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10 Bullet Journal Basics for Bujo Newbies

Elizabeth from Jihi Elephant wrote these tips for those who are looking to start bullet journaling. 
When you begin bullet journaling, it can be super overwhelming, and you might feel like giving up. Perhaps you haven’t even started for fear of ruining it. Every bullet journalist experiences those feelings, here are some tips from an experienced bullet journalist to help get you started.

 

Start Simple

I highly, highly recommend this. Some bullet journals are incredibly complex and detailed, when you look at them, they seem impossible to replicate. So, do not try to replicate the most complex layouts right off the bat. Start simple and easy, you can then always experiment and add details to the layouts.
goals planner bujo

Build Slowly

Do not start out with a million different layouts and trackers for a single week or month. If you start too big, you will quickly become overwhelmed and be more likely to give up. Start out with a few simple layouts and then add and try out new layouts as you grow your bullet journal.
bullet journal august spread

Practice, Practice, Practice

Handlettering and faux calligraphy are often used to make beautiful bullet journal pages. First, do not feel like that means you should also have good handwriting. Bullet journaling is a tool that is 100% customizable. That means you do with your bullet journal what works for you. However, if you wish to improve your doodling or handwriting, I recommend patience and practice. Practicing is the best way to improve your handlettering, and it can take a long time before you see significant improvement. Keep in mind, many of the journalists you are comparing yourself to have been practicing, even teaching, handlettering for years.

Have Fun

Bullet journaling is meant to make your life easier, not stressful. So, be sure you are enjoying your journal and having fun with it. Do not get caught up on perfection or trying every single layout you see, unless you can have fun doing so. The more fun you have with you bullet journal, the more you will like your journal.

Start In Pencil

Starting in pencil is the best way to avoid mistakes, especially when playing around with new page designs or when adding art. While mistakes are often easy to cover up or shrug off with a little joke or some white out, mistakes can often be avoided by using a pencil. The best part about starting off in pencil is that pencil erases and no one ever needs to know.

Use A Cheaper Notebook First

Bullet journaling books like the Leuchtturm 1917 or Rhodia Goalbook can often be expensive, and I hear many bujo newbies avoid starting their bullet journal for fear of ruining their new fancy notebook. To avoid this dilemma, try starting out in a cheaper notebook. My favorite cheap bullet journal notebook is the Essentials grid and dot notebooks. Their quality is up to par with the previously mentioned journals, but cost significantly less. If you start up with a cheaper notebook, there is less pressure.

Learn The Origin

Learning about how the bullet journal started can be super insightful into moving forward with your notebook. When I got started, I thought that bullet journals had to be super detailed and artistic, when this is in fact, not how bullet journaling began. I recommend checking out the original bullet journalist, Ryder, and the Bullet Journal website to learn more.

Get Inspired

Find inspiration in others’ bullet journals. Simply doing a search of ‘bullet journal’ on Google, on Pinterest, or on Instagram can give you a million different ideas for your own bullet journal. Save some of the images you want to try and be sure to give the original creator credit as your inspiration!

Do Not Strive For Perfection

Perfection is the enemy. Do not strive for perfection, even the most practiced and skilled bullet journalists make mistakes, and that is okay. You have to become okay with making mistakes. Whiteout will become your friend, and you may have to cover up a page, paint over a mistake, add an “oops!”, and even ripping pages out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
 

Ask Questions

Do not be afraid to ask others’ questions. There are dozens of Facebook groups dedicated to bullet journaling and asking questions and helping other journalists to improve their own journal. Do not be afraid to join a group and ask questions. You will be glad you asked!
Bullet journaling shouldn’t be scary and stressful, if you are feeling overwhelmed by your bullet journal, give some of these 10 tips a try!
 

About the Author

This post was written by Elizabeth of Jihi Elephant. Elizabeth has been bullet journaling since 2014 and has been blogging about bullet journaling since early 2017. Elizabeth loves keeping her layouts minimal and strives to not only grow the community but bring the bullet journaling and planning community together, one journal at a time.