AD – GIFTED | What better way to celebrate becoming a fully-fledged blogger than starting my own bullet journal? As previously mentioned, I was gifted some beautiful stationery goodies by the very kind girls at Write on It * recently. One of those items was a bullet journal – serendipity or what? Here’s how I got started on my very first bullet journal – and hopefully these tips will be useful for any beginners too.
Who are Write on It?
Sara and Gillian love spending time researching unusual stationery items (stickers, clips, magnetic pencils, 4-way elastic bands) as well as some truly beautiful notepads. They test their products thoroughly to find the perfect elements for their own brand products. You can be sure the paper in their pads won’t allow ink bleed through from biro, gel pen, felt pen, pencil, or highlighter pen. Not only are all their papers 100% recycled, sourced sustainably, chlorine free bleach and EU Eco label, all their line ruled and dot grid papers are printed with vegetable based ink too.
So what did I get? I was able choose and personalise my own bullet journal notepad, and I also received a daily/weekly desk planner, some coloured pens, and super cute coloured cat paper clips. For the A5 bullet journal, I chose dot grid paper, which is printed in a pale grey, with a black spiral binder. The 50 sheet/100 pages planner also comes with some useful transparent plastic outer covers to protect the printed covers. Although somehow I’ve still managed to spill my tea on the front cover when the plastic wasn’t in place (HOW? WHY? SOB.)
How to start a bullet journal – just write!
Anyway, after feeling daunted rather than inspired by all the beautiful BuJo pictures on Pinterest, none of which seemed to suit an artistically challenged beginner, I decided to just get a pen and ruler and start one evening before I lost my nerve. As my blog turns one year old this month – whoop, whoop – here are the first few pages from my new BuJo.
The best bullet journal for beginners – a basic one
As you can see, it’s pretty basic, I’m not at all artistic, a trait that fortunately Flora has not inherited from me. But I think it’s going to help me with my blogging. The left page has my month laid out with key dates like Pancake Day <grin> and birthdays. Also the Bloggers Comment Swaps that I will try and join. Weekends I want to try to keep clear for family time. I’ve also decided to track my stats from the 1st of the month and again at the end of the month, along with my DA (hopefully it will keep rising), my views, and my most and least popular posts for the month.
The right page is my blogging schedule. There’s no key symbol for showing when I’ve half-finished or carried forward something, I’m just using a basic tick list. Maybe I might create a key in time but for now, because I’m new to this, I don’t want to overly complicate my life. The whole idea of starting a BuJo was to help me be more organised, not to have it take over and be one more thing I have to try and shoehorn into my day.
Bullet journal ideas
I haven’t got many books on my TBR list yet but I have a lot on my shelves that I’m going to go through and transfer to these pages. I’ve never kept a written record of books I’ve read before and I think it’ll be interesting to look back and see just how much I did read in 11 months – as well as whether or not I liked them.
As some of you know, I’m a keen if clueless gardener, so I’m going to keep a pictorial record of what seeds I buy. Then, later in the year, I’ll try some sort of grid to show whether they grew successfully, if I liked them, and if I’d do anything different next time. I don’t know if bullet journals can incorporate scrapbooks as well but mine is going to.
At the back of my BuJo I’m keeping a list of possible future blog post ideas. Not much else to say about this really, but hopefully as things occur to me in future, I now have one place to jot them down instead of several Post It notes that I promptly lose.
What I find really useful about this bullet journal is that I can open it out and lay it flat, there’s no trying to flatten it like you have to with a glue bound notebook, there’ll be no spine damage and the pages remain intact. The paper feels really smooth and inviting to write on too, the Schneider ball point pens, and my own coloured pens and highlighters, all write beautifully on it. And I can also very easily rip pages out when I make mistakes…
Funnily enough I was thinking about getting myself a desk planner to try and keep track of which clients’ posts I need to write on which days. Since going freelance, I’ve been incredibly lucky to start working with some really lovely clients and I don’t want to let anyone down.
This lovely A4 ring bound planner has bright and smooth white paper that doesn’t allow ink bleed through, plus I have the ability to rip pages out again. Colour coding helps me remember what I have to do and when. Although I wouldn’t normally try and cram everything into two days, I’m going to have to this week as it’s half term and I want to take some time off to spend with Flora!
What else do you need for bullet journaling?
Because this is my first time with a bullet journal, of course I’ve made some mistakes in my layouts already, so those pages have been ripped out. I haven’t set up an index yet either, I’m keeping a note of what pages I fill in on a loose sheet of paper in the meantime. And I’m finding the cat paper clips very useful for keeping all my ripped out loose sheets together, and also as bookmarks. Obviously, I’m never going to be an artistically gifted doodler but I’m enjoying using my coloured pens and highlighters where I can, and I’m going to continue to scrapbook too.
How to start your own bullet journal – tips
So what, if anything, have I learned from starting my own bullet journal? Well, I’d like to share these three thoughts with you:
- Get a pen and ruler and just make a start. Looking at a blank notebook (and Pinterest) is so daunting but it’s like writing a blog post, sometimes getting started is the hardest thing and once you do, things start flowing.
- You will make mistakes, unless you are supernaturally gifted and perfect, in which case you are very lucky. But it doesn’t matter, this is your bullet journal and it only has to work for you, no-one else. This is where the ability to rip out pages easily is brilliant for confidence building. No-one else need know that it took you five tries to crack your monthly planner and blogging schedule layout.
- It is fun. Really. I wish I’d started one months ago.
I’ve really enjoyed setting up my bullet journal and I’ve got lots of ideas for it going forwards. I also think my desk planner is going to be a massive help to me too, so a big thank you to Write on It for sending me such lovely stationery bits and pieces. I know where I’ll be coming when I fill up all the pages in these two pads!
Who do you know that would love some beautiful personalised stationery and a bullet journal template to inspire them too?
* I was gifted the bullet journal, desk planner, two pens, and cat clips for review but all other stationery, opinions, and photos are my own and this is an honest, unbiased review.