Finally, a Bullet Journal That Works For Me

I have tried for so long to create a bullet journal which pleased me. I drew lines on a Moleskine, I added sketches to a Leuchtturm1917, I searched Instagram for images so that I could bullet journal properly.

What is “properly”? I have discovered that it is the way that works for me, not copying someone else. I cannot draw like Frederica (@feebujo). I cannot use Zebra mild liners to box off my pages into colorful segments. I do not want to record my Mood or Self Care.

The best way for me, as I finally discovered, was to open this Mother and Child leather journal which was made in Italy. It is to use my Mont Blanc Meisterstück, both so special to me that I have never used either one although I’ve owned them for decades. (What was I planning, to “save them for the wake” as my father says?)

My plan is to keep the pages simple. Clean. And significant to me. I have a spread for thankfulness, for my Bible reading plan, for books I’ve both received from publishers and read. Of course, there is a calendar too, laid out across two pages as my writing has always been a bit on the large side.

Someday I may return to my beloved Midori Traveler’s Notebooks. But for now, I want a book which can hold all I want to write: plans, dreams, memories, events. And, I am finally using the beautiful stationery I have acquired in which to do so.

Do you keep a journal? Do you save your lovely notebooks instead of writing in them? Is there a system that works for you? I would love to know.

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll (“With each page, you improve your ability to discern the meaningful from the meaningless.”)

You can’t imagine the number of flags I’d scattered throughout this book. It seems that almost every page had something I wanted to think about, remember, and record in this post to show you the power of the Bullet Journal. (Just in case you are unfamiliar with it.)

Whether you’re an experienced Bullet Journalist or a newcomer, The Bullet Journal Method is for anyone struggling to find their place in a digital age. It will help you get organized by providing simple tools and techniques that can inject clarity, direction, and focus into your days. (p. 11)

Perhaps you have seen the brief, but extremely helpful, video that Ryder put forth on It was enough to get me started with the bullet journal system. But, I wanted an even more in-depth explanation, and this book gives me exactly that.

I have been a journalist for most of my life. My journals have been the place to record a written “scrapbook” of my life; they contain memories, catharsis, and a written record of how I’ve grown and what I’ve learned. I have always known the power of writing things down. But, I have never looked at journaling as a way to be more productive.

…to be more productive we need a way to stem the tide of digital distractions. Enter the Bullet Journal, an analog solution that provides the offline space needed to process, to think, and to focus. When you open your notebook you automatically unplug. It momentarily pauses the influx of information so your mind can catch up. (p. 17)

After Ryder gives compelling evidence for the need to keep a Bullet Journal, he carefully explains the ways to do so. He begins with Rapid Logging.

Rapid logging will help you efficiently capture your life as it happens so that you may begin to study it. (p. 59)

One begins with a Topic, so that you can define the purpose of what you’re recording, and so that you have a reference to go back to. (The only time not to use a Topic is when one is writing a Daily Log.) Under the Topic go the Bullets, which are a concise but clear way to capture:

  1. Things you need to do (Tasks, marked with a bullet dot)
  2. Your experiences (Events, marked with an open dot)
  3. Information you don’t want to forget (Notes, marked with a dash)

Interspersed with his explanations, Ryder has included photographs of sample bullet journal pages which help clarify exactly what he means and how to implement his system.

The book goes on to contain information about Collections (which consist of the Daily Log, Monthly Log, and Future Log, as well as any personal collections one might wish to add), the Index, Migration, and Threading. It contains ways to keep habit trackers, gratitude, goals, and reflections. There is a section with Frequently Asked Questions and content from the community of bullet journalers. It is a clear and concise explanation of a system which is helping people define their goals and find the time they thought they didn’t have.

The Bullet Journal Method will be published October 23, 2018. It is a book I wholeheartedly recommend for its ability to “track the past, order the present, and design the future.”

My Midori Traveler’s Notebook…and the 5th Anniversary Edition of the Bullet Journal

Quite possibly you know of how much I adore my Midori Traveler’s Notebook. The leather’s lustre is almost divine now, after three years of constant use, and the insert for the daily diary, at least, is exactly how I like it.

And then there arrived in my inbox an announcement of the Bullet Journal’s special edition celebrating its five years of existence and fabulous success.

The cover is designed by Frederica Santorini, who lives in Rome. I have long admired her talent on Instagram (@feebujo) so it is especially lovely to have one of the limited editions of this journal.

But the best part of all is how we are reminded to “Do what works for you”, and that “Less is more.” In a world filled with the comparison that social media can cause, and the way that my culture tends to feel that “more is better than less”, I am grateful to be reminded of these truths.

I am looking forward to trying the Bullet Journal system in January 2019. How about you? Do you have a journal system of which you are quite fond?

Bitten by The Bullet Journal Bug

I can’t remember when I didn’t write in a journal. At five years of age my grandmother took me to Winnipeg, and I clearly remember her spelling The Golden Boy so that I could accurately record what I saw on top of the Manitoba Legislative Building in my red leather diary.

When I was 11, and passing through France with my parents, I remember writing nonstop in a little blue wirebound notebook, having finished Harriet The Spy earlier that year and becoming convinced that I could be one.

Other journals have come and gone, all of them are stored in boxes down in the basement, and now I have become utterly enchanted with the bullet journal.

The idea, found here, is simple. Begin with a key if you like, clarifying the symbols you will use:


followed by an Index (which acts as a Table of Contents):


and then a Future Log for the next six months (I kept mine two to a page for room to add events):


Next come daily logs, which record each day’s events or tasks. At first I tried what many bullet journalists do, creating a decorated spread:


But, I much prefer a minimal spread like this (even though it was barely filled in when I took the picture):


After watching many, many bullet journalers on YouTube and Instagram, I decided to try a “Monthly Tracker” which is effective for recording one’s habits, or noticing how one doesn’t keep them up as one should:


and the Gratitude Journal, recorded here as 1,000 Gifts in Ann Voskamp‘s style, keeps a lovely record of thankfulness.


There is much discussion about which notebook is best, generally narrowed down to the Moleskine (which I have pictured here) and the Leuctthurm1917 from Germany.

While I am a bullet journal newbie, I love the organization of it, and the way the writer can adapt it to his or her needs. I’ve even included a page to record the ARCs which come every week from publishers, hoping that will help me keep track of who sent what novel and when it will be published.

So tell me, are you a bullet journaler? Am I the only book blogger to find this so long after its inception?