This is not a post where my intentions are to brag. Instead, I want to show you that it’s possible to create a bullet journal you are proud of, no matter where you started.
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My First Bullet Journal
My first bullet journal was a lined hardcover notebook from my local Shopko. The only colored pens I had were four Sharpie Pens. Which, by the way, are great for bullet journaling. I still love writing with the black Sharpie Pen. I didn’t have any experience with bullet journaling except what I had seen in Ryder Carrol’s video and the images on Pinterest. Was I overwhelmed? Yes! But, I still tried to create colorful, pretty spreads.
Looking back, they aren’t so pretty in comparison. But, nonetheless, it’s where I started. And I’m incredibly proud of my own artistic progress and have no shame showing you guys. We all start somewhere. Whether you are an absolute beginner that hasn’t handwritten or doodled anything in years or a skilled artist, you can get better.
Browse through this first slideshow to see what my first bullet journal looked like.
My Current Bullet Journal
I’ve been at this for a year. For some reason, I thought it had been longer, but it’s only been a year. And in one year, I am blown away by my progress.
I see major differences in:
- My day to day handwriting
- My calligraphy/faux calligraphy
- Ability to compose more visually attractive layouts
I now use a Leuchtturm1917 and have so many pens that it makes my fiance’s head spin. My head is firmly attached and I have no doubts about my mental stability, regardless of my pen addiction. Do I credit my progress to the supplies? Not necessarily. But, I do think that finding writing instruments that work well for you in a major bonus. Depending on how large I want my writing I use either the Sharpie Pen (still a favorite) or Pigma Microns.
Check out this slideshow of my newest bullet journal to see the progress I have made over the course of a year.
How I Made Progress and How You Can Too
There is no quick shortcut. But, it is possible to become more artistic and improve your skills. The first and most important tip is to give yourself time, be patient, and be consistent. That is the number one thing you need to remember. You aren’t going to wake up one day and be a hyperrealism artist if you were drawing stick figures beforehand. Don’t get too discouraged with yourself. Don’t rip all those pages out. And don’t give up.
So, once you fully understand that first part, you can move on to these following tips.
Write in your journal every day. I do mean every day. If you want to get better at something, whether it be yoga, music, or creativity, you have to practice A LOT. And if it’s that important to you, you make it a priority. Write out the alphabet a few times. Practice writing words in cursive. Join a doodle challenge. Just be sure to make time to work on your skills.
Get an Instagram and a Pinterest account. If you don’t already have an Instagram or Pinterest account, get them. Even if you don’t want to post anything on Instagram, you can follow people. The same goes for Pinterest. It only takes an email address, and it’s worth it. There is so much inspiration between these two social media platforms that you might be overwhelmed with beautiful bullet journals. The idea is to study what you like and try to replicate it. This works for writing, doodles, layouts, habit trackers, etc. I get most of my inspiration from other people. I combine ideas, try new things, and figure out what works for me.
Trace. Print out a doodle or a word in calligraphy that you really like. Trace it a few times. Muscle memory is an incredible thing. If you trace something enough, it’s likely that you will soon be able to do it without the image you are tracing.
Find supplies you love. This could be a notebook that has smooth paper or pens that feel like they were meant for your hands. But, I’m telling you, finding a good writing tool is crucial to improving your handwriting. Remember, there is a huge variety of pen nibs. Try a ballpoint pen. Try a fine point pen. And if it appeals to you, grab a calligraphy pen. Try each style and find what works best in your hand.
How long have you been bullet journaling? Do you feel like you’ve made progress? Tell me in the comments below.
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