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Customizable notebook keeps plans on track

Written by Liza Kolbasov 

Over the past year, my life has begun to revolve around a little notebook with my heart and soul poured into it: my bullet journal. This simple alternative to a planner has become my everything: organization, entertainment, free time, social life…

Believe it or not, the first time I ever saw a bullet journal, I wasn’t impressed. It seemed to me like the sort of thing for an eccentric person who felt the need to write down every breath they took in a day and track every detail of their life obsessively. Once I decided that, I promptly forgot all about bullet journaling and went ahead with my premade planner, which I forgot to fill out half the time.

That changed last summer, when, scrolling through my instagram feed, I first came across a studygram account. Lo and behold, a community of people as obsessed with stationery as I was, and, moreover, displaying fabulous creations called… Bullet journals. I was hooked. For the next couple of weeks, I lived, breathed and talked bullet journals until I finally got my hands on one and dived in. Okay… So maybe I am one of those eccentric people who feels the need to plan out every breath I take and track every detail of my life obsessively. In fancy calligraphy with drawings and color coding. But you know what? I’m proud of that.

My first few journal spreads were, admittedly, pretty bad. Nonetheless, I persisted, slowly discovering my own style and practicing it. My spreads got fancier, and my lettering less shaky. Along with my skill and interest, my supply of stationery grew. With my first set of brush pens, my trusty pastel Tombows, I started to get into calligraphy. I began attacking my pages with stickers and photos. The bullet journaling jargon, which at first confused me, became my second language. I was addicted.

My bullet journal, however was more than an excuse to spend money on stationery and stress over the proper way to write a cursive letter B. It gave me a place to turn in a busy day, and let me organize my thoughts by dumping them on paper in a way that pleases my eyes (what did I say about planning out every breath?). It gave me a way to express my creative side, and taught me that I can actually (gasp) kind of do art. And, it proved to me that no matter how little time I have, I can always find some to throw together a bujo page. I am finally, perhaps for the first time in my life, sticking to a planner for longer than a few months. Voila, the magic of a bullet journal.

It took me a couple of months of scrolling through studygrams and looking at all sorts of beautiful designs before I finally got up the nerve to start one. I had all sorts of doubts—I didn’t think my journal was good enough, I didn’t believe anyone would want to see it. Soon after starting an account, however, I realized that studygrams weren’t about the likes and follows, but about the community of people who are all just as interested in bullet journaling as I was—thousands of people all over the world who can debate the relative merits of different pens for hours and fight to the death over which notebook is the best.

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