Bullet Journals for Beginners: Choosing a Journal Part 1
Picking the right bullet journal can feel like a daunting task. Too big and it’s hard to take with you. Too small and there won’t be enough room for all your lovely writing. Then there’s the paper—blank, lined, grid, dotted. And, of course, after that, there are all the different page options and THEN there’s the pen! To help with all those wonderful choices–I’m starting a new blog post series call Bullet Journals for Beginners.
I truly believe there’s such a thing as bullet journal anxiety. Obviously, it’s not a serious thing, but it can keep you from getting started on your bullet journal.
New Post Series—Bullet Journals for Beginners
This new series of posts–Bullet Journals for Beginners–has me super excited. Mostly because I love bullet journals. I’ve already done a post on starting a simple bullet journal. It’s been so popular I decided there must be other people like me who found themselves intimidated by starting their first bullet journal—from choosing the journal down to deciding which pages to include.
I’ve learned so much since my first paralysis-inducing bullet journal. With each successive attempt (I’m now on #3), I’ve learned how to organize and perfect the pages that work for me.
Before we get to pages, let’s start at the beginning. The first step and topic of today’s post—picking the journal.
I bought my first bullet journal with the intention of starting all the loveliness immediately. But, I ogled that thing for a full three weeks before I finally put pen to paper. Intimidation. Yes, I was intimidated by an empty book. So here’s the biggest advice I have–it’s okay to make mistakes. You may choose a journal and find out it doesn’t work for you. You’re not married to the thing. If it doesn’t work, tear some pages out or throw it away and start over.
Another disclaimer: Everyone has different likes and dislikes so, for this series, I’m going to review three very different types of bullet journals with their pros and cons and my take on why or why not they work for a beginner.
Let the bullet journal fun begin!
Journal #1: Generic Grid Paper Journal
The first journal I’m reviewing is a generic grid paper journal. Grid paper offers a lot of options. For example, you can:
- write on straight lines
- draw grids, charts, or boxes with the grid as a guide
- easily number the corners
- potentially draw without a ruler
Another big consideration for this one when I was first starting out—it was cheap. I figured if I didn’t like it at least I didn’t put much money into it.
Purchased from: Office Depot (Similar to this one on Amazon)
- Grid paper
- Back pocket
- 2 satin ribbon markers
- Elastic band closure
- Pen holder
- Pen holder: Loved, loved, loved the pen holder. I’m picky about my pens. In fact, I refuse to write in my bullet journal until I’ve found my pen. I also refuse to write with a different pen until my current pen has run out of ink. I’m not OCD, but I AM a little weird when it comes to pens. This pen holder was ah-ma-zing, so nice and convenient. My current bullet journal does not have a pen holder, and I miss it so much.
- Elastic Band Closure: I have decided that some kind of closure is a must on a bullet journal, at least for me. I stuff business cards and reminders from teachers in it; the elastic closure keeps everything inside.
- Satin Ribbon Markers: I don’t think markers are a must but they sure are nice. I like to keep mine in my daily page. That’s where I’m headed most often, and it’s nice to have it ready for easy reference. A second marker is even better. I keep the other one at the current calendar month because that’s my second most frequented page.
- Hardback: Hardbacks are easier to write in, they don’t get ruined when shoved in a bag, and generally last longer.
- Price: Not that I’ve ever spent a lot of money on a bullet journal, but this one is the least expensive one I’ve used.
- Grid paper. Kind of a weird con after I explained why a grid is nice for beginners, but in this case, it didn’t work as well as I would have liked. The grid on this particular journal was too small. (See the picture below) My writing was squished and sometimes hard to read. A larger grid works better as I now know from having a different bullet journal with a larger grid. I also didn’t like how the grid was laid out at the corners. My number boxes were never the same, and the small part of me that likes things symmetrical was irritated. The takeaway—if you buy a grid paper journal, check the grid size.
When it might be right for you:
If you have a hard time drawing straight lines, even with a ruler (raising my hand over here), a grid makes page setup easier. Though I didn’t like the grid paper in this particular journal, I would still recommend it for a beginner because it gives you a good basic layout from which to start. The low price makes it less painful if you make mistakes or if you find that *gasp* a bullet journal isn’t for you.
There you have it. Your basic grid paper bullet journal. Next week I’ll be reviewing journal #2 a Tul, and its bullet journal deliciousness.
Have a great week everyone!
(Disclaimer: I received nothing from anyone for the review in this post. That would be nice, but I seriously don’t. If that ever changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.)