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Bullet Journaling 101, but from a Beginner

This is everything I've learned so far about bullet journaling!

I've always admired people who have beautiful handwriting, are super artsy, seem have their lives together, and usually they bullet journal. Go figure. If you don't know what a bujo is (bullet journal for short), it's basically a planner/super artsy book that people use for literally whatever they want. It can be filled with beautiful pages with inspirational quotes surrounded by artwork, or a monthly layout that included a planner, calendar, mood trackers and habit trackers, etc. Anyone who has a bujo will tell you that it can be whatever you want/need it to be, it's your journal, so be yourself when writing in it. 

That's all fine and dandy, except I REALLY want to be one of those previously mentioned "artsy put-together" people who have perfect calligraphy skills and can draw/doodle anything their heart desires. So, I bought a dotted notebook from Walmart, along with some bujo professional recommended pens, and got started. Oh boy I should've practiced cursive more when I was little, I stink at it! 

I wasn't going to let my horrible handwriting phase me though, I was inspired to get better. I began with an easy front page that I saw on Pinterest, "things that make me happy," and I wrote the answers around the little box I created. Ok, off to a good start, haven't dived into any calligraphy or drawings yet, let's do a bullet list next. Great, what next? I delved into Pinterest for list ideas, or just inspiration in general. I now had a "books read in 2018" and a "doodle here when bored page." 

Doodle page

I decided now was the time to try a quote, so I picked a favorite Bible verse and began what you might call, a creative interpretation of the words. One thing I began to discover was that my writings/drawings were showing through the pages behind them. My only option was now to write only on the right side of the pages so my art wouldn't look even more horrendous. 

First attempt at writing a quote/verse.

You can see the previous page through the other side, disappointing. 

After I wrote one more attempt at a quote, I was getting disappointed not only because I hated my handwriting, but also because I was running out of ideas of what to write next. I put my bujo down for a couple days and lost interest. A few days later I discovered on Pinterest the idea of using a bujo as a planner. Now, I've never been able to keep a planner, I forget about it or forget to check it, and I always put my events in my phone. But, since I didn't want to give up on my journal yet, I began a May layout. To my surprise, it wasn't that bad! In fact, I was pretty pleased with the result! I added a mood tracker on the next page, and then weekly layouts after that. I got so excited to fill it in with my events and soon enough I had also drawn out my June monthly layout! 

May Monthly Layout and Mood Tracker

So, I've learned a lot about bullet journaling, but I still have so much I don't know as well, but, let me break down what I've learned just in case my knowledge and advice can help someone who was also in the same place as me. 

1.Don't buy a bullet journal from Walmart, the pages leak. Since I purchased this journal, I will keep using it till it's filled, only because I'm a poor college student haha, but for my next journal I will probably invest in something from Barnes and Noble or online wherever the "experts" say the best journal is from. 

2. DO buy a dotted notebook to start your bujo experience. When I was researching what to get, I knew I didn't want a lined journal, those are to restricting for the artwork that I wanted to create. I have heard of using a sketchbook, and I may invest in that in the future, but I like the dots, I can create my own lines and I just find that it helps a lot. 

3. Purchase some nice pens. I bought two sets, the Paper Mate Flair set, and the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. 

Pictures of Both Sets of Pens

I really like the Paper Mate set for my writing and smaller artwork and the brush side of the Tombow pens are super nice for bigger lettering and the scary, but worth it, calligraphy style of writing. I've had so much fun practicing with these pens, trying to make my handwriting as good as possible! Everyday I'm getting better and I know if I keep practicing one day it will come naturally! 

4. Practice your handwriting outside of your bujo. This was one of my first mistakes in my journal; I thought I could just wing it and it would turn out like every beautiful page I see on Pinterest. I now have one of those super cheap notebooks that you get for school, and I use that to practice my lettering and calligraphy. I won't write any pretty quotes in my bujo until I feel confident that I won't mess it up, because once you mess it up, there's no going back. 

5. Bullet journaling IS unique! I know I said this as a cliché at the beginning of this article, but the more I use my journal I've realized it's not ever going to be like anyone else's! I definitely draw inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram accounts for my lettering and artwork, but at the end of the day I write in my bullet journal what I want to see, and what works for me! Right now that includes a planner, mood tracker, doodles (that still look quite horrible btw), and bullet/wish lists! It will always evolve though, and it will look different for you! 

Well, that's it! I don't plan on putting down my bullet journal anytime soon, and I highly encourage you to give it a try! It is so relaxing and enjoyable! 

Happy Bullet Journaling!


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