.
- Do it with a buddy (if you can). If you’re someone like me who’s a little bit more self-conscious about certain things, find a friend you can share your pages with. And if you don’t have one, HI! HELLO MY NAME IS COURTNEY LYNN AND I’LL GLADLY BE YOUR FRIEND! *waves* I have a go to bud (take a guess who if you read my blog pretty regularly ;)), whom I recently started doing dailies with. Its an exciting part of the experience to get to show her my daily entries and to also see hers. So if you want a friend to do something like this with, I’ll gladly be your girl! Or if you aren’t a fan of mine, you should check out journalingyourway. They do monthly drawing based prompts for journals and its always fun to see what everyone comes up with. Or if you just need a source for further inspiration, look no further!
Again, there are no hard or fast rules whenever you begin journaling. But one thing you should always remember when you begin is that it is a process and your skills will evolve over time. Don’t become easily discouraged with it, especially if it helps keep you organized and/or calm. And also know you have a journal buddy in me, if you need a little extra encouragement. 🙂
Coming up next in the journaling portion of this blog: My journal goals of 2019!