I am so excited to get this brand new blog series out to you ~ ‘The Planner Behind the Planner’.
The blog posts will feature interviews with some of the most impressive and influential journal & planner bloggers, creators, and friends. I’ve connected with so many talented people since I’ve started my bullet journal journey, and I want to share with you some ‘behind the scenes’ info about the actual people behind their beautiful planners! Stay tuned for several posts in this series in the next few months.
I’m so excited to get this thing kicked off with one of my very first online planner friends, Jennifer from @inkbyjeng on Instagram. I’ve been such a fan since I can remember, and she was one of my very first Friday Features back in the day on Instagram. She’s so hard-working, and inspiring, and I’m constantly impressed by her pen skills, brilliant products, and minimalistic style.
If you haven’t seen Jennifer’s work yet, you should definitely go check out her IG account and newly opened shop on her website. She not only keeps a bullet journal for herself, she also creates products to take your bullet journal to the next level. She started off with stickers, stamps and stencils, and she’s just released a whole new washi tape line. 😍 She has a killer Etsy page too, with nearly 5700 Fan ❤’s.
Ok – you get the picture, she’s pretty amazing. Now, let’s get to the questions…
Your name? Where you're from? What you do? & Your age?
I’m the Jeng in @INKBYJENG. It’s a family nickname that stuck. My full name is Jennifer.
I was born and raised in the Bay Area (Northern California) but I recently moved to Colorado.
I’m a software developer and Owner/Designer of INKBYJENG.
And I’m 32!
How long have you been creatively planning or bullet journaling? What is your favorite part about it?
I’ve been bullet journaling since October 2016. I distinctly remember having my journal for almost two weeks before even wanting to write in it!
My journal is me. It’s what I’m feeling that day, that week, that month. Some days it’s very artistic, and some days it’s just a simple list.
It’s exactly what I need it to be: flexible. Each of my journals look completely different. And I love that. I love seeing my style change and evolve.
If you could only have 3 journaling supplies (not including your journal), what would they be?
This is simple:
A pen, a straight edge and correction tape!
More specifically: Pentel Hybrid Technica 03, my large bujo stencil and any sort of correction tape (tape, not liquid).
“Each of my journals look completely different. And I love that. I love seeing my style change and evolve.“
Have you always been a “planner`` or is it something you recently realized you needed in your life?
I wouldn’t have called myself a planner, I was more of a list maker.
I like writing lists on any scratch paper I can find.
I usually lose them, but this is why I’m much more productive with having a place to put all my lists. 🙂
Do you use any digital planning? What are your favorite productivity apps & websites (computer or phone)?
I’m not a huge digital planner when it comes to my personal tasks.
I do use the notes app on my phone to jot anything down and at night or in the morning I will transfer those tasks to my journal.
However, I do use various apps to help plan projects. At work I’m typically using some sort of project management tool like Pivotal Tracker or Monday. I’m also a huge fan of the Kanban scheduling system and find Trello to be simple and flexible enough to use for personal projects.
What is ONE piece of advice for anyone beginning their creative planning journey?
Copy first and then find your groove.
Imitating spreads and using other sources as inspiration when starting out makes it really easy to get started. I did this for a few weeks. And I quickly realized what worked for me and what didn’t.
Sooner or later you’ll start adapting the spreads to fit your needs and match your style.
What is one book that has changed your life?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo.
My husband and I moved into an apartment after graduating college and stayed there for 9 years. We had dreams of giving up our jobs and traveling the world, but my things and my mess literally weighed me down and kept me in place.
Almost 5 years after that initial conversation we had finally decided to take the plunge and do it. I knew I had to change my relationship with my belongings if I was to ever move out of my apartment. Kondo’s book helped me with that. I was able to get rid of most belongings and start our nomadic journey with just a little more than a duffel bag.
What is something unique that your followers don't know about you?
I absolutely LOVE fast food.
But there are 5 fast food restaurant chains that I haven’t eaten at since 2011 because the addiction is too strong.
What are some of your favorite spreads in your journal?
I’m a strong believer in keeping positivity at the forefront of your journal.
In addition to planning and sketching, my journal acts as a source of motivation when I need it. I often add motivational quotes directly from my own health and fitness posts.
Looking back at these spreads empowers me. They make me question what I have going on in my life right now. They help me to put things into perspective.
If I find myself writing something negative in my journal, I’ll most likely tear it out.
When looking back at my old bujos I don’t need a reminder of the negative things that brought me down. Often times I can recall this all on my own.
I have a harder time remembering the positive. The things that I’ve accomplished. These are the reminders that I want and need.
Who are your favorite inspiration accounts you follow and what are some of your favorite blogs and resources for planning, lettering, creativity, blogging, or creative journaling?
- Liz: @bonjournal_ I just love her floral aesthetic. I love how she finds ways to incorporate the florals in her bujo so effortlessly.
- Alli: @allikdesign Too much goodness. I love how her designs are simple yet soooo intricate. And her book is amazing.
- Jennifer: @bricksonpaper Her TN is just amazing. I love how she puts everything together. She has even used some of my free printables in ways I never imagined! She takes these stickers,paper,everything and really makes it her own.
- @fieldstudyshop: Everything from the color palette to the products makes me want to play with my journal. Inspiration for journaling doesn’t have to be a journal spread, it can be anything really!
“Looking back at these spreads empowers me. They make me question what I have going on in my life right now. They help me to put things into perspective.“
What are you currently learning or working on and what would you like to learn?
I am currently learning Italian.
My husband has been learning for a year and I have a lot of catching up to do before our trip in August!
I want to especially thank Jennifer for taking the time out of her schedule to answer these questions. I LOVE hearing new and interesting things from online friends I haven’t met yet. She has the exact same ‘Life-Changing’ book as me ~ Marie Kondo all the way. 🙌
I swear we’re all gonna meet up someday in some planner meet-up! Until then, I’ll just stay behind the screen and keep admiring all of the insanely talented folks out there. 🤩 I know I shared her shop and Instagram but she also has a blog at inkbyjeng.com with how-to draw tutorials – check out this one all about How to Draw Bamboo & she also shares her phone photo editing tips!
👇 Let me know in the comment section what you think or anything else you want to ask Jennifer – I’d also love your suggestions on future questions you’re dying to know from other pro-planners. 👇
If you wanna stay informed about future Planner Behind the Planner posts (PBTP), be sure to subscribe to my newsletter or follow along in my Instagram story. I’ll create a featured story there with all of the interviews.