Beyond Bullet Journal – this time it’s personal!

As I’ve been blogging about for the past few weeks, I’ve taken up bullet journaling as a way to get myself more organised and productive. My little Midori Passport now goes everywhere with me, as both to-do list and writer’s notebook, and I love it – but I wasn’t so happy with the rest of my setup. For my to-do lists, BuJo (as it’s apparently known in the community) is perfect, but for personal journals it’s just too, well, impersonal. I wanted something that captured my creative life in more detail than a dry list of activities.

Because, let’s face it, we’ve all seen awesome-looking journals in movies and TV shows, whether it’s Indiana Jones’ archaeological secrets, or the Hunters’ notebooks that feature in the TV show Supernatural – and whilst most people’s lives may be far less exciting (and admittedly lacking the deadly traps and soul-sucking demons), they’re still full of moments worth recording.

Journal scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

For my creative journalling and novel planning I now have:

  • Midori “Passport” Traveller’s Notebook – contains plain and lined inserts for doodling and story notes (as well as a gridded insert for my planner/bullet journal)
  • Standard Midori Traveller’s Notebook with three inserts:
    • Gridded paper for day-per-page personal journal
    • Plain paper for art class exercises
    • Lined paper for bullet journal “collections” – book lists and so on – and long-term planning
  • Tom Bihn Field Journal Notebook for general writing notes (non-book-specific)
  • X17 (A5-sized) for series bible
    • Four inserts, plain and lined

plus of course lots of pens, coloured pencils and other art materials. As you can see in the photo below, I’ve already adorned both Midoris with cute charms – apparently, in addition to my usual fox fetish I now also have a thing about wols!

What secrets lie within?

The X17 inserts are all micro-perforated, and the plan is to eventually take them apart and file the individual pages in an A5 binder – probably the big leather Filofax that’s been gathering dust on my desk for some time. It won’t be quite as glamorous as Indy’s journal, but on the other hand it zips up all the way round, which should protect the contents from sacrificial blood and other messy accidents!

At first I was worried I wouldn’t have anything to put in my journal every day, but so far I haven’t had any problem coming up with topics. It helps that by the time I’ve included a mini spiraldex and a handful of bullet points for what I’m reading/knitting/watching on TV, I only have space for a couple of paragraphs of text and a small drawing or photo. For the most part it’s pretty mundane stuff, but that’s the point of a personal journal: to capture the extraordinary within the ordinary, whether it’s seeing a rainbow for the first time in ages or enjoying a delicious strawberry sorbet cone on one of the last hot days of the year. I feel it’s already making me more mindful of my surroundings and activities, and I’m looking forward to including more sketches and decorative elements in future entries.

The hard part will be ensuring that this fun new hobby doesn’t eat into my writing time, but let’s face it – writers are expert procrastinators anyway. If we weren’t, social media would be a much quieter place!