Bullet Journaling: My Way Or The Highway, Pal

Okay, so bullet journaling has become kind of a big thing.

And, yes, I know I’m a bit late to the party. Aren’t I always? It’s my unique trademark.

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The truth is that I meant to post this ages ago, but time-sensitive or seasonal blog posts kept popping up and demanding to be written and this one got pushed to the wayside. Poor baby.

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Bullet journaling!

Essentially, bullet journaling is speed journaling. It is designed so that you can catalog your entire day in a tidy and objective and succinct way.

Actually that makes it sounds way more revolutionary than it is. 

It is not revolutionary.

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Bullet journaling is for people who are too lazy to invest in a real journal. To put it rather harshly.

I did my research. So I do, in fact, know what I am talking about. And there are some aspects of bullet journaling I like and decided to implement. I’m good at that, you see. Evaluating something, stealing the good, and leaving the rest.

I guess you should know that I am what you might call an intense journaller.

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An expert, as it were.

I have been journaling since I was a little girl and it has helped me maintain my grip on reality through some dark times. Writing has never been optional for me. I am absolutely serious when I say that if I did not write, I would go insane. I need to write. Writing is my therapy.

Let us return, therefore, to the topic at hand. Bullet journaling.

I have adopted the Index, the page numbering, and the title for each entry. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t think of these myself? Ouch. 

An index, now that is what I call brilliant. Like the index in the back of a textbook, this is simply a series of pages in the back of the journal where you list what is written about on which page. Which is why you need to title each entry and number every page… It wouldn’t work too well otherwise…

Another thing I’m doing differently is not dating entries. See, normally I work through a journal, er, chronologically? This time I decided to open to a blank page and just… write.

This is oddly freeing, I must say. And it makes the journal less gushing about my personal life and more focused on honing my writing skills. Not that gushing is wrong – for many years, that was what I needed. That’s alright. But I’ve been wanting to move in a new direction and this is a good step.

Titling each entry also helps force me to stay on topic – instead of rambling about anything and everything.

So. There are some things I decided to use in my journal. But most of it was perfectly useless.

The “future log,” for example. Like most people, I have a bucket list… but why use up journal space that I could be using to write about right now to write about what I am going to do in ten years? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, if you ask me.

Plotting out the next year seems silly. Things change. Plans aren’t permanent. So… I would fill in birthdays I already have memorized. Yeah.

The monthly log is similar. My schedule is pitifully devoid of commitments. I have no life. We know this. So it isn’t as if I need a place to keep track of all those hot dates and wild parties and special plans. The most exciting part of my life right now is this blog and it has a built-in schedule. Nifty, right?

And now I shall proceed to rant about why bullet journaling is stupid. Brace yourselves!

Bullet journaling is supposedly for people who struggle to keep a regular journal. This way, entries are brief – because actually writing words that form sentences and paragraphs is too hard on the ol’ wrists.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if you struggle to journal consistently, you probably don’t need one. Not only are you far too busy, but you are obviously not suffering emotional for your lack of journaling.

As I said, I would go insane if I didn’t journal. So “finding the time” has never been a problem for me. That’s like someone who takes pills to keep him from imploding saying, “Oh, yes! I’ve always wanted to take them regularly because I know it would be good for me.. but I just can’t seem to be consistent.”

When you truly need something, you don’t just forget. It doesn’t slip you mind. You don’t have “find the time.”

It is a priority.

In the end, then, I’d say the logic behind bullet journaling is flawed. What those people need is a planner and lots of reminders, not a journal.

Now you might be saying, “Okay, so I clearly don’t need journaling like some people do, but I want to journal because I am a writerly bean and journaling seems like a good habit to form.”

I like you, for starters.

I love journaling. I think everyone should do it.

But if you don’t need to journal, I doubt it’s going to stick. No matter how hard you try.

I don’t think of journaling as a habit, a part of my daily routine, like working out or going for a run.

It’s… well, it’s therapy.

People don’t go to therapy unless they need it. They don’t say, “Boy oh boy, does that therapy thing look like fun! I think I shall make it my New Year’s resolution to go every day!”

So. As some smart guy once said, “the first step is recognizing that you have a problem.”

In other words, get to a place where you do need it.

