It’s Hamtaro Time ♪ ♫ | May Bullet Journal

Hello, and welcome back to The Inky Saga! Wow, it’s been a minute since I posted. April was extremely busy between work events, Red Cross work, job applications, and even interviews! I’m very glad I did all my weekly spreads ahead of time, because it likely wouldn’t have happened during the month. My free-time was spent walking my dog, watching new series/movies, and READING! Yes, I’ve finally been reading again! I just finished my marathon of The Illuminae Files with Obsidio this weekend.

In April I had an interview almost every weekday for the last two weeks. After obtaining the first job for which I interviewed, a seasonal position, I decided to put in my two weeks’ notice at my current job. I was ecstatic to have a good reason to leave, because I was starting to get emotionally drained. Nevertheless, I’m still applying and interviewing at the moment, hoping to find something more steady that would be able to support me more fully.

Anyway, I managed to start working on my May bujo spread during my free-time last week. It was a major stress-reliever as I waited to hear back on my interviews and pass the time between my morning and afternoon shifts. Bear in mind, I haven’t completed all my weekly spreads yet! But today I will show you what I have mostly done.

Why Hamtaro

For the longest time, I had a different theme in mind for May. Since I’ve been in the mood for murder mysteries all year, I was aiming to create something original based around that theme. However, my job search activities picked up this spring and I barely had time to do anything more ambitious for myself. So that theme has been tabled for the time being.

In April (or was it March?) I was asked to fill in at another school and I met a kid who liked to like draw anime characters for the counselors. I’ve come to realize we’re all dorky artists somehow! For me he did a really cute Hamtaro!

I discovered Hamtaro around the time I got my second gameboy, the advanced SP pictured on the left. My brother and I shared two Hamtaro games, Ham-Ham Heartbreak and Ham-Hams Unite! I have been playing these games about once every year for the past 3 or so years, generally around finals while I was in grad school for stress relief. So, essentially, this theme idea came to my mind at the perfect time.

I knew I wanted another simple theme for the month and something that would still be fun to draw. It was just a matter of looking up iconic imagery from the show (available on YouTube) and the games I already have then deciding on the practical  layouts I knew from experience would work for me.

Sneak Peak into My BuJo

This is the first month where I’ve decided to play around with color! I worked my city’s annual kids festival in April in the art village and one of the crafts was this amazing map of the United States that the visitors could add as much or as little color as they wished. Most of my time was spent coloring with the Sharpies we provided that day, in between helping the kids with their crafts obviously. ^_^

It occurred to me that I actually owned a color set of Sharpies, which I purchased while I was still working on my undergraduate degree. After testing them on my Pen Test page to make sure the ink wouldn’t bleed through, I decided to use color to bring the ham hams to life! They worked better than I thought they would, the colors showing up beautifully on the page. They also dried so fast, so I didn’t have any problems with the color smearing (unlike the pens I use)!

All that being said, I only have my title page, my monthly log, a two-page habit & media consumption tracker (not pictured), before I jump into my weekly spreads. I only did the first three weeks, but I know what I’m doing for the last two weeks. For those spreads, you can watch my Instagram @theinkysaga. I’m aiming to become more active on there as I continue along my bujo journey.

It’s a little off topic, but I have been thinking more and more about how I could provide the layouts I design for anyone who wants to use my monthly spread alongside me. It’s definitely a long-term goal and one I hope to achieve in the next year or so. I see all my “original” monthly spreads as first drafts, so one day I would like return to these spreads and revise/recreate them digitally.

Materials I Use*

*I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a qualifying purchase through any of the links above, I may make a small commission at no extra expense from you.

endnote

In other news, I have another blog post scheduled for later this week! I also would like to share a job search update once I’m more confident in my position and my short-term living plans, as I’m thinking I will need to move at some point in June. I’ll need to start looking at apartments in my area if I get a job I want here and if not, well, I may be relocating. Regardless of this uncertainty, I do plan to blog more consistently now that I won’t have to wake up before dawn for less than two measly hours of work.

