Fighting Bullet Journal Insecurities

I’ve been bullet journaling for almost 4 years now. I first started writing about it on my personal blog and got enough traffic about it that I started this site over here so I wouldn’t confuse any people there for information about bullet journaling when I started to write about boob sweat and politics.

(If you read my personal blog, this is an inside joke. I write a lot about boob sweat and politics.)

My point is? I’ve been using this bullet journal method consistently since 2013 and I’ve got an instagram account and a website and yet…YET…I have lately started to feel very intimidated by the bullet journaling world.

At least once a week someone sends me an article they found on Martha or Oprah or some sort of lifestyle website about bullet journaling and EVERY SINGLE TIME the article is full of these gorgeous spreads and layouts and they are simply works of ART and I think…Um…that’s not quite what I do.

I mean…don’t get me wrong…it’s definitely a system I swear by and promote to anyone who is a chronic list-maker but…I don’t know. I just start to feel insecure that my lettering is kinda boring. Hell, I jazzed up my days just so I could feel more like a real bullet journaler. AND THAT IS THE DUMBEST THING IN THE WORLD.

(Although I do really like the day headings in pretty letters.)

I don’t have time to draw the weather for each day and I’m not talented/artistic enough to have fourteen different gorgeous lettering styles to act as headers and I’m not patient enough to decorate every chart and…AND…AND.

So that’s why I’ve been kinda silent. I felt like I didn’t really match the other bullet journalers I was seeing in these “Must Follow On Instagram!” lists. I wondered why I even bothered keeping up this site when my spreads are just nothing compared to the beautiful ones I see on other instagram accounts.

BUT THEN! Then a friend said to me, “Eh…I’m not artistic enough to be a bullet journaler.” And then, a few days later, I met someone who said, “I don’t have the patience to bullet journal.”

And I realized: WAIT. NO. THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE OUT THERE LIKE ME! Who are not artistic or patient!

So I’m going to keep talking about my simple/non-artistic layouts. I’m going to keep sharing my pages-with-no art. I’m going to keep offering printables to fill in those voids because I can do prettier things digitally than manually. And I’ll get back to posting more on my instagram.

And here’s another moment recently that reminded me why I do this. See, my “thing” is that I use my bullet journal to #PlanDocumentCreate. Here’s a story that shows the “Document” side of my method, and exactly why bullet journaling doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful.

My aunt sent me a VHS tape of Pretty Woman for my birthday a few years ago with a note attached saying she remembered I used to sing every song from the sound track. I didn’t have a VCR so I cut up the case and attached the note in my bullet journal. It was very special as I loved her dearly and it cracked me up that my aunt – A NUN – send me that movie.

Well, three weeks ago that same beloved aunt passed away. After time sent with family and saying goodbye, I pulled out that bullet journal from two years ago and smiled thinking about her gift. And then I took all of the items from her memorial services and gave her another spread as my final tribute.

And now that page will be another I look back on with fondness.

I may not have the prettiest spreads, they may not be the most artistic, but for my life? They all fit the bill.

    Social(ly Awkward):

9 thoughts on “Fighting Bullet Journal Insecurities

  • April 4, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I couldn’t agree more – i’ve started documenting my 1st darling granddaughter – yes phone pics are fine – my dd doesn’t want her in division media – and I live flicking through them with little comments I have made – carry on great work

  • April 4, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Totally agree with you. My BJ is for me, it’s not to share and it’s not a task or job it’s just everything it needs to be for me …scruffy writing, days not writing anything.

  • April 4, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Right there with ya. I am artistic and sometimes I do feel a need to make it pretty BUT I’m working on educating myself that my BuJo is NOT my sketchbook, AND that my sketchbook doesn’t need to be ‘pretty’ either. I became ill with an incurable illness almost a decade ago and I just can’t do neat anymore. Despite that I’ve been trying to, and obviously failing. So now I’m working on embracing being untidy. I don’t have the energy to make super pretty spreads, my BuJo is my therapy partner not a submission for a design competition.
    I recently got my Mum interested in bullet journaling too and her only resource for ideas has been my BuJo. As a consequence she’s come up with what works for her (along with a developing washi tape/pen/sticker addiction. Cue evil laughter!) BUT even so she was also lamenting the other day that she’s not as artistic as me. I said, “So? What does it matter? Nobody but you will see it. It’s to help you, not look pretty.”
    Comparison is the thief of joy, but you have to see examples to learn. I wish all those ‘How To’ blog post’s included a range of styles too, but that won’t matter so much if folks like you (ie: real people being totally honest and realistic) keep blogging about it.
    Sorry about your loss, truly. We’ve had too much loss over the years and I wish I had spreads like yours as comfort. Bravo.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Thank you! My bullet journal is so boring! It’s a book of lists, and to-do’s and calendars, and notes from calls,meetings, life…. It has zero art and my handwriting is horrific. But I love it! It’s the most efficient system I’ve ever found. EVERYTHING is in one place. So I’ll just keep up my boring and keep loving it!

  • April 4, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    I applaud this. Your joirnal is actually the least boring because no one ever needs to go back to see that they drank eight glasses of water recorded with various colours on their arbitrary date in the past, but yours, you hold the memories, and that is what matters.

    Mine is plain and messy and meaningful. I will never be the artistic one but I love my journal.

  • April 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Girl, please! You keep doing what you are doing. A bullet journal is a way of keeping organized and on track. It’s NOT scrapbooking. I’m too busy to sit and doodle, draw,color, draw out templates. My bullet journal is a HOT MESS. Sometimes stuff ends up written sideways on a page. There are spots it’s even upside down. I keep a bullet journal because I’m BUSY! I’m juggling a million things, that’s why a normal pre-planned planner doesn’t work. When I see those perfect bullet journals with the perfect lettering, the cute drawings, the perfect printing? Those belong to people that seem to have a lot of time on their hands. They are rather like a rare porcelain tea cup. Pretty to look at, but not everyday use. There are plenty of us that use a bullet journal that is our weapon against time and a memory that is not perfect. It’s not meant to be pristine, it’s meant to be battle worn and a testament that we made it! FYI… compared to my bullet journal, yours is the pretty pristine one. Lol

  • April 4, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you for writing that I actually stopped bullet journaling because I do not have an artistic bone in my body, but I did enjoy it and I used it as my journal as well. I think about going back often now I just might after reading this😊

  • April 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    LOVE my bullet journal! On year 3 now and have been through many iterations. Very-not-artistic am I BUT there are many things I like to keep track of . I’ve always used a daily planner but never stuck to one. Now, with BuJo, I have the perfect planner FOR ME. And I love stickers and washi, so I jazz it up with those and multicolored pens!

  • April 4, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Yours is the only bullet journal blog I follow. That’s because you are all about bullet journal JOY! It’s not about the artsy side for me, though I do love looking at them, and occasionally try to write a little neater. It’s about prioritizing, motivation (the power of those nagging check boxes), getting organized and keeping track of information. You have been an inspiration to me. You have your unique gifts to offer us. This memorial is precious.


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