I was driven to journal by my emotions. If you don’t need journaling for emotional reasons, I suggest that you learn how to need it as a writer. Or… an artist. Of whatever kind you happen to be.

Be an artist whose mind is so alive with idea that you will implode if you don’t get them down on paper.

That’s all, folks.

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Okay, talk to me, guys! Do you bullet journal? Do you regular journal? Are you a writerly bean? Do you aspire to be an artist? Will you implode if you don’t regular pour forth your guts onto paper?

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22 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling: My Way Or The Highway, Pal”

  1. SAME HERE!!!! It’s all just random junk pretty much and I laugh at it later, but it helps me process my overactive emotions, so… 🙂

    I knooooow! I am all admiration for those who can, but I don’t even try to make mine pretty.

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  2. Oh. Good point. That’s why I don’t post pictures of mine (well, also because my tablet camera is awful). But, I mean, we’d probably still love to see it???

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  3. Haha yeah, mostly my journal entries would be spaced a month apart and they would either be random venting or just weird… just weird things that I don’t even understand. It all made perfect sense when I wrote it lol…..
    Ha ikr. HOW DO PEOPLE FIND THE TIME TO DRAW BEAUTIFUL PICTURES AND SQUIGGLY LINES IN A BULLET JOURNALS….
    LOL Eh, that’s ok XD It’ll look a lot better than mine LOL XD ❤

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  4. It really would, wouldn’t it?? I’m gonna try that…

    OOH!!!! Now THERE is an idea!!! Although it isn’t a bullet journal… It’s just a…journal thing? I’ve done some pictures of it before, but I’m gonna do a little bit more doodling in the margins…

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  5. Really???? I wonder from where???

    Yessssss!!! I want my head to be overflowing with writerly things! Right now it’s just overflowing with sarcastic dialogue from writing my book… 😛 Perhaps I should start a journal specifically for descriptions…

    I am so excited!!! I’ve already started it a little bit, and it’s going wonderfully!!!! 😀 Although my journal looks extremely messy, BUT THAT IS OKAY!

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  6. Well, it does look fun, I’ll give it that… BUT IT ALSO LOOKS REALLY HARD AND INTIMIDATING??? I am intimidated. I think that’s why I’m so aggressively anti-bullet journaling, to be honest. Because it scares me with its gorgeous awesomeness.

    Best of luck to you, Lydia, with your bullet journal! May it not become animated and devour you whilst you sleep…

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  7. WOWWWWWW. That’s amazing, Evangeline! I think I fill about two journals every year?? Sometimes. It depends muchly on the year…

    Agh, yes! The organization is amazing! IT MUST BE EXHAUSTING TO BE SO PERFECT. 😉

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  8. Aren’t they, though??? I’ve seen so many gorgeous ones! *distant sobbing* I know mine will never be that gorgeous, though. I am simply too focused on getting WOOOOORRDS written down in there and less on making it look pretty…

    Well, good for you! That’s the best place to start, in my opinion!

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  9. Same here! Tried it, failed it… I’m stickin’ with my regular journal, thanks! 🙂

    I’m not sure that journaling every day is a requirement for bullet journaling??? It certainly isn’t with regular journaling! I go days or weeks without writing in it, at times. You only write in it as you need to. As for what to write about, I hear ya. My life is about as boring as a life can be… but I write down random bits of writerly inspiration so I don’t forget, or an attempt at a poem, a snippet, an excerpt, a quote I love, I draw pictures or paste in pictures that my nieces and nephews have drawn for me, or just how I happen to be feeling. Whatever, really. 🙂

    Right?? So many people turn journals into these amazing masterpieces and I must just stand back in awe… 😀

    Aw, thanks! Like I said, my journal isn’t very arty??? So it would just be words and junk and scrawling all over the place, so… 😉

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  10. Okay… so not like a journal at all, then? I guess that’s one way to think about it. 🙂 For me, a regular planner more than suffices, though. 😉

    Right! I took what I liked, left what I didn’t. 😉 One of the biggest problems with bullet journaling for me is that I already do that? My journal has always been an all-in-one kind of a thing… I thought that was the definition of a journal and that everyone did it that way??? Oops! 🙂

    Agh! The aesthetic IS so gorgeous! Unfortunately, I haven’t the time or energy to make something as messy as my journal pretty or aesthetic or a work of art of anything. 🙂

    I did try it for a while… the index and page numbers and titling have stuck, the shorthand stuff didn’t really. 🙂

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  11. I may have heard something about that. 😉

    Yes! Go for it, Kenzie! Like I said, all writers should be journaling because our heads should be overflowing with writerly things!!! YOU CAN DO THIS.