Thank you for reading!
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A Howl’s Moving Castle Spread | April Bullet Journal

For April I decided to make a Howl’s Moving Castle spread! It took me over a week to pull this one together, between narrowing down my idea and pre-planning my spread. I was fairly certain I wanted to do a Studio Ghibli movie theme this month, but I felt myself gravitating towards the movies with which I was already most familiar. Then Howl’s Moving Castle won out over Spirited Away.

There were a few spreads I was able to find that had done a similar theme (@jannplansthings and My Sister’s Journal (Apr 2018)), but I wasn’t able to find a complete month’s worth of spread ideas I liked, so I had to come up with a lot on my own. It was fun and I’m really pleased with my creative choices and the final result.

I decided to keep this month’s spread really simple. I didn’t set space for goals or a brain dump. I kept it down to the bare essentials: monthly log, stats, and blog post planner. I also decided to do all my weekly spreads in advance so I’ll be sharing them in today’s post!

Why Howl’s Moving Castle?

When I was thinking about spring bullet journal themes, Howl’s Moving Castle probably entered the running when I was looking up umbrellas. Turnip Head turns out to a really sweet and considerate character in the movie and when I think of him, I think of him with an umbrella in his hand.

The more I thought about Howl’s Moving Castle, the more I realized it really is a spring-time movie. We don’t really celebrate May Day in the U.S., to the best of my knowledge, but it’s a holiday that celebrates spring and an opening event in the book that brings Howl and Sophie together. Flowers are in bloom and present throughout the movie, whether they be in the hat shop or in nature.

I could have saved this theme for May, but I’ve had a different theme in mind for that month for a couple of months now. Plus, May in Texas definitely feels like more like summer than spring…

The April Spread

The title page of the moving castle came from two very similar designs I discovered in my planning stage, one a painting and the other line art. I loved the look of both, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to using color yet. So I decided I would lean into the inked version and add color later if I felt like it.

I tried out a new monthly log layout that I discovered from Boho Berry. I don’t know how much use I’ll make out of it, but I do think it might help me visualize my days a little better by breaking the Personal column of past spreads into AM & PM columns. I also like the last column where I can take notes that best help me picture the work I do in April. To tie in the theme, I decided to draw in Sophie and Sullivan’s dog from the movie scene where they are watching a young Howl swallow a shooting star that fell to Earth.

The last two-page spread before I get into weekly spreads I decided to dedicate to blog stats and open space for blog post planning. I separated the stats from the bigger space with Turnip Head’s scarecrow arms. Other than that detail, I wanted to have a lot of space for any notes I wanted to take during April. I had way more space than I needed for brain dumps last month, and I knew I’d have a lot less time this month for creative personal projects.

THE WEEKLYS

I don’t want to talk too much about each week’s specific layout, because I did all five for the month in advance! This is why this post ended up coming much later than I had hoped. (Sorry this post was published incomplete this week!)

I had the visual imagery in mind before I knew the specific layouts I would use, but I felt it very intuitive to apply everything I wanted and keep the weeks all unique in design and format. Below you can see the weekly spreads that incorporate Sophie’s hat shop (Week 1), Calcifer with a frying pan over him (Week 2), the doors with Howl’s portals (Week 3), the field with shooting stars landing on Earth (Week 4), and Sullivan’s magic ball and dog (Week 5).

The spreads for Week 1 and Week 3 were finished on Saturday! I couldn’t find any pre-existing bujo spread ideas to go off, so I developed them entirely on my own by just referencing movie stills. I’m rather pleased with the final products for all the fretting I did over them!

I can’t wait to jump into this April spread! It’s my favorite of the year so far, and it’s especially special because it’s my first in my new Scribbles That Matter bullet journal!

Next on the blog will be my monthly wrap up, which I started last weekend. My March flip-through will likely be in a video format, shared on YouTube and/or Instagram. I do hope to launch my YouTube channel in April, but I do not expect to be very consistent with it. I’m far more interested in being consistent with the blog, which takes enough of my time as it is ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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April BuJo Theme Ideas

Okay, so this has been one of my personally most anticipated blog posts to write for the past few weeks! I loved sharing my bullet journal theme ideas for March in February so that anyone who was also pre-planning might be inspired by an idea they may not have come across yet. So in a similar vein, today I am sharing the ideas I’ve been mulling over for April. It’s never too early!

