I feel like I should have written this quick guide to starting a bullet journal post a long time ago but there are SO MANY blog posts about how to start a bullet journal that I felt like it wasn’t needed. However after counselling a few friends who have expressed interest in starting their own journals I thought ‘why the hell not’?
I know my stuff and I want to be able to show them and you a really quick guide they can use to help them just get started. This is not an in depth guide. This blog post is meant to be a quick guide and the goal is to help you actually get started on your bullet journal once and for all. So read on and get going!
What is a Bullet Journal?
Whenever I’m asked this question my answer is that it’s basically a diary slash journal that you design and draw yourself. This means that you can set the layouts to the best way that works for you and add creativity and flair if you want a more creative outlet or keep it minimalistic if that works best for you.
I strongly suggest you have a look at the bulletjournal.com intro video to give you a really basic introduction to the core values of the bullet journal system. People have really taken this idea and run with it and it’s seemingly become a lot more complicated. But at its core it hasn’t so if you’re struggling to get your head around all the complicated layouts and spreads return to the basics.
What do you actually need?
The only core things you really need to start a bullet journal are a notebook and a pen. Some people will tell you that you NEED a dot grid notebook or some super expensive brand of journal with high quality paper and an infinite selection of expensive pens. But you really don’t.
If you get back to the core values of the bullet journal you just need a pen and paper. If you want to invest in some new supplies to motivate yourself then by all means go ahead. I personally find that that will keep me accountable if I’ve spent money on my new hobby but everyone is different and you don’t need to buy loads and loads of expensive supplies. Check out our blog post on budget bullet journal supplies for some ideas on supplies that won’t break the bank.
How can I get ideas for spreads?
When looking for inspiration it is extremely easy to get intimidated and overwhelmed with the sheer variety and style of bullet journals. Some people are extremely artistic and intricate with their journals, others are sleek and minimalist.
But remember that your journal is YOURS. It’s great to get inspired but don’t get caught in the comparison trap. As you practice you will perfect how you create your journal but if you never start you’ll never get there.
My best advice is to get on Instagram and Pinterest. They’re both visual platforms where lots of people share their layouts and spreads. The great thing with Pinterest is you can search for specific layouts and get great results. You can also check out my Pinterest boards where I’ve organised layout ideas into different boards to take inspiration from.
How do I put pen to paper?
Once you’ve figure out the basics you’ve got to bite the bullet and dive in. I wouldn’t bother having practice runs in a dud journal, the most I’d recommend is to create a quick list of your pages that you want to include and perhaps sketch it out quickly to go over it in pen.
I often go through my journal and scribble lightly in pencil what each page will be. After I can simply rub it out. It means that if I’m inspired to create a certain layout I already know it will be in the right place. Your first ever spread probably won’t be perfect, you might make a mistake or smudge your ink but at the end of the day what matters is that it works for you. A bullet journal isn’t just style it has a substance to it and that’s why the system is so popular.