A Beginners Guide to Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling has blown up the past few years. If you've never heard of it, you probably aren't a planner person, but you might become one after reading this. Bullet Journals combine planners, notes, tasks, journaling, and braindumps into one super-customizable system. An entire community has blossomed around this idea and today I'm going to walk you through the basics.

01. What is a Bullet Journal?

The original bullet journal system was developed by Ryder Carroll. You can watch his description of the bullet journal in his video (below). Since creating this system, the bullet journal has blown up and become a creative, artistic, and practical way to plan your days and keep ideas on paper. 

Since the planner community, artist, journal fanatics, and business owners have gotten their hands on this system, it's become something a bit different. Most bullet journal videos you find on YouTube look nothing like the original video, and that's okay!

The problem is these beautiful works of art entitled "bullet journals" keep people from trying out this brilliant system because they want things to look perfect. I want to share some of my favorite bullet journaling videos, tools you can use to make things pretty and tips to help you love your journal without feeling like it needs to be perfect.

Your bullet journal can be covered in chicken scratch with coffee-stained pages, or you can have a journal worthy for an art piece. Regardless, the whole point of the bullet journal is to create a custom system that works as your catch-all for ideas, plans, and lists. What you do with it is completely up to you.

That all being said, there are some "cult favorites" when it comes to supplies and page styles, so I thought I would touch on those to give you a glimpse into the world of the BuJo.

02. Our Favorite Supplies

Pens and paper are the basics for a bullet journal. You can use a journal from the dollar store with a regular ol' pencil or you can get fancy.

The Journal

Top three seem to be the Leuchtturm 1917, Dotted Moleskine and Midori Traveler's Journal Inserts. These three are the favorites because they work beautifully with the pens...

The Pens

There are SO many pen choices. Many of them will depend on your personal preference. So for this list, I'll just tell you what I have and what I love.

  • Pilot G2 Ultra Fine Tip (0.38) - I use these for my regular handwriting. They're super thin and let me write tiny notes, but they dry down quickly and don't smear much. They also don't bleed through the pages.
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens - This set comes with a good variety of sizes but is still within a low budget. They last awhile and they're super dark. The only downside is that they need to be written on top of any water-based highlighters otherwise they smear.
  • Zebra Mildliners - These dual-sided pens/highlighters are so much fun to work with, they add great pops of color and they're inexpensive. These work best UNDER the Pitt Artist Pens, otherwise, the color will smear the black ink.
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pens - These are crazy popular, but there is a learning curve to use them properly.

The Accessories

Again. So many to choose from, here are my top used tools:

03. Get Creative

No matter how you use your bullet journal, make it work for you! I like to use my less as a planner and more as a braindump, quick jot, creative book that I can carry with me on the go. For others, this might be your one and only planner. Look up "Bullet Journal" on youtube or Pinterest to get some inspiration!

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