Discussion Post

;the bullet journal life

bookworm things

In the last quarter of last year, I started getting into bullet journaling. A little late to the party, if you go by the multitude of blog posts and instagram photos already circulating the web, but still.

At first, I was intimidated. The photos of the the spreads were organised and artistic and completely out of my ability to produce. Then I realised that the beauty of the bullet journal is that I get to choose how I want it to look. What I want to go into it. I have started and stopped planners so many times because it just never has what I need or want, but finally, here was something I could control.

So I told myself I would blog about it once I got into the swing of things. But what, I asked myself. What do I blog about that hasn’t already been covered? ElgeeWrites suggested writing about balancing between the practical and the ‘interesting’ bullet journal, and that gave me the beginnings of an idea.

the bullet journal life

I didn’t choose the bullet journal life, the bullet journal life chose me.

That is to say – I did not expect to fall into it at all. Yes, I have spent a long time admiring the spreads I would see on instagram. The colourful pages, the organisation of it all, the artistic letterings. It was all gorgeous and useful and so utterly unattainable to me.

It just seemed out of reach. I am not the artistic one in my family. Not in the drawing, painting sense of it all. Words, I can do. Art? Not so much.

But there was this urge there. Here was a planner that I could design to suit me. To tailor to fit my needs. I could have a to-read list, a to-watch list. I could keep track of my blogging, of my business set up, of my writing.

I could do whatever I wanted.

It exhilarated me and terrified me in equal measure.

What if it did not look good?

What if it was not for me?

wish watch list

The trick is to find a balance. A balance between (moderately) aesthetically pleasing so you want to flip open your planner and actually use it, and practical for your own abilities.

I have pages where I have told myself I will come back and doodle on, because I do not trust my current level of skills. I have pages where the I drew out things in pencil before going over them in coloured pens.

And then I have pages where I have approached things in a simple manner, filled with words and colour-coded in a way I sometimes need to flip back to the key to remember.

Hey, I never claimed to have found a perfect method. Just one that is working for me.

oct weekly

And I am constantly adapting. Pintrest has been a lot of help in this regard. Ideas for spreads and titles and pages I want to add to my little notebook of everything are added almost daily to my BuJo Inspo board.

A few must haves that I swear by?

  • Monthly and weekly logs.
  • To-read list for us readers, for sure.
  • Habit tracker! This one I added in my second month journaling and honestly, it spurs me to be better at being productive.
  • A space to jot down ideas and thoughts that don’t seem to belong anywhere. (I saw someone call it a ‘brain dump’ on a spread and now I title it that too.)
  • A place for little quotes that can motivate you during the week/month.

quote pens

If you bullet journal, what are your must have pages? Are you the artistic type or, like me, are you somewhere between wanting to be and not having the capability?

If you don’t journal, do you have any interest in starting? What are your thoughts on bullet journals?

2016-04-12 11:46

I’m Ara, a Southeast Asian writer who someday hopes to have published a novel, and who is currently losing herself in the worlds created by others. I love books and food and television and blogging and I get distracted and sidetracked easily.


  • Debbie

    I love the Bullet Journal! I am so happy I found it. It gives me piece in my mind when I am creating new spreads and you can adapt it to your life, like college or your blog. I have always been someone who loves to make lists so I won’t forget stuff and now I do it in my bullet journal.

    • Ara

      I relate to this so much! I just started a page for planning my daughter’s first birthday party, and it’s right next to a page about a blog post I was planning and it DOESN’T MATTER because you can adapt it to suit you however you want.

  • Lia

    I used to try and bullet journal but I think I tried to make it too aesthetically pleasing and not functional enough. This makes me want to try it again! I think having a planner would really be helpful for me but I don’t want to spend too much time designing pages.

    • Ara

      I feel like in order to make it more functional, it’d be easier to use it first and doodle in later? Like, make it functional first so that you can use it, and then add the aesthetics over time?

  • Kristina

    Ooooh I like this ! you *almost* inspire me to head out and get one of thoses square-y journals right away ! If Id knew id stick to it, xD thing is I still have my brand new planner … which, I guess I could use both anyway but write more though onto my bujo, mmh .. tbh not being artistic fear me aswell ..

    • Ara

      You could always turn your brand new planner into a bujo? The beauty of the bujo is that you can use any notebook! I’m sure there are ways to adapt your planner into a bujo if you want to?

      • Kristina

        okay, trying again as it refused to post my answer the other day; sadly I cannot ;/ it’s a pre-filled planner and stuff. However, I did went ahead and got a blue Leuchtturm 1917 dotted and got mom to start with me too ! ☺ I got her a purple one, same as me.

  • Atheera

    I simply love bullet journal because i can write my to do list, plan my days, track my habits and also do some artsy stuff (even though im not good at it). And by the end of the year i feel proud that at least i have done something to make my life organised.

    Nice post! Keep it up!

    ☆ Atheera ☆

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