As an avid user of a bullet journal, when I saw this book in Waterstones, I HAD to buy it.
Every person that uses a bullet journal uses it for a different reason. Whether it is to study, track habits, keep on top of work or all the above, each bullet journal is completely different. That’s when as soon as I saw this book, I knew I needed to buy it and see what other people genuinely thought and why they used theirs.
You can see anything you want on the internet. Therefore, same goes for people that blog or post their bullet journals on various apps. However, seeing someone’s perfect bullet journal on Instagram and comparing it to your own is sometimes upsetting. How does someone doodle so perfectly? How is their writing so neat? Where do they get these amazing ideas for spreads? Well, this book showed it all- how to keep things simple and pretty, why bullet journaling is important, and of course, ideas for spreads- from yearly spreads and calendars to daily spreads and down to the nitty-gritty.
Simply enough, the book was great! I didn’t really know what to expect, other than the fact that I would surely see some insanely creative spreads, perhaps. Maybe some ideas? I was proved wrong. Miller offers simple spreads that are easy to see, and she makes a good point of why. When you start out journaling, you see all these incredible artists turning their pages into beautiful artwork- from simple watercolour sunset spreads to intricate designs. It can be a little overwhelming, like where do I even start? How do I compare to people that turn their white dotted pages into incredible works of art?
The answer- you don’t. If you start a bullet journal, of course you can wish to do whatever you want with it. However, if you chuck yourself into the deep end of the pool when you don’t know how to swim, you’ll drown. I like to compare bullet journaling to that. If you start out giving yourself too much of a task and too many things to do all at once, one of two things will happen. You will either not be able to keep up with yourself and drown, or give up because you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, and then drown.
That’s exactly what happened to me. I started journaling in January of this year, and I put pressure on myself to post new things every day, but of course soon enough you start running out or feeling unmotivated. By February, I was getting bored with myself. It was the same thing week in week out. I would make my weekly spread and my habit tracker, and of course not do any of it or even look at my journal until I had to heave myself out of bed to make another spread. Basically, I got bored.
So, I waited around two months before I started posting again, but even then, I didn’t really know where to take my bullet journal. I’m a university student, so really the possibilities are endless, and I think that is the problem. There is so much choice of what I can do, and what I can track and what I can draw that I lose myself. This is the point Miller was trying to prove- if you start out too strong you easily burn yourself out or lose confidence in yourself, or if others are enjoying your art.
I think this is a big problem in the community, and something I can also fault myself for. When I first started out, I was obsessively following accounts like mine to up my following, when it doesn’t even matter. You should be doing your journal for your own good, rather than for social gain. I mean, people do what they want, but I’ve realised that in the long run, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have or how many people like your posts, what matters is that you’re happy with your own content.
This was something I was not planning to learn from this book. I was expecting some light-hearted ideas, spreads, another person showcasing their beautifully impossible pages with no mistakes. This book was not that. It showed me that everyone makes mistakes and has bad days when they don’t want to even look at their journal, but also days that you want to fill it with joy, ideas and happiness.
Miller made the book perfectly easy to understand, as well as follow. I have so many things book marked for ideas and reminders that its almost choking from being post-it(ted) so much. It was simple to follow and easy to read (as well as a pleasure!), but full of handy information and tricks. I never even thought about putting an index into my bullet journal to refer to later, but after reading this book, I will definitely be doing so in my 2020 version!
Overall, ‘How To Bullet Plan’ By Rachel Wilkerson Miller is an amazing book. Highly informative, with plenty of ideas and information, especially for those starting out. However, its also handy for those that have been journaling for a while. It’s always nice to see someone else’s perspective on the things you both enjoy for inspiration and a reminder of what you do and why you do it.
Until next time!