Below are the theme ideas for April that have me super excited and inspired. If you want to skip my thoughts and just see the visuals, scroll to the bottom to see my embedded spring bujo ideas. board, which you can click to follow on Pinterest or simply browse from inside this post!

Idea 1. Planters / Succulents

It’s not the most original idea, if I’m being honest, but I’ve recently seen some absolutely stunning designs that are less cutesy or evocative of desert or a southwestern style. I like how the succulent look in planters against brick and other industrial or Scandinavian architecture. They’re almost less the focus and more an accent on an interior design theme, which I think is really cool.

I don’t consider this theme a front-runner at all for me, but I did want to bookmark it for the future and share the idea to anyone looking for theme ideas because it is a major one with many examples to reference.

Idea 2. April Showers: Umbrellas, Rain Boots & Puddles

I mentioned in February that I felt like I couldn’t do a rainy weather-inspired theme because I already did clouds for January. However, I started seeing some themes that focused on umbrellas and rain puddles, which I thought were really cute and fun. I feel like the umbrella would also be really timely, because I just watched The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and it is a new favorite!

Idea 3. Hot Air Balloons

A theme that had been on my radar for a long time is hot air balloons. I had first thought it would be more of a summertime theme in my mind, but I feel like April/May are months where escape is on the mind. I think it’s a mental hold-over from being a student, as April in college is typically a super busy month in which final projects are in full motion.

I don’t feel any urgency to use this theme, and because it seems like a simpler theme to execute I may save it for a month where I have less time to prepare a monthly spread.

Idea 4. Studio Ghibli Movies

After thinking about hot air balloons, Howl’s Moving Castle came to mind. Then I wondered if there were any Studio Ghibli bujo themes out there, because I had never seen any in my discovery journeys through Instagram or Pinterest. Boy was I in for a treat, because I found more than a few! This blog post in particular gave me a bunch of screenshots to compile for this theme.

I must say, I’m leaning really heavily towards this theme at the moment! I think it would be a lot of fun to make to April a Studio Ghibli-themed month as a whole. I’m thinking a movie marathon, an Instagram challenge of some sort, themed blog posts…

Idea 5. Coffee/Tea Love

My final idea for this month is hot beverages, specifically coffee but perhaps also tea. Going back to that college mindset, I always drank a lot more coffee around the end of each semester to keep going as I got busier. It’s also been so unusually cold this year where I live, that I find myself reaching for a decaf coffee or black tea more often than usual because the atmosphere just feels so right.

It’ll probably be hot by time April comes around, but I bet it will still be rainy. Who doesn’t like curling up with a hot cupa somethin’ by the window on a rainy day to be productive?

Pinterest

In February I decided to start using Pinterest to direct more traffic towards my blog. I did a proper post on it earlier this week, but for now I just want to say that it has been an awesome place to find and bookmark pin ideas that I want to be able to return to later.

See: 5 Things I Did to Grow My Pinterest Traffic

I used to just get all my ideas on Instagram, but Pinterest pulls content from there as well so you get a little more on Pinterest. One downside is if you want to get more information on a pin you find on Pinterest, it can be harder to track down the main source than it is on Instagram. But, truthfully, I see myself continuing to use both!

My point is if you’d like to get a first look at my theme idea posts, you can follow my Pinterest board which I’ve created specifically for spring bullet journal ideas which I’ve inserted below! I will likely use it until June when I’ll start a summer-themed board, but I also have a more general bujo inspiration board that you can check out as well.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I know I’ve been sayin’ it for two months now, but I truly plan to start doing more blog posts about bullet journalling, especially now that I feel like I have more to offer since I’ve been doing it for going-on three months. I also just bought a Scribbles That Matter journal so I feel more inspired to level up my designer game.

If you have any specific requests, be sure to let me know in the comments so I make sure they are covered in my upcoming blog series. As it currently is, I plan to share reasons for starting a bujo, how to start a bujo, and more general bujo spread ideas not necessarily related to theme.

