Every time I scroll through Pinterest or TikTok, I see these beautifully detailed bullet journal spreads that make me green with envy. How are these people so talented? And how can someone like me, with zero artistic skill, make one? I dedicated a whole weekend to learn how to bullet journal and here's what I discovered.
First off, you need to grab your materials. I got this gorgeous matte black notebook from STIL. For pens, I used my favourite TUL .7mm (because the rose gold is heavenly) and Tombow Dual Brush for adding pops of colour.
1) Identify Your Spreads
The most overwhelming part of bullet journaling is choosing your spreads. There are so many amazing options, but you need to find what works for you. Most commonly are weekly planner spreads (which are amazing for organizing your life), but I already have a trusted planner so I knew that wouldn't work for me. I spent several hours scrolling through Pinterest and Buzzfeed articles before identifying spreads that work for my life (and seemed easy to recreate). Eventually, I chose a travel spread and monthly goals spread.
2) Find Inspiration
Once I identified my spreads, it was time to find layouts I liked. I'm a very aesthetically-inclined person, and an ugly layout is not an option. Also keeping in mind that I am no artist, I wanted something more heavy on handwriting and easy to customize to my spreads. For my travel spread, I loved the simplicity of this London journal page. My monthly goals page was a bit harder to find inspiration for, as most goals pages have trackers. I simply wanted a place to write down the goals to inspire me. After some creative searching, I finally ended up finding inspiration in being creative with colours for my spread and freewheeling it based on some doodles I saw.
3) Embrace Mistakes
The best part of bullet journaling? It's just for you! If you screw up, no one is there to judge you. Don't like how that flower turned out? Slap a sticker over it. As a perfectionist with most of my belongings (which is why I normally turn to technology for my creativity), bullet journaling is about making it work for you and getting creative when there's a smudge. When I originally wrote 'October' for my monthly goals it looked terrible. Terrible! And so I just kept going over and over it until I didn't hate it. It's not what I originally planned, but giving up control and rolling with the punches is what makes this page mine. We have our spreads identified, we found our inspiration, and now it's time to have fun with seeing where the page takes you. And if it's a complete loss, luckily you have an entire journal to start again.
4) Make It Your Own
Now that you've copied down the basics from your inspiration, it's time to make this work for you. Bullet journaling is not supposed to be taking up your entire day so you have to create systems that make it manageable. If having to write out every single day and cross things off the list isn't going to work for you long term, try doing a monthly spread. If you prefer drawing over words (I envy you) but that takes too much time for every spread, look at Society6 or Etsy for stickers you can supplement. For me, I knew having to update my bullet journal every day was not going to work (I already have organization tools for that) so I wanted spreads that were more for check-ins or inspiration. You know yourself better than anyone, so make those quirks that make your bullet journal your safe space.
Is there a trend you want to try but are nervous to dive into? Drop it in the comments.