How to Start a Bullet Journal

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Journaling is a great way to get out your emotions, document your day, and let those creative juices flow, but if you don’t like writing or don’t have the time to dedicate to writing out full entries, journaling can quickly turn into a chore. Bullet journaling can fix that.

Bullet journaling is a type of journaling that includes pictures, doodles, and lists, instead of blocks of written entries. It’s perfect for the person who wants to get out all of their feelings and organize their life without having to write it all out.

Before you get started on your journaling adventure, check out some of these tips to help make your experience as fun as possible.

Gather your supplies

The first step to creating a bullet journal is gathering your supplies. The main things you need are a notebook, a pencil, and some sort of colorful writing utensil, like markers, colored pencils, or pens.

A lot of blogs will recommend pricey items, like special bullet journals that are laid out in a grid to help you draw straight lines and an “official” bullet journal notebook with grid paper and a symbol index. While these notebooks are nice to have, they’re not necessary, so don’t feel like you need to purchase one in order to get started. Any ordinary notebook will do the job just fine.

Check out bullet journaling blogs and websites

The beautiful part about bullet journaling is that there are no rules–your journal can take on whatever form you want it to. However, sometimes having a blank notebook can be daunting, so make sure to check out other journaling blogs for inspiration.

On those sites you’ll learn how to make an index and lay out pages for yourself. You can also see what other people use their journals for. Some people turn it into a personal planner, with monthly calendars and goals and weekly planning. Other people use it as a tracking system to list books they’ve read or movies they’ve watched in the past year. Others still use it as an entirely creative outlet with doodles and quotes covering the pages.

Check out all of these options and pick the one that’s best for you or combine all three for a completely unique journaling experience.

Expect mistakes

The biggest mistake you can make when journaling is not expecting mistakes. If you’re new to doodling and drawing, there is definitely a learning curve to power through. Not every page will look exactly as you planned it out in your head. The words will be wobblier and the colors won’t look right. You might even spend an hour writing out a calendar page only to realize next month you never used it–that’s okay.

Journaling is a learning experience and as you spend more time doing it, you’ll get better and learn more about what you want out of your journal.

Don’t compare your journal to anyone else’s

Above all, don’t compare your journal to anyone’s online. A lot of the people who write blogs have been journaling for years and they can do calligraphy and flower borders like a pro. Unless you were born with a secret, undiscovered calligraphy skill your journal will not look like theirs for a long time.

The point is to keep going and create a piece of useful art designed especially for yourself.

Note: The Bullet Journal is a trademark created by Ryder Carroll. For more information on the official Bullet Journal visit the website.

Our Writers

Meghan is a senior at Lock Haven University with majors in English and Communication and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. When she’s not writing, Meghan can be found drinking iced coffee, reading Bustle articles, or spending too much time on Pinterest.

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