Thank you for reading!
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March Bullet Journal Spread

As you may recall, last month I shared my ideas for my March bujo spread. I was torn between a few ideas, some more ambitious than others. Ultimately I decided to pick a simpler theme for this month as I knew how little time I would want to spend fiddling around with my design this month. So I chose mushrooms!

I consider this month a real turning point for me as it is the first in which I had do the bulk of the design work on my own. For January and February, I had people and existing spreads to look towards for how to set-up my journal. This time around I went into this spread with ideas of what I wanted and with my theme in mind but not fully formed until it was on the page.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like my title page this month! It’s the last thing I did to complete my March spread because I was putting it off. I had a few ideas for how this might go and I’m really pleased that I was able to whip this out fairly quickly. I was actually Skyping my writing buddy at the time!

As I mentioned in my February BuJo Flip-Through, I knew I wanted my monthly log to sit beside a space where I could work out my blog posts for the month. Last month I had a brain dump area that I ended up doing a lot of blog post brainstorming in, so I knew wanted a focused space to develop blog post ideas in March.

I also decided to add a stats sections to this page as I am starting to be more mindful of what I can learn from stats about blog content and promotion that works to grow my space. I included WordPress, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, even though my main focus this month is Pinterest.

I also decided to add a faux post-it where I could list ideas that are outside the scope of this month. I don’t anticipate having many of these ideas, but this space could be useful towards the end of the month when I’m thinking about April and what I would like to accomplish then.

Next up is my monthly goals page. I knew I wanted to dedicate a whole page to my goals this March because I realized that my bigger goals often have multiple layers of work that go into them, which I want to honor. Sometimes things don’t work out entirely the way you plan, so this month I wanted to be able to break down my goals so I knew what my action plans were.

I didn’t include them yet, but my goals are to start a newsletter, design some digital printables for the blog, and to work on my writing portfolio. All of these goals involve creating stuff, so I will use the page below to organize my thoughts on each item. I will also use the progress bars to track how many days I spend working towards those goals.

The last two pages I’m sharing today lead into my first three days of March. I didn’t go into these pages with much of a plan. I intended to do more with the mushroom theme here, but at a loss for ideas I floundered. I ended up adding a potential TBR list of books currently on my radar at the moment. Then I added a space for more brain dump essentially. I labeled it “to-do,” and I figure I’ll use it throughout the month as projects become more fully formed.

I decided to include a close up of my first quote design! I never saw the practicality of dedicating space and time to fancy lettering for the sake of a quote, but since I had the space I decided to just go for it. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out.

I love the motto of “do something today that your future self will thank you for.” I feel like it’s been the lesson I’ve needed to learn for the past few years. I’ve had much of the same hopes and dreams since I was 20, and I wish I had done more work towards those goals earlier so I’d be ahead of where I am today.

I figure this is as good a time as any make a small announcement. I ordered a Scribbles That Matter A5 pro dotted bullet journal this weekend! It’s my plan to move into that journal for April and use it for the rest of the year. I held off on purchasing a proper notebook because I wanted to be sure that I would last, and my bujo project for 2019 has been one of the things that have made me most proud and happy this year.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a bujo, I’m planning on doing more tutorial/advice posts this month about planning spreads and organizing elements you might want to include based on your lifestyle and needs.

Thank you for reading!
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February BuJo Flip-Through

At the beginning of February, I envisioned my flip-through as being one of my first videos for my YouTube channel. As it turned it out, I didn’t end up making the time to develop my YouTube strategy in February. But I still want to show off my bullet journal in the hopes it inspires anyone out there to give it a try for themselves!

A part of me is nervous to share this flip-through, but I’m nervous for the same reason that I am so motivated to share it. I feel like it can be intimidating to start bullet journalling, even if it’s something that seems like it would fit perfectly into your life as creative person, blogger, or even just a student juggling multiple classes.

A bullet journal is supposed to help you organize and track the things in life that matter to you. Sometimes you start the month with a beautiful bujo spread and then find you scarcely used it. Whether that be because you got caught up in the parts of your life that do not factor into your bujo or because you simply fall behind on it and don’t know how to catch up.

