My style is constantly evolving.
A little over a year ago, I set aside my fears and made my first mark in my bullet journal. Best decision I ever made. I’m probably going to sound like a parrot here saying the same thing a million times, but I spent months looking at bullet journal spreads before I actually did anything about it. It’s been an incredible journey so far and I’m incredibly excited to see where else it will take me. If you’re already an experienced bullet journaler, you already know this but if you’re new or haven’t started yet, here are the ways that my bullet journal style has changed over the last year.
The First Edition
I wasn’t ready to buy into the because I didn’t want to waste my money on something if it went nowhere. I’m cheap. I had an Arc by M (from Staples Canada) on hand that I was using for work before, so I decided to go with a discbound bullet journal.
My very first weekly page… was not pretty. I aspired to be like all the other gorgeous bullet journals out there with the fancy lettering and funky layouts… Having never used a brush pen before, I had no idea what I was doing. It’s squished up, it’s boxy, and oh my lanta, look at those flourishes. I have to laugh at it. Honestly, I’m still proud to show it off here but that’s because it not only shows me how far I’ve come, but it was a cornerstone of my life where everything changed.
Once I did a couple layouts in this discbound, I realized that I really did want to spring for that classic Leuchtturm1917 notebook, now that I knew I would continue! I barely even used the discbound before I made the switch. Here’s why for me: I couldn’t find dot grid paper anywhere. I find this odd. You can get blank, ruled and graph paper but in no store (at least in Winnipeg) could you get dot-grid. I wound up building a dot grid format on my computer and printed it at my local Staples but who wants to spend that much money just on paper? I didn’t have a printer of my own at the time.
So a few days after realizing I liked the system, I ran out and got my beautiful Emerald Leuchtturm1917!
When I Didn’t Have a Clue
When I first started my bullet journal, I had no idea what type of style I wanted to follow. I absolutely loved all the artsy ones but I was out of practice. I thought the minimalist designs were boring. I had high hopes for how my spreads would look but they all fell flat. I thought lots of colour would be great, but honestly, most of my spreads ended up looking half-assed to me. I’m also a perfectionist so it wasn’t the best time for me.
I think the biggest takeaway here is the fact that despite those feelings of not making it nice enough, I still kept going. I kept bullet journaling. That’s because it was the most functional planner I’ve ever had. Functionality beat out aesthetic by a long shot!
I tried so many different styles in the beginning that really, I was just replicas of other ideas I had seen, but no identity of my own.
Okay, There’s Something Here
The week of March 19-25 was a turning point for me. I created a spread that was clean, fresh and pretty all in one. This is one of my favourite spreads still to this day! This is the week that I started to develop my own bullet journal style. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m looking for progress not perfection! I followed this spread with another weekly log that I loved and the first monthly log I really liked!
Another important thing to note here is that I’ve already been seeing a huge difference in the quality of my penmanship! My writing is getting more legible, more consistent and evenly spaced.
The spring and early summer are a key part of my evolution here because I was loving my bullet journal so much that it became something I couldn’t wait to do when the kids were in bed rather than something I had to do to get organized! Figuring out a new layout is incredibly fun and I started noticing my creativity coming back.
My birthday is March 16th and I asked my family to get me bullet journal supplies. I wanted the Zebra Mildliners and brush pens and fancy pens, and I got em!
The More Content The Better…Not
This statement is wrong. Just saying. I started cramming so much into every page. At this point, I had opened my home daycare and there’s a lot of items I needed to track: attendance, meals, diaper changes, naps… I was convinced that no matter how many items I had, I had to fit it all into my bullet journal spread because that was the entire point of this system. Well let me tell you from experience, that’s really not the case. Ever since I switched to a traveller’s notebook, I’ve had more flexibility to put as much or as little as I wanted on my pages.
While I would mostly agree that the bullet journal can absolutely be an all-in solution, it’s not right for everybody to be used that way. I was so against the traveller’s notebook system but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even when I didn’t have as much content or items to track, I still filled every square millimetre of the page with something. Way too cluttered!!
My Brief Affair With Washi
Funny story. I hated washi tape. Couldn’t stand it. I’m not meaning to be mean but I always thought it made pages look terrible, all broken up. Then I found this absolutely GORGEOUS pack at Michael’s and I couldn’t resist. Granted, I actually used it to make a wallet-type insert for my traveller’s notebook, but I wound up using it on a couple spreads to see how it would look.
I haven’t used it since.
The Artsy Bullet Journal
I moved on to spreads that had more art: doodles, sketches and drawings. It started with the solar eclipse and grew into my favourite monthly spread in September, and my favourite welcome page for October. Feeling inspired, I continued to draw more. I did a portrait of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Negan and Rick when The Walking Dead season premiered and a portrait of my grandfather in honour of his 10 years since passing (November 2, 2007) and Remembrance Day.
My bullet journal officially got me back into drawing, back to the creativity I had so many years ago. I was in art classes all through grade school and while I didn’t major in fine art, I did take a class at university as well. I fell off the art wagon shortly after deciding that I didn’t want to continue the education I initially started and went on a search to find a career I would love. It’s been almost 10 years since I felt this desire to create art and it’s because of Ryder Caroll that I have.
New Year, New Style
My 2018 bullet journal is heavily inspired by the beautiful galaxy Dreamdori I got from Dream and Anchor. I will be primarily using the colours inspired by space though not necessarily following a space theme.
My intention with this bullet journal is to keep the style simple and minimalist, with a bit of art thrown in. I would like to keep my drawings and challenges out of my bullet journal and instead into sketchbooks where they belong. As much as I love drawing in my bullet journal and I love the portraits I’ve done in my previous one, I don’t love the fact that my portraits are now covered in the dot grid pattern and not available for me to hang on a wall or, dare I say it, perhaps sell one day.
The Takeaway: Evolve With Your Bullet Journal
The bottom line here is to remember that your style will constantly change. That’s the beauty of the bullet journal: it evolves as you evolve. It can change as your needs change, as your life changes and as you grow. Let’s evolve together!