2020 might not be the best year and it didn’t have much to offer but I’m pretty to sure that we will all bounce back together once the vaccine for the deadly Covid virus will be released. News are saying that it could be on the first quarter of 2021 but we must still be cautious about it because vaccines don’t work overnight. As much as you are, I am also very excited that we could all finally go back to the normal we had before this pandemic hit us. We can finally plan our trips again, research places to put in our itineraries, eat together with our families and relatives, travel for leisure, and just have fun with all these outdoor activities.
So, bujo by definition is bullet journal. A lot of people consider bullet journaling as a great method to organize daily tasks and upcoming events. Bullet journaling was invented by Ryder Caroll with his best-selling book, The Bullet Journal Method. I personally haven’t read it yet but after observing, reading and witnessing people do their own bujo at youtube, I kind of get the hang of it but basically, the bullet journal method taught us on how to effectively plan your day, plot your goals, remember your events, log your memories and even track your past spending.
The Bullet Journal Method has a lot to teach us but I won’t go deeper about that in this post because that could totally be on another blog post. Bullet journaling could or could not have a system. You may keep it as minimal and simple or as colorful and extravagant, but as long as it helps you in your productivity and on how it organizes your life in chaos, that would be good already. But for someone like me who takes bullet journal to the next level and made it as one of my hobbies to incorporate art and productivity, I’ve summed up some points on how to start your very own bujo this 2021.
1. Secure a journal
2020 may not be a good year to all of us and even if one of the most useless purchase for this year was a planner, please make sure to secure yourself a journal for 2021. 2021 shouldn’t stop us from our plans either at home, work or outdoors. We already learned this year that even if we were forced to lock ourselves at home and we literally had nothing to do, we weren’t stopped at planning or journaling but instead, had extended our plans to do more even at home.
I suggest, as a starter, buy journals that aren’t that pricey or cheap either because you have to find your style first and you might end up not finishing the whole thing once you get overwhelmed on how vast bullet journaling can be. Take it from me. Journaling can be a daily log of your tasks, a collection of memories, a collage of art, a fanart (kpop, anime), doodle-heavy, painting and drawing, etc. It all depends on you and your style. If you are more into the collection of memories and fanart, I suggest you get a journal with grid lines while if you are into painting and drawing, I suggest you to start with a blank-paged journal. For the classic bujo of daily tasks and whatnot, it’s always been easier to opt with the dotted journal.
2. Collect pens and brushes
Though bullet journaling only needs a journal and a pen, as someone who wants to spice things up, writing cool fonts and calligraphy will require a good pen and brush pen. Pens and brush pens with good quality could be really expensive and if you are yet to start, I suggest to get yourself a mini set of pens with 03., 0.5, and 0.8 mm first and a set of primary, neutral, pastel shades for colored brush pens. Building a pen and brush collection takes time and lots of money especially if you are to go with the Japanese brands which is really pricey but considered as an investment.
What I really wanted to emphasize here is that if you will buy your very first set of pens, opt in to a set of black pens with 0.05, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, and a brush pen included. While for the colored pens, I suggest you start with a set of highlighters since it is much cheaper than the actual brush pens and much easier to use. For a brush, calligraphy effect on your fonts, you may start with a marker-type pens in a set like the Crayola supertips which could totally mimic a brush pen stroke. Who would have thought that the ordinary pen we used to love when we were just kids could make a calligraphy art by just training your hands on pressing the tip?
3. Start with a washi tape set
If you are already good with a simple, minimalist or pen-drawn doodles design of your bujo, that’s definitely okay but if you want your bujo to be memorable and fun at the same time, you may start adding some washi tape on your bujo to enhance your bujo or just add color. Washi tapes originally came from Japan and it’s made of thin rice paper which is definitely not the usual sticky tapes we find in the bookstore. It could range from a subtle-colored set of tapes to vibrant and doodle-heavy designs. With the hype of washi tapes right now, it is very vast that you won’t know anymore where to start. There are a lot of colors, options and designs to choose from!
Purchasing washi tapes could be super overwhelming with these vast varieties to choose from. Even I, myself is still struggling with it. Every time I visit some stationery stores, I get out of focus and just wanted to hoard everything in there. But I recently discovered this tip when I was window shopping some stationery finds, that if you are to buy your first set of add-ons to your bujo which is a washi tape, always start with a pastel-colored set of tape and move to the neutral ones. If by design, always start with the basic patterns like, lines, broken lines, grid, circles, etc. and move to florals which is the common go-to style.
4. Add sticker packs
If you want your bujo to be more fun and creative even with the presence of colorful brush pens and washi tapes, adding stickers could definitely help. It could also be an alternative for people like me who wasn’t that gifted to draw images and doodle a lot in their bujo. Adding stickers to your bujo isn’t just about being creative, it’s about enjoying the things you don’t love to do. Like for example, I have an upcoming task of “cleaning the bathroom” listed on my bujo and putting a mini sticker like “poop” or “showerhead” could make the task more fun, enjoyable and prioritized if that makes sense to you. Adding stickers is like an emoji that when we type a certain text and inserts an emoji with it, it enhances what we are saying.
