january bullet journal spread plants nature

How Losing My Bullet Journal Was the Best Thing to Happen

I know, I know. It sounds awful, practically unliveable, for my fellow bullet journalers to hear. But it’s a true statement (kind of). I didn’t exactly lose my bullet journal, it was more that I misplaced it for just over a week. I went on holiday to the Peak District and left my beloved notebook behind at home – a sad realisation, but not totally catastrophic.

People from outside the bujo community may not understand this intense panic-upon-realisation feeling evoked from simply leaving a journal somewhere unexpected. You see, this isn’t just a place for doodles – this is where I organise my life and develop my thoughts. The following week was a journey of emotions, not wholly negative, regarding the missing nature of my little orange Leuctturm1917. Allow me to explain.

orange leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal

I felt naked

For the first two days, I had repeating sinking feelings every time I realised my notebook was 223 miles away from me. Automatic muscular reactions caused me to reach into thin air several times, believing my journal would be sitting on the table beside me. I didn’t know how to untangle my thoughts. I didn’t have a barrier between me and uncertainty.

I felt lost

How was I supposed to organise my thoughts? How was I supposed to plan things? Create things? Know what things were things to be thought about?!

countryside landscape watercolour painting

I felt restricted

In the organisational sense, I was a little turned upside down but that didn’t matter much as I was on holiday and my days were free for walking in the mountains and being with my family. However, creatively, I suffered a little. My bullet journal was the one thing that had worked to expose me to making art in a comfortable way. It was how I managed to not feel too intimidated. This little notebook, and the whole theory behind it, had allowed me to unpick my fear of failure around creativity and overcome that overwhelming feeling that I could never be ‘good enough’ to make beautiful things. How was I supposed to be creative without the key that had unlocked the door onto the world of doodles and watercolours and curly lettering?

I felt free

After a day or two, there was a breakthrough. The recalcitrant panic receded; a revelation hit. Without my precious journal, I was free to make mistakes in my art – it wouldn’t matter as these pages didn’t have to end up in my favourite journal if I didn’t want them to. It was at this moment I felt inspired. To try paper I’d never used before, paint things I hadn’t yet attempted, let my pencil wander…


I felt more creative, and created more.

By the end of the week, I felt like my mind, and creativity, had expanded ever-so-slightly. It’s not a crazy change, but it’s enough to feel the difference, even a couple of weeks later. Once I was eventually reunited with my beloved bujo, I felt a renewed zeal for bullet journaling (not that I really needed that per se, but this creative energy somehow felt different to anything I had felt before). This fervour has led to an abundance of new pages in my journal, and a widening of the techniques I use.


So no, I never want to lose my bullet journal again. But yes, this experience has taught me a lot. What’s the take-home message of this post then? Maybe try locking your bullet journal in a cupboard for a week and see how you adapt to the situation – you might surprise yourself with how far you can push your boundaries of expression…

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Want to keep up with my bullet journal spreads? Head on over to Instagram @alys.bujo

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10 thoughts on “How Losing My Bullet Journal Was the Best Thing to Happen

  1. bakeydoesntbake says:

    Your journal looks amazing. It’s so funny how an object can hold so much feeling. I’m glad it made you feel more connected to the book in the end (I was worried this post was going to be about you stopping doing bullet journaling!)


  2. Johnzelle says:

    Great post! I love the doodle box idea and the books read idea. I received a new Bujo for finishing my residency. It’s smaller and I’m excited to set up my February pages today!


  3. Just a Kidd says:

    wow, your artwork is incredible! I thought about getting myself a bullet journal, but my drawing is rubbish and I’m such a perfectionist. I know I’ll end up hating the way it looks, similar to when ‘wreck this journal’ was a trend. Love looking at other people’s though. It’s great to hear you made the best out of this initially bad situation in the end 💚

    Lon x


  4. Nika-Curious Millennial says:

    this is beautiful!I can’t imagine a life without a planner.this would have been really scary for me, because planning puts me in a comfort zone.This is definitely something I want to try, maybe when I’m on vacation?I love this.<3


  5. Times With Kai Mommy Blog says:

    Always a beautiful post. I have stopped bullet journaling (maybe for now) I can’t keep up. Haha I’m just on my digital to do list. Now that I read this, I kinda miss writing my todo lists. Ironically,I do know that I tend to be more organized with a bullet journal. I should get back to it soon


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