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Your Bullet Journal Doesn't Have To Be Perfect, It Has To Be Perfect For You

The story of an organized girl and the ultimate "DIY" planner.

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open bullet journal
Molly Holmes

It's a tale as old as time: Girl needs something. Girl goes on amazon.com. Girl gets distracted and buys several things she doesn't need.

That was me, about a week and a half ago. I was looking for a sunshade for my car. Since I was already buying something, I decided to browse for some pens because the ones I had kept "ghosting" in my planner. (Ghosting is when the pen mark shows through to the other side.) As it turns out, scented gel pens are fun to use, but not so practical for a planner.

So, I looked for pens. Then I was looking at pen sets that came with washi tape.


And then, I was looking at a black leather journal with dots instead of lines.


I remembered scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing Nifty videos about bullet journaling. (For those of you who don't know, a bullet journal is a "do-it-yourself" type planner that works on an analog system of different bullets [hence the name] and signifiers.)

In those videos, people took those weird dotted notebooks and turned them into planners/trackers/contemporary art museums. I figured since I loved watching those videos, I would probably be pretty good at it.

I was feeling inspired by the possibilities and the $9.95 price tag, so I went ahead and bought it. (You can buy on too!)

Of course, I bought the markers and the washi tape to go along with the journal. I even bought a pack of stencils, because let's be real, I'm no artist. Fake it 'til ya make it, am I right?


I love to-do lists, planners, and organizational things in general, so I waited eagerly for my planner to arrive. In anticipation, I even looked on all of those Bullet Journal Pinterest boards and got inspiration for my own BuJo (a shortened form of Bullet Journal for those of you not hip to the lingo). I was so ready!

Two days later, it arrived at my house.

Almost immediately, I opened it and the tape and the markers and the stencils, and I just stared at it.

And stared at it.

And stared at it.

It was at this point in time that I remembered that I am not only painfully non-artsy, but I am neurotic about placing things. This includes drawing lines, coloring things in, and placing stickers. (It took me a solid 30 minutes to decide where my laptop stickers would go.)

Finally, I bit the bullet (no pun intended) and wrote "index" at the top of the first two pages. I felt so proud that I put pen to paper, but I got too confident and tried to make it look ~fancy~ and I ended up with something that was the total opposite of fancy. So, I stuck a sticker over that and wrote on that instead.

So, there I was, staring at those lonely stickers in the notebook.

My first thought was, "Wow, this is ugly and there's no way I'm going to be able to do this."

How could I have ever thought that me, a person who gets antsy about craft stores and coloring sheets, could do something as creative as a bullet journal?

I was ready to put it away. But then I remembered what the concept of bullet journal is all about: doing it your way. The original bullet journal isn't really all that creative. In fact, it's just practical and simple.

I'd gotten so caught up in all of the calligraphy and habit trackers and drawings that I'd forgotten that I could do whatever I wanted with this journal. No one would see it unless I showed it to them, so why was I so worried about it?

Now, about a week-and-a-half later, I've continued with my "BuJo." I've even attempted some doodles! The moral of the story is, don't let inspiration turn into obsession. Let yourself be creative — you may just surprise yourself!


Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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