Or, How I Took The Bullet Journal Craze and Robbed It of All Warmth, Creativity and Joy
So, like every other red-blooded suburban mother of two, I am known to spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest. While there, I stuff my little corner of the Cloud full of creative and amazing projects I like to imagine I will Martha Stewart/Joanna Gaines my way through some day.
If I pin it, it’s just like it really happened, right?
Recently, the Pinosphere has been going crazy with a brand-new trend: the bullet journal. The idea is that you write down your plans, your to-dos, yours notes and your wishes and dreams all down in the fanciest blank book you can find, and then illustrate each page with colored markers, washi tape, glitter and good cheer. It's like making all your sticky notes by the phone into gallery-worthy art that is a joy to behold. It's the difference between:
But wait. Before I delve into this topic, you need some back story. I am a back-to-school nerd, an obsessive organizer, and a shopaholic. When I was a kid, I used to start thinking about my school supplies in June, buy them in July, and then spend the month of August arranging, smelling, and lovingly staring at them (yes, smelling. I love the scent of ink, markers, rubber cement, mimeographs, and industrial chemicals. So sue me.).
Anyway, in those halcyon days of late childhood summer I would dream about how I was going to be the best student ever, with the prettiest handwriting and the tidiest, smoothest notebook pages and the most organized EVERYTHING. Give me a new pencil box and a package of Dixon Ticonderogas, and I'd be happy all day, sharpening then to precise points and imagining the knowledge and creativity I'd be sharing with my sure-to-be-amazed teachers, who would all call their friends to tell them about this one student who made their decision to teach worthwhile... but I digress.
It’s also true that I also have a short attention span, so all this dreaming would be over by September 15. By then I was tired of lugging heavy books around and grumbling about homework and the dittos that never lined up properly with loose-leaf paper for a smooth binder edge. I was also usually angry about the three-ring binder that got bent and KILLED THE WHOLE BLASTED YEAR for me. Fiddlesticks.
So anyway…back to the bullet journal. I saw it on Pinterest last fall, so I had several months to prepare for January 1, the Magic Day When All Things Are New Again. Think back-to-school, only this time with my own credit card.
I got a pretty little binder with those disc things (so they can’t bend and wreck my experience), some interesting markers, washi tape, and little steel stencils for decorating the pages. After laying out all my supplies (and sniffing them—no luck there), I lovingly got out my trusty label maker (it is my most prized possession, with my laminator coming in close second), and began organizing the tabs. To-dos. Notes. Receipts. And a little tab called “Musings,” for when I am waiting somewhere and want to jot down my thoughts, like a misty, modern-day Anne Morrow Lindbergh at the Biggby downtown waiting for her meeting to begin.
Inspired by this vision, I began laying out my priorities and realized I hate my handwriting. Why mar such a pretty journal with stupid looking penmanship that’s never going to be nice? Anne Morrow Lindbergh probably had nice writing. Anyway, then I started working on my computer, figuring I’d print everything out, put it in the binder, and then decorate it.
My pages are nice—very sectioned up and organized by morning, afternoon and evening. I have a lovely MS Word section with all my to-dos, so I can gaze at them and only feel mildly overwhelmed but still optimistic.
Now we hit the nitty-gritty. Turns out I have no idea what to do with the washi tape or the stencils. I use the markers as pens and try to vary the color, but I don’t think that’s a forever solution. Pretty soon, this is just going to be an ordinary planner again. And then I’ll get mad and decide Evernote or Wunderlist or Asana really works better anyway. Why be such a dinosaur anyway, I’ll reason. Come into the Digital Age, Steph!! Sheez.
Which will take me back out to the Internet, looking around for a low-maintenance solution that makes sense. And then, I will stumble back into Pinterest. See where this is going?
The bigger question is this: will I be able to see it too, when it happens?