Same with the washi tapes, choices for sticker flakes, packs and sheets could be sooooooo many that you don’t know where to begin collecting. As a starter myself, I would recommend getting the colored dots sticker sheet first and move to stickers that focuses on daily necessities. Things like a comb, notebooks, gadgets, clothes, foods, drinks, etc. I also suggest to get the tiny sticker flakes first so that if ever you stick it in a calendar layout or beside a task, you get to have more space to write in your event or task.
Preparing a layout for your spreads in bujo could take up so much time and measuring your dots and grids to make a 3-column spread could also be demanding and hassle. But we, creative bullerjournalers, will go through this hassle just to set up a nice spread. Nothing is really wrong if you wanted your bujo to just have the basic method like rapid logging by listing all your tasks in a master list because just a reminder that the very purpose of bullet journal is to boost our productivity.
For people who doesn’t have much time to do measurements and layouts for their bujo, having a set of memopad could be really helpful to separate daily logging to a masterlist. Memopads in other words acts like a sticky note in an office setting but really, memopads could be used for anything if you will just be more creative with it. Memopads isn’t just limited for it’s purpose to make a masterlist but it could also be used as a background for your bujo, a card, a giant sticker or a separator because memopads isn’t just plain paper, they are now available with different prints, colors, designs and even shaped like characters and kawaii stuff.
6. Get some photosets
If by any chance that you use your bujo as a fanart, or you are a proud kpop or jpop, you know photosets and what’s its purpose. Photosets should never be missed out if your journal as a fangirl because these are very applicable for fangirling to korean or japanese idols, stars, singers, actors and actresses. I am not quite sure too if I make sense but if you are a kpop, please correct me if I’m wrong.
I, myself, isn’t a kpop or jpop but I respect everyone’s belief and culture. I’ve experienced being a kpop back then when I was in my teenage years but I kind of grew up that’s why I had let it go. Even if I’m not a kpop anymore, I still find it very fun watching people on youtube who bujo for fangirling and expresses their thoughts and feelings to a certain person or group because I, myself experienced it before when I wanted to be a part of Girl’s Generation. Lol.
7. Print your own photos
If you can’t relate with photosets because you are not a kpop or jpop, here’s your spot. You may print your own photos of idols, starts, actors and actresses that you really like. It could be even characters and legendary heroes. It would really depend on you on what you want to put.
But even if you don’t idolize someone, you may still print your own photos to keep your memories in hard copy and not just stored in the digital world. I think that even if we are progressing to the digital world, classical things like printing photos and storing hard bound books should never be left out. You may use a printer if you have or if possible a polaroid camera that prints captured moments in an instant or an instax photo printer that could print photos from your phone’s gallery because photos could really add up the sentimental value of your bujo which makes bullet journaling so special.
8. Keep your receipts and tags
For a much more memorable bujo, I highly recommend for you to keep your receipts from your favorite shops, tickets from cinemas, tissues/napkins from high-end restaurants or cafes, and branded tags of apparel -if you find it memorable. Like let’s say, it’s your first time to purchase something from this shop and you’ve saved a lot for it and now you finally got it, the receipt of that item is definitely worth keeping because it will definitely feel amazing years after when you look back from that very moment.
Though, it would still depend on your choice to store it with other receipts in a box or stick it into your journal and write a short description about it. Either way, I think collecting these small pieces that not everyone would look on or make a fuss about and then stick it, put some short description on it, will definitely add up the sentimental value of your bujo because when you look back through the years, all these little things will remind you of the feeling you had that very moment.
Bonus: Follow art blogs and influencers
This is technically not the way to start a bujo but I think it’s relevant to add this to the list. Starting something on a blank canvas could be really overwhelming and I, too, have experienced it. I’ve always doubted myself if I could do it even with my very busy schedule and I’m afraid to make mistakes on mine, but look at me now, still doing this bujo thing consistently for almost a year now. If it were not because of the quarantine and lockdown, I could’ve not been motivated enough to finally start my own because back then, I used to be amused watching influencers do their thing until I found some art blogs that kept me motivated and wanted to start mine too.
I have been watching them every month when it’s time to set-up some bujo spreads and I haven’t noticed that I’ve been watching them for quite a while now, let’s say running to 4 years already. I admit, I really got addicted to them and found my long-lost passion and love for art and stationery again and because of these art blogs and influencers, I became aware that everyone could make a mistake in their bujos and everything can be fixed anyways.
So if you are thinking to start setting up your own bujo this 2021 and just looking for the sign or motivation to start too, this is it. This is the sign that you are looking for. Basically, the first step on how to start a bujo is to get a journal but I think the very first step is to find your passion, style, motivation, courage, and inspiration to start your very own version of monthly spread set-ups because if you don’t gather enough of these, you might end up getting too overwhelmed and not finishing the whole year.
Of course, if you are to finally start your bujo this coming 2021, aside from gathering your style and inspiration, don’t ever forget that the main essence of bullet journaling is to help you with your productivity in life and if this gets you into your life and daily routines, if it doesn’t contribute to your productivity and purpose, and if it doesn’t make it comfortable and enjoyable for you, you are always obliged to stop and just not force it.