I’ve been a journaler for many years. Scratching out my thoughts and dreams, hopes and feelings has always been something that has calmed me and let me really think things through. I’m an introvert and most certainly an internal processor, so the journaling practice is something that has helped me through quite a few major life changes.
When I had my first child in 2014, all of a sudden my hands were full a lot of the time. And, the time that they weren’t full I was trying desperately to squeeze in either a shower, a few winks of sleep, or a mad edit of a couple photos. There was a ton of stuff I needed to get into my journals, but I just plain couldn’t. It was around that time that my friend and amazing NYC documentary family photographer, Francesca Russell posted about bullet journaling. It was exactly what I needed – permission from a broad community of people to do my journaling in bullet points and lists, permission for my ‘to-do lists’ to count as a record of my days worth keeping around, permission for my random scribblings, doodles and found bits to count. Let me be clear, no one needed to give me permission for these things to matter, but what I had needed at that particular moment was for these things to be okay to be valuable to me.
I don’t follow Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal design exactly and have adapted it to suit my needs. I draw out a whole year’s worth of monthly calendars at the very beginning of every book, keeping an extra page in between each month for lists that will pertain to that time frame (thank you notes to write, meals to try, things to pack, etc.). Instead of weekly spreads, I do a daily list along with any notes that are relevant to that day. Any larger lists (books read/to read, movies to see, wish lists, house projects, successful recipes to remember, the like) I put in the backs of my books.
I’ve tried all sorts of other (more expensive) journals and planners, but I keep coming back to this method. It’s the thing that keeps working well for me. This year I stretched out into a Leuchtturm1917 book, but I’m not completely sold and will either go back to the Moleskines that I had been using, or head over to my favorite art store and see what new treasures I can find!
Are you a journaler? Do you have a favorite planner or journal? Are there pens or pencils that you just have to have? I’m always fascinated to have glimpses into what works well for other folks!
All the best,