The important thing is to stay positive and keep tweaking. I still see a light at the end of the tunnel where my bujo is my holy grail for productivity. I’m still working out what spreads work, things that I should be including, and how to make a better use of space. It’s okay!

⟡  February Flip-Through  

So I still love the first four pages of my bullet journal. I love the simple, clean look of the monthly calendar with the theme introduction. I also really love having the monthly log with the dates listed down the middle. I’m going to keep that for next month.

One thing I definitely decided to change was the placement of these two pages. I discovered that it would be much more helpful if I had my monthly log beside a page where I’m brainstorming and planning out blog content I’m excited about creating, since my monthly log is a place where I bookmark days for blog posts.

I had a lot of exciting ideas this month and quickly found I needed a lot more space for my brain dump! I barely used it in January, which is why I ended up having the hanging lightbulbs dangling in this area. But in March I really need to have more space for my content notes and ideas! I possibly even need multiple areas in future to spread out by topic (e.g. blog posts, products, projects).

I think my inclusion of my monthly goals and growth tracker was a really cute snapshot of the month’s priorities and growth. However, I do have ideas for how to expand my March goals section so that I can better track my progress and all the tasks that fall under my individual goals.

Once again, I still really love this page that shows the books I read plus a writing graph to track my writing progress, but I barely used them. Writing wasn’t a big focus of month. I didn’t think it would be, so why did I include it? Because it fit and looked cute!

THE WEEKLYS

Now onto my weekly spreads. I really thought I would like my first week’s spread, but I ultimately felt like it took me a lot of time (those dots!) and I didn’t like how FULL it became. I wish there had been more negative space. One thing I am proud of is my use of the side bars.

Week Two was by far my favorite. I was a little skeptical of how it would work for me, but I love the way it turned out. I feel like I have a much better sense of the week at a glance and I’m not even bothered by the empty space here. I’ll be repeating this format a lot more in the future.

Weeks Three and Four were created on the same day! I actually made a mistake and started working on Week Three a page ahead of where it should’ve been in my notebook! I didn’t want to waste the space, so I rearranged the numbers (dates) and quickly whipped up another weekly spread to use for Week Three (February 18-24th) instead.

It was actually inspired by a really cute cartoonish layout design I found on Instagram (@amizaomar). I just couldn’t figure out how to work in my lightbulb theme into the box so I just ended up trudging along, ignoring the next page. It wasn’t the most productive week. It was actually my birthday week and the one following my decision to spring for the Premium WordPress account, but I didn’t do a whole lot so there was nothing much to record.

Week Four’s layout is actually one I really like inspired by @kaixjane on Instagram. I used a version of it in January with my cloud theme. It took over an hour to do with the clouds, so I wanted to go really minimal on it this month. Again, the theme didn’t really factor into the layout.

I really like that this spread allows for a lot of unconfined space. It takes pressure off of needing to fill the space ahead of time and allows me to add whatever notes I see fit as the week progresses.

If you’re wondering where my March bujo is, don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten it. I just decided this post was long enough to stand on its own. My March bujo spread is coming later today! In that post I will share my March spread and the design rationale behind it. I went with the mushroom theme and it’s the first month in which I feel like I came into my own as a bujo planner.

Thank you for reading!
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March BuJo Theme Ideas

As soon as I started my February bullet journal spread, I was already thinking about next month’s spread. While I knew I was looking for a very simple theme for February, it was inevitable that I would come across more complex and exciting themes than I was currently ready to try out. After discovering so many new bujo artists and more styles of layout than I knew could exist, I starting making a note of my favorites.

Rather than keep my folder to myself, I decided to start sharing what I’ve discovered and learned from primarily Instagram on my blog!

So today I’m sharing the themes I’m contemplating for the month of March, just to get a head start in planning. I started a little late in February and regret not planning ahead for the month so that I could have more flexibility and fun with the layout.

March Theme Ideas

When I think of March, I think of spring time. I think of rain, flowers in bloom, babies bunnies and chicks, Easter, pastel colors. Yuck. Spring is my least favorite time of year. I like rain, but I already did a cloud theme for my January spread.