    No, no! I totally encourage you to go for it! Journaling is awesome and if you can find a way to get into the habit, YOU WILL NOT REGRET. 🙂

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  12. Ah! You may come to regret that stand, dear! 😉 I get that it can be really scary to think that someone might stumble upon your deepest darkest secrets and other deeply personal things, but I know that as an adult, I love going back and reading my old journals and that as I get older I will love revisiting the journal I am filling now.

    But if you don’t need it, it probably would be nothing but hard work. I admire you for being able to survive without. Seems pretty incomprehensible to me, but… maybe someday I won’t need one either?? O_O

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  13. That’s so weird because earlier today I sat down and started a bullet journal, but that’s just because I have so many journals and wanted to fill up my last one so . . . I decided to try bullet journaling because it looked fun!
    So far it’s confusing and overwhelming looking at all of the pretty ones on Pinterest. But I’ve only been doing it for a day so it remains to be seen whether or not I’ll like it. XD
    ~Lydia~ ❤

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  14. I could not just do a bullet journal. XD I’ve been journaling for the past 4 years of my life, and I’ve filled up 11 good sized journals. I tend to be way too detailed about EVERYTHING, but I think people who can bullet journal always seem so organized and way cooler than mere mortals. I mean, ORGANIZATION!!! So go, all you bullet journalers, live your dreams.

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  15. I’ve thought about doing a bullet journal, because the ones I’ve seen are JUST. SO. PRETTY-LOOKING. *sighs* But it never comes to fruition. 😛 I do have a regular journal and a notebook where I keep all my ideas and write down dreams and such, but that’s it. 🙂

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  16. I TRIED bullet journaling… key word, tried. I TRIED. I really did. I just don’t have the memory to remember to write in something every single day… ITS SO CONFUSING!!! Idk, I’ve never been a journaling type because I can never remember to write and my life is so uneventful so… what do I write about…
    Except using journaling as a way of getting through hard times, I really never did it…
    BUT I LOVE SEEING IT WHEN OTHER PEOPLE DO THEY ARE SO MUCN MORE COMMITTED THAN ME!!!!
    oh well
    GO YOU AND YOU SHOULD POST PICTURES OF YOUR JOURNAL!!!!! ❤ ❤

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  17. Ooh, interesting post! I think of bullet journaling as a planner with a whole lot of room for thought — and all that stuff about the future log and all that is not required, which is the awesome thing about bullet journaling. You can take out what you don’t want and add what you do, and I love the freedom of being able to turn a page over and brainstorm for a story or sketch a picture or just add an inspirational quote right there in the middle of my homework to-dos. And I can take half a page page or four for a single day, not to mention that the aesthetics are so satisfying. XD But meh. That’s just me, I guess. I’d suggest that you try committing to it for a month or so — you don’t need to do anything fancy with it, you can just keep it minimal if you’d like and take out the stuff you don’t like — and actually give it a shot before casting judgement. XD It’s actually super relaxing and practical!

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  18. I am a writerly bean! (But I think you already knew that??) I don’t necessarily NEED to journal, but…I still want to??? So I’m gonna do it, haha! I FORGE MY OWN PATH!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    Although, I have tried journaling in the past, and it definitely has not stuck, but THAT DOES NOT MATTER, OKAY??? *distant sobbing*

    In all seriousness, though, I really enjoyed this post! It made me want to try journaling again, even if I don’t necessarily NEED it. (Which I think is the exact opposite of what you had intended, haha!)

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  19. I am a writerly bean. I do not like journaling because I like my private thoughts to remain inside my head and not on paper where people can steal them ;D But that’s just me. I’ve tried for years to journal, but like you said, I don’t need it the way you do. Journalling for me is a stress, not therapy.

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