Let me start this post by saying THANK YOU all for your support, feedback and questions that you have given me so far! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your own bullet journal and life journey with me. It has been amazing six months I started this blog and YouTube channel, and I am very much grateful for the opportunity to answer a few of your questions here. I think we will have more episodes coming 🙂 Until then, let’s start our first Q&A!
Hi Michaela! When and why did you start bullet journaling?
I have always been bullet journaling in a way before it became a thing, and I am sure lots of you have. I got my first notebook before I could even write, I was born with a huge love for stationery so going to a stationery shop or a bookstore for me was like going to a candy shop for other kids.
I mentioned in my previous videos, I had a 2-year pause of journaling. My privacy was invaded by certain someone (not a person from my personal circles) which led to destroying a few years’ worth of journals and I completely shut down, never wanted to journal again.
I was deeply depressed for a long time and almost done something I know I would regret. I kept punishing myself every time I enjoyed doing something, so I stopped – I stopped living. I have been made to believe that I am not worthy and that I don’t deserve to live – these are the very words I had to listen to for long enough to believe them. If you are in a similar situation at the moment, I want you to talk to me, NOW! OK?
In December 2015, I slowly started reading again and fell in love with Karen Swan’s novels – I am a romantic in heart and these books were feeding my soul. Reading helped me to relax my head and I started to feel that urge to journal again, so January 1st 2016 here I come with a brand-new notebook!
I was carrying my Filofax Malden planner along with my journal which was very bulky and after a few weeks, I got rather tired and started looking for a solution. I knew I wanted to combine these two together so I Googled something like ‘planner and journal combination’ and it was Ryder Carroll’s website that popped up, along with Kara from Boho Berry. I checked them both, looked up ‘bullet journal’ to find more resources and could not believe how much stuff was on the internet about this topic! I started my bullet journal journey last year in May 2015 🙂
You can see the progress in my ‘Journals collection’ video where I explain what worked and what did not.
Hallo Michaela! Have you used other planning systems before you started using the Bullet Journal?
(Mae from our Community group on Facebook)
I love planning and always planned all sorts of events and tasks. But it was when I got on my ‘self-development train’ last year when I started planning properly for my future and what I actually want to do with my life. Until then, I used a traditional planner or a diary where I scheduled everything I needed.
Hello! My question is how do you manage your journal when you are busy? I like to sleep early as I wake up at 5am, so sometimes when I get home from work and do my chores etc, I don’t get time to journal and defo can’t in the morning. Consequently, I have massive gaps everywhere and I find it overwhelming and time consuming to go back and fill in all the journal blanks and remember a week worth of events and then sort out the coming week which probably will end up blank also – so I was wondering how you cope with this!?
I don’t. My journal is serving me, not the other way around and if I don’t have time or don’t feel like journaling, I simply don’t do it. It takes the joy out of it if you force it. I have a lot of sticky notes or pieces of paper around that I use for jotting down anything that comes to mind and when I have time, I gather them all together and transfer the notes/tasks to my journal. I make time to plan to actually have more time to do things, and I prioritize those things. If you have blank spaces and it bothers you, use some pretty magazine pictures, print a colouring page or something to make it pretty. I would not put pressure on myself to fill it all in and have no energy for planning the upcoming week which is much more important because you can do something about it, you cannot change the past. If you feel overwhelmed, try to relax your mind, think about your needs and how your journal can serve you better. I always find at least 5 10mins to spend on my journal because I know it helps me to release any stress, makes me feel good about myself and even if I don’t feel like writing down how my day was, I still plan for the next day.
Hi Michaela! I don’t remember if you have mentioned this in your videos but what is the better time of the day for you to plan in your bullet journal?
It’s usually in the evening before I go to bed so I can relax and wake up ready for the day. I used to plan in the morning but then felt like the first buzz of energy and excitement was wasted because I like to get moving in the morning – sitting down with my journal was only holding me back and I felt slightly sluggish. Evenings suit my personality better.
All of your favourite supplies and why?
I have a lot of supplies and I will do a whole blog post and video about those only but I will share a few with you today:
– Pilot Metropolitan and Lamy fountain pens – they write smoothly and I love having so much freedom when it comes to picking an ink colour!
– Uni Pin fine liners – water and fade proof pens, I love the fact that I can paint over these with my watercolours and I find them better quality than Faber-Castell pens
– Leuchtturm1917 – I find it perfect for my journaling as it holds up very well with fountain pens, it is index-ready, got numbered pages and two bookmarks
– Koi watercolours pocket size – perfect for travelling! I like practical supplies and this one is without a doubt one of them. The size is perfect for my handbag even, it has everything you need inside and you can mix pretty much any colour you like using this pallette.
– Faber-Castell watercolour pencils – these are great for many reasons. I love them because I can start colouring my doodles as I would do with my regular colouring pencils and then come back to it whenever I want to apply water and make it look like a watercolour painting! These might be a great introduction for watercolour painting if you feel like you could not ‘handle’ painting with regular watercolours, they are great fun.
– Marco Raffine colouring pencils – I love them! I have a set of 72 pencils and I thought I would not use all of them but I do! Every single one. They are great vivid colours and when I use them all, I will definitely buy this set again. In fact, I have a smaller set of 36 pencils that I keep in another pen case for travelling. Best colouring pencils I ever owned and very affordable too.
Have there ever been days where you didn’t feel like journaling? What do you seek to gain inspiration and motivation?
There are days when I don’t even want to look at my journal, haha! Sometimes, you just want to take a break which is OK. And no, I don’t try to catch up afterwards, I simply move on and look forward to the future events. To gain inspiration, I go to the countryside. I crave hiking the hills and the views of beautiful landscape. As for motivation, you are my greatest motivation – the privilege talking to you all and having you responding and liking what I produce, that’s what drives me and why I want to keep going. I feel nothing but gratitude for all your support, it means the world to me – THANK YOU!
I’m new to journaling. Do you have any suggestions for a newbie? I got my supplies (yay) but my imagination is next to zero and instead of a journal it keeps morphing into a to-do list
If it is something that works for you, go for it! You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing. Since you are new to this, I would keep it simple and maybe add little by little in my own comfortable pace. Try one thing at a time and see if that works for you. If so, great, if not, move on 😉
Do you doodle in pencil first? Is that to minimize mistakes? And what pens are best for not bleeding through? Love your videos!! Thanks!
Yes, I prepare my drawings before recording the videos because it’s faster that way, I don’t have to waste time with counting the dots and as for the monthly doodle, I often change my mind as I sketch it and sometimes erase the whole thing when a better idea occurs to me.
Do you keep your Bullet Journals after the year is over?
Absolutely! I keep them for future reference, inspiration and motivation. It makes me happy to look back and see how much I have accomplished and what we have been up to with my fiancé. It’s a great way to keep your memories together.
Is it okay to keep ink in the pen when you’re done or should it always be cleaned after each use?
Yes, it is OK to keep the ink inside the fountain pen. I would be careful with a permanent ink but with regular colour inks you don’t need to worry about leaving your pen sitting on your desk for a few days. It will not dry. Just shake it a little bit before using to mix the ink inside the pen and get it flowing. You can use a tissue to drive the ink down the feed if it’s coming out slowly. When it is not coming out at all, yes, then you need to clean it and I would ink it up again.