When bullet journaling, perfection is not always something to strive for


A collage of bullet journaling images that came up when I searched through Pinterest.

Torn out pages. Emptied bottles of whiteout. Used up erasers.

For perfectionists, bullet journaling sometimes feels like a form of torture. However, after learning to release any preconceived notions of what a journal should look like, a whole new world of creativity is unlocked.

For those who are unaware, bullet journaling is a combination of a journal and a planner that typically has aesthetically-pleasing visuals. When searching up bullet journaling, the results are an array of meticulously crafted spreads with impressive artwork. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these intricate pages, they end up setting the standards of someone new to bullet journaling insanely high, which will most likely lead to disappointment and discouragement.

Bullet journaling doesn’t have to look a certain way. It can be anything from an organizational tool to a visual diary; everyone uses their journal in their own way. Some common spreads are monthly calendars, cover pages, goals, and mood trackers. When I started journaling, it took some time to figure out what worked for me. I tried mood trackers and found myself constantly forgetting to use them, so I stopped. Now, I simply decide on a theme for each month, make a cover page, and maybe a calendar if I’m up for it. I also write in it as it is still a journal. Different things work for different people.

Bullet journaling doesn’t have to look a certain way. It can be anything, from an organizational tool to a visual diary, everyone uses their journal in their own way.”

The bottom line is that everyone’s journal is personal to them. Bullet journaling should be an enjoyable, relaxing activity, not something to dread designing due to a fear of making a mistake. If the thought of journaling brings misery and stress, I would recommend taking a moment to stop and think about the purpose of journaling in the first place: fun. When it comes to the point of journaling just for the sake of journaling rather than finding joy in every new page, maybe take a step back.

Contrary to popular belief, expensive pens, and fancy markers aren’t a necessity for bullet journaling. Elegant calligraphy and complex doodles look great, but the simplicity of plain letters is perfect for a unique, personalized look.

So, don’t be intimidated by the seemingly flawless pages of people who have been creating bullet journals for years. Practice makes perfect, and even then, mistakes are inevitable. A wobble in a line that was supposed to be straight doesn’t ruin an entire journal. Errors may seem like the end of the world at the time, but they give journals a personal touch that shows humanity. 

Bullet journaling is a creative outlet, and there’s no use in comparing each creation to another. Whether a journal is filled with complex spreads and detailed calligraphy or simple calendars and functional to-do lists, each one is perfect.