So it has been a little bit of challenge to think of how to become excited for March. After scrolling through loads of bujo content on Instagram, I found a few themes that I thought would work. I also had some ideas organically based on my life and interests at the moment. I made a theme cloud.

Feathers | I like the idea of feathers because it fits into the spring theme when I think of newborn chicks. I could see myself taking it in a few different directions. I could go the peacock route and really have fun with the feather design and color. I would also go with a more Native American-inspired aesthetic, with dream catchers and other accessories.

Mushrooms / Woodlands | When I think of rain that generally comes with spring showers, I also think of mushrooms. I live in a wooded area that is prone to mushroom sprouts, so that could be a central feature to my March theme that I would enjoy creating. My dad taught me how to draw mushrooms when I was little, so there’s a sentimental aspect to the mushroom design as well. To round it out so I’m not just drawing mushrooms, I figured I could expand it to a woodland theme as well, with grass, wildflowers, and animals if I’m feeling ambitious.

City Hall | I actually had this idea on my own! I drive through city hall every day on my way to work and have appreciated how well kept it is. It was decorated during the holidays, but also looks really nice without lights and decor. I could see myself having fun doing street lamps, benches, industrial flower pots, street signs, and old-fashioned store fronts. It would be an ambitious task because I would have to do a lot of the spread layout design on my own. This theme gives me some Wes Anderson vibes.

Weird Magic | Somewhat associated with my ideas for the feather and mushroom themes is this idea of incorporating weird magic of crystals, moons, black cats, crows, etc. There’s an artist on Instagram (Celine @ enemesis_4) whose work has been some of my favorite in terms of her use of color and illustrations.

Murder Mystery | This is another theme I thought of as I just finished reading The Vanishing Stair, and feel like I have generally always read Agatha Christie on rainy spring days. It would be a really fun challenge to design my own murder mystery spread, but it may be a bit ambitious to complete in just one month. Maybe I’ll save this idea for May…

The theme I will select for March will really depend on how much time I feel I will have to prepare for it and what materials I have at my disposal, because some of my more ambitious ideas would be sad to complete without the requisite color. I think if I feel like going for something more simple, I will just end up doing the feathers or mushroom theme.

Let me know which of these themes are your favorite and if you are a bullet journalist what your theme ideas for March are!

Thank you for reading!
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Base Image of Featured Image: Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

My 2019 Bullet Journal + January Spread

Over the past couple of years, I have begun dabbling in bullet journalling. I’ve always loved stationary and keeping a planner in school. I’ve also always been highly reflective, creativity-inclined, and goal-oriented, so bullet journalling felt like a natural fit for me. I’m also attracted to the fact that it is something I could make and hold in my hands since so much of my time is spent online.

In total, I had created three monthly spreads before this month, for June 2017, September 2018, and October 2018. Each time felt like an experiment. When I was first starting out, I didn’t know what page elements I would want or need during the month. I didn’t know what was practical and or what would work for me.

I’m not going to lie, I did not complete filling out any of these previous spreads, abandoning each project at some point during the month. But each time I started a new one, I got closer to the right layout and elements for me.

In this blog post, I will share my inspiration, my January spread, and my rationale for what I decided to include in my bullet journal this month.

My Method

I was recently watching AmandaRachLee‘s 2018 Journal Flip Through for ideas when I came to an important realization. While I love her artistic style and creativity in spreads, I do not feel motivated to make my bullet journal a planner. I don’t have many important dates to remember each month and prefer to keep an actual paper calendar on my desk for quick reference.

Rather my aim with my bullet journal to track progress on my projects over time, to brainstorm, to keep a log of the things I want to do and actually do. Some people also make their bullet journal their diary, but I personally am keeping that in a separate notebook. I treat my bullet journal more as a physical manifestation of a online blog, highly selective and curated towards what I want to share and remember.

