Things are changing around here (in the bullet journal department, anyway). They have been for a while, to be honest. Gone are the days of strict habit tracking. I am all about creative expression and to-do lists now. It’s been this way for a while, hence the new art bujo account on Instagram (shameless plug I know, go check it out if that tickles your interest @alys.bujo). Today I thought I’d talk about the journey that explains how I got here, and include a selection of pages from January to show you what I’ve been up to…
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.
One of the great things about Christmas is the fact that it falls right before January – the time in which I usually feel motivated to rekindle creative projects. This year, I knew I wanted to step up my bullet journal game; this, of course, required a little renovation of my art supplies and a haul of stationery as a Christmas present. Here is what I got and have had a chance to experiment with over the last few weeks…
The first tentative steps into a new hobby can be uncertain and daunting, sort of like walking down a muddy hill: either your feet might slip and things become a little tedious and overwhelming, or things turn out to be fine and, dare I say, enjoyable. This uncertainty over how things might turn out is a pretty good summary of how I felt entering the
crazy and obsessive world of bullet journaling a year ago. January is definitely a time in which many people contemplate trying new things; one such thing you may be considering is bullet journaling. So to make things easier for those of you wondering whether the bujo is that new hobby or not, here’s a condensed beginner’s guide.
I have a confession to make. I seem to have commitment issues. You know when you have a love for one thing but then something else catches your eye? Yeah, that’s me with Instagram. I am being utterly genuine when I write that I have actually lost count of the number of accounts I have had in the last few years on Instagram.
My Instagram History
I started off like any other teenager out there: one little space online where I posted the odd sunset, food or family holiday photo. Then I became vegan and yearned to feel a part of a community after what felt like such a huge lifestyle change at the time. And so I created a foodie account. This lasted a while but was cut off once I completed school and started travelling. Once you’re relying on cheap food eaten in poorly-lit hostels to survive it is practically impossible to maintain a beautiful food account. And so I did the only sensible thing and started a travel photography one instead. This somehow died a slow death though. I’m sure there have been other, more temporary ones too – like the black and white minimalist profile I had somewhere along the way – but they have mostly faded into insignificance now.
One of the things I’m enjoying the most in my everyday life at the moment is bullet journaling. Coincidently, it is also the most popular topic on my blog. Knowing that January is a month of trying new things, I thought it would be fitting to delve into the world of bujos a little more deeply over the next few weeks in the hope that it could help out some of you wanting to start one this year.
Today, I thought I’d kick things off with the big, obvious question: why bullet journal? Why not just use a diary with the ready-made calendars or an app on your phone? What is the point of all of this? What is the hype all about? If these are the questions you’re currently facing in your struggle to unearth an organisational method that will work for you this year, then you’ve come to the right place. This blog post isn’t about ‘converting’ people to the bujo way of life, it’s more a source of information – giving you the tools to decide whether this is for you or not.
December marked my twelfth month of using a bullet journal. In the last year, my method and style for creative organisation have changed dramatically; I’ve learnt a lot through this process and thought it could be helpful to list a couple of these lessons for those of you looking to start a bujo in the new year.
Start with the bare minimum
To avoid becoming completely overwhelmed in my first month of bullet journaling, I stuck to a one purple pen and a bunch of straight lines to create all my spreads. Yes, it looked a little boring. And nope, I didn’t satisfy the creativity lurking within me. But I did get over the hurdle that is starting something new.
2018 was my first year of bullet journaling. Rather accidentally, I stumbled into it in January in a very, very minimalist fashion. I almost had to trick myself that I wasn’t entering the world of arty bujos through my stubborn use of a single pen to create spreads for the whole first month. That way, I wouldn’t overwhelm myself and run away from the whole thing in a blind panic.
Throughout the year though, my confidence and creativity grew. As did my desire to fill old jam jars and the living room coffee table (much to the annoyance of everyone else) with various bits of stationery.
Some of the most popular posts on my blog are my bullet journal monthly setups. Unfortunately for everyone involved, I haven’t graced the internet with one of these since October. That’s because the way I utilise my bujo has changed – I started university at the end of September and found that the spreads I normally use are unnecessary (and impossible to keep up with) as a student.
So from November, I switched techniques. Now, I only create weekly spreads. This is so I can focus on planning in everything I need to do without wasting time on pages that don’t add much value to my current lifestyle. So doing a monthly setup post would be pretty obsolete as it would just involve the title page and not much else. Instead, I thought I’d do a post with a selection of my most recent weekly spreads in the hope that it inspires you to get creative in your own journal.
The big thing I always go on about when it comes to bullet journals, honestly the main reason I love them really, is the fact that they are so versatile. And by that I don’t just mean each individual can adapt the basic bujo principles to fit their lifestyle and mindset (although this is a wonderful thing too) but that you can adapt the detail and rigidity of your journal each month to fit perfectly with your current needs and desires.
Last month, my bullet journal was pretty detailed. I had a lot of monthly spreads and things were meticulously planned in. If you missed that post, here’s a taster…