For the last two years, I’ve requested one thing for Christmas – a notebook. In that notebook, I keep ongoing trackers of my blog and social media stats, monthly and daily checklists, trackers of my social media client stats and some ideas and small drafts for blog posts.
What I didn’t realise that I was doing was creating my own version of a bullet journal. In fact, up until about two months ago I’d never really heard much about them, that is, until I watched a ‘July Plan With Me’ YouTube tutorial from AmandaRachLee on creating a monthly set of ‘spreads,’ (that’s page layouts to us ordinary folk). Since then it has become a bit of an obsession – I’ve watched more tutorials than I can count, allowed myself a small budget to buy materials, practiced different handwriting styles and layouts and began the process of setting up a bullet journal ready for 2018. My intention is to set up most of the journal for the year in advance, although many Bullet Journal users plan from month to month. I need something that is ready for me to use – I’m the sort of person that would fall behind and would leave myself with too much to do if I had to set up each month the day before.Created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer from NY, the general idea with a Bullet Journal is that it is supposed to be an easy and customisable organisation system that will save time, using ‘bullets’ (which I see as bullet points although there can be lots of different shapes used). It can be used for any purpose – I’ve seen everything from lifestyle, studying, food, health, wedding and parenting being used in Bullet Journals (or BuJos for short) and even some that have been used as a written diary and they’re all unique.
My own thought process was to create one specifically for blogging – to my knowledge there isn’t a blogging diary available on the market in the format that I would use – so bullet journaling was a perfect solution as it meant that I could create my own trackers and spreads that would hopefully help in my blogging journey over the next year.
To start a basic Bullet Journal, you essentially need three things:
A pencil (for planning things out first)
There’s a bajillion (yes, I’m using that word) notebooks available on the market, but the two most popular within the Bullet Journal community seem to be the Leuchtturm 1917 or the Moleskine brands. Within these there a whole selection of page styles available – dotted, lined, squared, plain – although the dotted seems to be a favourite as there is no massive amounts of measuring involved with these when drawing grids and tables out and the dots allow writing to be done in straight lines easily.
I decided to go against the trend and bought an A5 Daler Rowney artists sketch book (shown in the Pinterest image) with plain pages – the pages were thick which meant that ink wouldn’t seep through to the other side and I had completely blank pages to create my ideas on. It’s a plain design on the cover, which will allow me to decorate it later if I wish to.
However, if you want to get a little more creative, there are a number of materials that you can use for making beautiful designs and spreads. A large percentage of Bullet Journals that I have seen use different styles of calligraphy or cursive writing and fineliners and brush pens are useful tools. I bought a pack of 6 Sakura Pigma Micron fineliners in different tip sizes (005 – 08), a Sakura Pigma Brush Pen and a Sakura Calligraphy pen, mainly because they were recommended for their fast drying qualities and the fact they don’t bleed through the pages. I made the right choice – these were perfect for what I wanted to do – but there are endless choices depending on your budget and preferences.
To make my pages and text more colourful, I also purchased a pack of Crayola Supertips (I found mine at Toys R Us for less than £4). They’re easy to use and are great for different calligraphy styles too. There’s lots of different styles of pens – gel, watercolour, glitter, felt tips, pencil crayons – this all depends on your preferences, your style and your budget.
And then, I discovered my new favourite thing: WASHI TAPE. Mimicking the style of masking tape, washi tape is the stuff of crafters dreams and they can be used in Bullet Journals for decorating, sticking in images and as dividers and borders… the possibilities are endless. They’re available everywhere – Amazon, Etsy, Paperchase, Hobbycraft and eBay to name a few – and on average cost between £1.50 – £5 each (although they can be purchased in sets at a cheaper price). I’ve gone a bit washi-mad, buying a whole selection of different colours, sizes and styles, ranging from cherry blossom, stripes, dotted, patterned and glitter… The image shows about a third of my current collections!
Once you’ve figured out what a Bullet Journal is and got your materials, you need to work out what topics you want to focus on for your spreads, and I would advise doing this BEFORE you put pen to paper. As a blogger, I wanted to ensure that the journal would focus almost entirely on blogging and I knew that there were numerous things that I wanted to keep track of each month:
My blog and social media stats
My ‘To Do’ lists
My clients social media stats
Social media sharing days
End of year goals
Blog post ideas
From this I created a list of the spreads that I wanted to put into each month:
A monthly overview (1 page)
A weekly calendar that would incorporate my To Do lists (4-5 pages)
Blog post ideas and earnings (1 page)
A daily checklist with a list of blogging tasks and stat tracker for the month that would incorporate clients social media trackers too (1 page)
I then added in a few ideas to put at the front of the Bullet Journal:
An overview of the year – this is called a FUTURE LOG (1 page)
A blog and social media stat tracker overview for the year (1 page)
A yearly earnings tracker (1 page)
Social Media sharing days (1 page)
These were just MY ideas, but as a BLOGGER there are numerous ideas that you could use:
- A content tracker
- Post schedule tracker
- Daily word count tracker
- Book bloggers – books read and reviewed
- Movie bloggers – films watched and reviewed
- Music bloggers – album or track review ideas
- Product reviewers – products reviewed and contacts
- Useful hashtags
- Travel bloggers – places visited and reviewed
- Task promotion list for each blog post
- Ideas for pitching companies and guest post bloggers
- Food bloggers – recipes tried or restaurants visited and reviewed
- Fashion bloggers – outfits for seasons
- Health and fitness bloggers – workout routine tracker / weight loss / healthy meal plan
- Bucket list ideas
- Affiliate sales list
- List of useful contacts / influencers
- Life Hack ideas
- Maintenance schedule
- Course sales tracker
What about you guys? What would / do you find useful in a blogging Bullet Journal?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks