Bullet Journaling

June Hill, Executive Editor

   Life can be messy, and sometimes planners, Google Calendar and mental notes just don’t cut it. That’s why bullet journaling, an increasingly popular trend among the youth of today, is used as a way to keep everything – from homework and orthodontist appointments to sleep trackers and sudden sparks of inspiration – organized and all in one place.  

     Allison Lantz (10?) began her journal journey in 2019. Her notebook, a bright orange one from Amazon decorated with washi tape and the phrase “i’m outta here” written in cursive, helps her keep track of memories, weekly goals and books she has read. Like many people with a bullet journal, Lantz was inspired by creators on Youtube when she began hers. 

     “(I saw people like) Amanda Rach Lee doing it and I just thought ‘oh, that looks so cool’ so I just wanted to start one myself,” Lantz said. 

     Youtube is a great place to start for aspiring bullet journalers as there are literally thousands of videos detailing all different ways to build your notebook. Pinterest is also a wealth of ideas, but one of the pros to bullet journaling is that you don’t have to follow an exact template. Lantz, who has artistic tendencies, appreciates how her journal allows her to express creative energy.

     “Every single month you get to draw out exactly what you want and make it look super cute and pretty,” Lantz remarked. 

     This personalization aspect of bullet journaling is freeing to many people who keep them. Minseo Kim (10) felt like she was struggling to keep up with last school year, and thought the boring pre-set planners she picked up at the store didn’t suit her needs. To remedy this, she started bullet journaling as a way to build exactly what she wanted and to get her back on top. 

     “I love that you get to be really creative, like the possibilities are endless and there is nothing you can’t do,” said Kim. “I wish I would see more people doing it because it’s such a helpful tool. It unleashes your creativity and individuality!” 

     Karina Tessier (11) also felt like she needed a new way to stay organized, and bullet journaling was the perfect avenue to combine that with her passion for art. She has had a bullet journal for two years now, and is well into her second notebook. Tessier has bullet journaling down to a science, knowing exactly when and for how long she needs to work on it in order to keep up. 

     “[I work on it] 15 minutes daily maybe, and if you do a little every class period then it doesn’t take long at all,” Tessier said. 

     Starting a bullet journal can be daunting. You might think you are not creative enough or would be too busy to work on it, but those excuses should not keep you from creating one, especially if you need to manage your time better. However, bullet journaling can be time consuming, especially if you are a bit of a perfectionist. It takes Kim anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to fully design a page.

     “(Sometimes) it overwhelms me with freedom, but as long as I get some kind of foundation or inspiration I’m okay,” Kim said. 

     And even the pros have to take a break sometimes. Take it from Lantz who after working on her journal for a year, stopped in mid January.

     “I even made my 2020 start up for the year page but I just really haven’t been keeping up with it. When you make things a priority they become less fun and it kind of becomes a chore,” Lantz said. “I’m just waiting until I want to do it again.”

     Lantz is sure her bullet journaling days are far from over, and knowing that it doesn’t have to be perfect is comforting. Lantz tends to freehand her designs.

     “I’m not very specific about how I organize it, (and) you can make it super detailed or as minimalistic as you want,” Lantz said. 

     And, surprisingly, you don’t really need any artistic talent to have a bullet journal. 

     “You definitely should have an artsy interest, but you don’t have to be good at it. You just have to want to do something creative, but other than that I think anyone can do one,” Tessier said. 

     Kim says she is not a creative person, but to make up for her lack of artistic ability, her journal is full of stickers and geometric designs that she made with the help of a ruler. Her journal also features gorgeous, looping calligraphy, which she taught herself how to do using YouTube.

     Lantz, Kim, and Tessier all have preferred drawing utensils that suit their specific needs. Where Lants loves her watercolor pens and thin black Sharpies, Tessier is devoted to her Tombow markers, which explode out of her large pencil case as she unzips it. Kim uses the pigma micron fineliners, and as mentioned, plenty of adorable stickers. However, you don’t need any fancy pens. Even pencils and any old marker would do the trick.

     Bullet journaling is a great way for people to personalize and organize their planners, and if you are looking for a way to up your organization game, bullet journaling is the way to go. Working on a journal is satisfying but the final result is always the best part. 

     “It’s really calming and you know you will just be able to like go through it and mark everything off your little checklist,” Tessier said. “It’s something I’m never going to throw away because it’s so pretty!”