If you’re interested in starting a bullet journal, I highly recommend:

  1. Immersing yourself in the bullet journal communities in the blogosphere, on Pinterest, on Instagram, and on YouTube. There are a lot of fun ideas to parse through and only you know what spreads will work best for you.
  2. Practicing first in journals you already have. You don’t need to buy special notebooks or pens when you are just starting out! It will most likely just psyche you out anyway if you have perfectionist tendencies; you will be too anxious not to make mistakes.
  3. Using sticky notes to organize your layout. Some people like to create story board-like rough drafts before they start putting pen officially to paper, but I find sticky notes work just as well. After I list all the page elements I want, I go through my journal and figure out where things will fit most naturally.

I went back and forth with the idea of buying a new notebook for my bullet journal this year. The specific one on my wish list was the Scribbles That Matter A5 dotted notebook. It was only $20, but money was tight over the holidays and I wanted to buy gifts for my loved ones instead. *le sigh*

Also, the more I thought about it, I realized using a regular notebook would work just as well. It would be my gimmick if I started dedicating more of my blog-space and focus to journalling. So I looked through my small collection of notebooks I had collected over the years and decided to use a more recently acquired journal, my Target decomposition notebook. It’s a nice size and makes me happy every time I look at it.

One negative to this notebook is that my pen ink (Pilot G-2, fine, ball-point) bleeds through the pages quite easily. My current solution is to tape pages together so I do not need to worry about the visibility of the ink marks. It feels a little wasteful of page space, but I figure I might find better solution later on this year. I know there’s liquid paper I could paint over the back, and I could also start gluing in loose leaf.

My January 2019 Spread

I decided to make clouds my January theme because it’s been a very rainy winter in Texas this year and because I always feel like I always have my head in the clouds, especially around the new year. Clouds carry a lot of symbolic meaning.

I did not come up with this theme on my own. My spread is heavily inspired by my bujo idol AmandaRachLee‘s April 2018 set-up, from the distinct cloud design to specific page elements like the mood tracker. Where I deviated was primarily in the actual layout. I don’t love drawing out calendars, so my spreads have elements that lend themselves better to list formats and brain dumps.

Directly after the main page, I have a page for my mood and habit trackers. I find it enlightening to be able to see at a glance how happy or unhappy I was during a month, particularly since I generally end the month without remembering everything that went on. I’m still working out how I want to visually depict my mood (e.g. via size of rain drop, length dropped, or color shade of blue-grey).

I used to make my habit trackers a simple table that would take up half a page. I decided to try out this mini-calendar design to better be able to see how consistently I was sticking to the daily habits I wanted to nurture.

Next up is my two-column January event planner. I break it up into personal and blog categories for better spatial organization. Personal plans might be related to work, appointments, or social events. For the blog section, I like to keep track of the blog posts I plan to write. Once they are complete and published, I go over the final titles in ink so I can see at a glance what went up that month.

Next to my plans, I like to be able to see the specific goals I set for the month. The ones shown in the picture below (see page on the right) were ideas I had last week before I hurt my back. I plan to get to them once I’m 100% again!

I also like to keep space for brain dump. Here I record any special ideas I might have regarding writing, blogging, or any number of my projects. It’s not a lot of space, but I do find that it’s enough room key ideas that remind me what I was thinking at the time.

The newest addition to my monthly spread a place for weekly notes and to-do lists. Many people allot space for diary-like notes they want to remember. I personally see myself just writing to-do lists and short life highlights. I folded a page in half to reduce the number of times I would have to draw the side-bar calendar. 

I have still been thinking about how I want to use this space, so I’ve not applied much ink beyond the side-bar calendar. I do think it will be a place to keep track of what I end up doing each day or maybe job positions for which I apply.

 ☙ ❧ End Note ❧ ☙

I hope you liked this blog post! I have been wanting to start talking about bullet journalling on this blog for a long time. In case anyone’s interested, I think I will try to share a flip through this spread at the end of the month with some more commentary about how well my set-up worked. I’d also like to start doing more focused posts about the set-up of my bullet journals.

I will be back this weekend most likely with a writing update + 2019 writing plans. I have a post on my recent reads that is nearly complete, but I think that I will not be able to finish the last book I want to talk about until after this weekend.

Do you bullet journal? How do create your monthly spreads? Is your set-up organized entirely differently?