Everyone struggles with perfectionism, and as a perfectionist myself, I’ve had to just GET OVER IT when dealing with my bullet journal. You always see the prettiest, most perfect pictures out there on Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs, but do you think that’s how they started out?
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Do you think that their WHOLE journal is just a piece of perfect artwork?
I don’t think so.
(well maybe some of you it is… but I guarantee it didn’t start out that way!)
How I Started
My first supplies
It’s fun to look back on the summer of 2016 and remember when I discovered this little journaling hobby. I know I’m not nearly as ‘experienced’ as many of the planners and art journalers out there, but I knew this is what was missing in my life!
Once I read about this hobby called bullet journaling, I literally COULDN’T WAIT TO START!
I ordered my “legit” supplies from Amazon:
- a black hardcover Leuchtturm 1917 A5 journal
- Staedtler Triplus fineliners (the 10 pack)
- A little 6-inch Helix ruler
Since, I knew I’d have to wait a few days (first world problems), I went ahead and made the trip to Target to grab something to “practice” in.
After reading about bullet journaling, and even more about the supplies, I realized I hadn’t really “needed” school supplies in the past few years. I was like weirdly excited to buy some new pens and stickers and begin this new hobby! 🤓
Oh – and at this point, I had no idea washi tape even existed, so I found the aisle in Target and got a few rolls.
I also got a $3 notebook from the dollar spot, and it was DOTTED 🤩(turns out this was very rare – I haven’t seen one since!)
Legit Supplies - Now What?!
So I got my 3 new prized possessions in the mail, and of course I took a picture…
After opening everything up, I was SO nervous to actually make a mark in it. Like, I’ve never bought a $20 notebook before and I was so scared to ruin it! This is another one of those ‘perfectionist’ thoughts that need to just stop!
THIS “I’m so scared to ruin it” mindset is what hinders SO many people from even beginning. This is what is holding you back from creating and growing.
My $3 notebook from Target had a few ‘draft’ pages in it so when I got the real thing I had some ideas to work with. Once I had my supplies in hand, I grabbed my draft notebook, and dove in…
The draft above is what inspired my very first bullet journal weekly spread, which is really what set me on the path I’m on today. I shared this in a group on Facebook, and it got over 1,000 likes and my Instagram was growing rapidly too. I had people asking me for measurements for this particular layout, and I knew I wanted to figure out a way to teach my design.
THIS is when I started to challenge myself to design a new weekly spread a week, and share my designs digitally with the whole world. I had no idea I’d continue for the rest of the year AND the entire 2017 with unique spreads weekly AND monthly…
Creating new, unique spreads kinda became ‘my thing.’
And to think, this whole ‘Life by Whitney’ thing wouldn’t have come about if I let perfectionism overtake me. NOTHING would have happened if I didn’t make that first pen mark — Sometimes that’s all you need to do to create the change you need!
I’d missed my creativity for the past 10 years or so, and I was excited to take that very first step.
Since it’s been over 2 years now, I wanted to take a minute to flip through my very first journal and show you IT’S FAR FROM PERFECT. I want to get you motivated to start a journal that you love for YOURSELF, and not for anyone else. This is all about YOU growing, learning and experimenting to make the system work for you.
Learn to get over your perfectionist ways, and the possibilities are endless!
Take a Look...
I pulled out my very first bullet journal and wanted to do a flip-through for you to realize not every page is perfect – and actually MOST of my pages are just practice, mess-ups, and blank pages. 😳
What I've Learned
So now that I’ve been journaling for over 2 years, I’ve learned quite a bit about the hobby.
Now, I know…
- Don’t let ONE pen mark stress you out. Look at the big picture. As long as you’re attempting SOMETHING it’s better than nothing at all, and you can’t grow if you don’t even try!
- You don’t need thousands of dollars worth of supplies – you can start with a pen and notebook you already own. Practice with this until you want to invest in the more expensive supplies.
- The Staedtler pens are fabulous still, but I’ve found a few more favorites — AND I recommend the 20-pack if you want a variety of colors. (Get my supplies guides here)
- The Leuchtturm is still a great notebook, but I’ve started using the Scribbles that Matter Pro notebook. I totally recommend them – the pages are a little bit thicker and their team is amazing too 🙂
- The ruler was a GREAT choice – the cork-back is crucial to help reduce smearing.
- Start however and whenever and with whatever the heck you want! Since this is your new hobby (and yours alone), so start with a legal pad or whatever you have on hand to jot down some ideas.
- You will have times in your life that you can’t plan journal everyday, and that’s OK. Keep your most important tasks in your phone or digital calendar so you have a backup system for important appointments. I use an app called GoodTask that syncs with Google Calendar, my iPhone reminders, and it’s super easy to use. (You can find more about digital productivity in Journal YOU)
- This community is AWESOME and very helpful, if you have questions – ask! There are tons of Facebook groups out there with those questions already answered somewhere, and I even have my own and love answering your questions 🙂
If you’re a beginner, click the link below to grab a Supplies starter guide – this includes full supplies starter kits for $10, $30, and $50.
Ready to start your journal?
Join the free Journal Kickstart or my new course Journal You – my new passion projects that help YOU get started on a journal you LOVE. There’s a ton of guided videos, PDF worksheets and reference guides that will help you get started on the right track 🙂
Tag @lifebywhitney IN your picture on Instagram or share in my Facebook group if you ever get any inspiration from one of my designs. You can always find all of my free designs in my shop or in my VIP Vault under “Weekly Spreads.”
I use affiliate links throughout this blog to make a tiny compensation on some of the products listed ~ this doesn’t cost you more if you buy, but it definitely helps support the blog!