How to begin a bullet journal

Updated: Feb 25

It's about time I wrote this post!

I have been an avid bullet journal for about 2 and a half years now, which is quite some time for me because rarely do I stick to habits.

I'm not the most perfect bullet journaler out there -- like, come on, have y'all seen those Instagrams dedicated to it like it's an art!? Like, this Instagram here.

While those spreads are absolutely stunning, we don't have to go that crazy.

Which brings me to something I'd like to clarify: Bullet journals are not supposed to be perfect. Bullet journals are for organization, productivity, having a place to go to in times of stress. Bullet journaling can also expand your creativity and help you to feel lighter, less cluttered. A bullet journal is supposed to be a beautiful mess that is your home in a journal. You could be a million miles away and yet, still feel comfortable, your journal at your side.

I promise, I'm only a little obsessed.

How I started bullet journaling

Honestly, I started bullet journaling without realizing that I was doing it.

I had a planner for some time. It was rather boring and navy blue and I didn't do much with it and usually always forgot it at home. I only used it to mark due dates and tests, really.

Then, during my junior year of high school, I bought myself a notebook, mostly because I liked the way it looked. Then, I had to find a purpose for it.

Because I wanted to read more, I turned it into a book log, and overtime I also began describing my dreams, writing down affirmations, and tracking my mood, while also decorating the journal in stickers and little doodles.

Then, I found out about the mighty bullet journal and realized that I was doing everything but the whole purpose of the bullet journal, which was sketching out weekly and monthly spreads. So, I added that too. Mostly because I was tired of carrying both my pretty notebook and my planner I rarely used, but also because I wanted the full bullet journal experience. I decided to draw out my own weekly spreads, and to my surprise, I fell into the element quickly. Ever since about February of 2018, I've been sketching out my weeks, months, to-do lists, and more, finding inspiration from the lovely Pinterest.

My bullet journal is, truly, my best friend, my safe space, a place I can be truly myself, which is why I don't post about everything I draw. My bullet journal is messy, random, sometimes ugly, and I love every part of it.

How to find the time to bullet journal

It never occurred to me how much time I had been putting in these bullet journals until my friends would, and still tell me, "I'd love to bullet journal if I had the time and creativity for it." (I'll discuss the creativity later.)

I believe bullet journaling was so easy for me to dive into because I built it up slowly. I didn't dive right in and do everything, which might sound a little daunting to most.

Really, this is just a habit. If you want to bullet journal, then do it! If you don't? Then don't. You only make time for the things you feel the need to make time for. So, if a bullet journal sounds like too much effort, it's probably just not for you -- there are tons of planners out there, sometimes personally customized for you!

When I first begin a bullet journal (I've started 6 so far!), I get all giddy and excited and I sit down at my desk with my colors and get started. It's honestly the most satisfying thing in the universe, and the sensation never changes, even when the task is almost like second nature by now. You should feel like that, not stressed and limited on time.

So remember, a bullet journal is your safe space, your journal. Make it fun! Don't worry about it being perfect, and just spend a little bit of time adding to it, making it yours. The time will come naturally.

I usually only add to my journal briefly in the morning and night, anyways, and on Sundays, I prepare myself for the upcoming week.

How to find the creativity to bullet journal

Honestly, I'm not an avid drawer or anything, and before beginning a bullet journal, I was only creative in writing, so I don't believe that "not being creative enough" is an excuse not to start a bullet journal!

And, I will admit, I've gathered most of my inspiration, page ideas, and weekly spreads from Pinterest.

You don't need to be creative to start a bullet journal. What you need is a desire to find your creativity. Everyone is creative and has that same desire to expand, flourish, create.

It doesn't matter if you have no artistic ability -- if you do indeed want to start a bullet journal, pick up that pen and make those pages messy! Over time, you'll become more creative, trust me.

Here are all of my bullet journals (minus 2!)

Gathering the supplies

For the journal. I'd recommend just going on Amazon and getting yourself an $8 dotted journal here. Or, Hobby Lobby has some cute sketchbooks that also work, if you don't enjoy dotted. Or, of course, a normal notebook works.

I bought my pencil bag on Amazon here, and I completely recommend it! (And yes, please get a pencil bag, you'll appreciate yourself.)

My favorite pen is G2-Pilot! I have about three of these in my pencil bag at all times, the remainder of the items in my pencil bag being: colored pencils, a sharpener, washi tape (which you can find in Hobby Lobby), some colorful pens, and some plain pencils for sketching. The supplies aren't complicated, but it'd benefit you if they were portable!

Setting up your journal

Now, for the fun part!

Your bullet journal only needs (whether you need it, though, is entirely up to you) a few things, such as an index, yearly spread, etc. Everything else is entirely up to you.

Also. Because I figured this post would already be lengthy, I wrote a separate post, 30 bullet journal page ideas, for you to have available once you've completed setting the foundation of your journal!

So, here is how I lay out the beginning of my bullet journal, with some pictures for some inspiration, perhaps!

1. the index

2. yearly / seasonal spread

3. yearly/seasonal goals

4. monthly log/habit tracker

5. weekly spreads

my weekly spreads are my favorite part of the bullet journal experience, and they vary, so here are a few examples of what they all may look like!

For more ideas, check out 30 bullet journal page ideas

Whew! So, that's that!

As a quick recap, remember that although having a bullet journal does take time if you want to give it a go, don't worry about it too much! Don't worry about being a pro, either, because that's not what this is about. If you've made a bullet journal to post pretty photos and show off on Instagram, you're doing it wrong.

So, dive in, have fun, and become your most productive, organized, abundant self! For example, here are three different pages mushed together:

Thank you for reading!

Do you have a bullet journal? Be sure to share below!

Probably writing,


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