Between the blog and Google Calendar and my stash of $0.99 purple-covered composition books from Wal-Mart, I was doing just fine keeping up with the chronicles of daily life, various appointments, and the to-do list. I didn’t need a Bullet Journal. I didn’t want a Bullet Journal. I’d resisted the siren call to even return to the Day Timer ever since they closed my favorite brick-and-mortar store, got trendy, and doubled their prices.
And then my daughter mentioned she’d gotten into Bullet Journaling.
I was intrigued. Thus far, I’d resisted the siren call of the BuJo Cult, but with my daughter singing its praises, how could I remain on the outside, looking in?
Now, I’m sitting here, mentally paralyzed by the intimidatingly pristine blank pages of three lovely Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, surrounded by vibrant, smooth, fine-liners in ten assorted colors, and a cheap twelve-pack of stencils to make my own organizing layouts, wondering what I’ve done to my brain.
This is not healthy. Of course, at its most most basic minimalism, Bullet Journaling is exactly what I’ve been happily doing in those $0.99 composition books all along. It is meant to be simple. It wasn’t designed to be a competitive, artistic sport. And it suits the creative rebellion I always felt in trying to fit my mind-maps into Day Timer’s pre-made page templates and system. I just didn’t have a name for it. I only had two “signifiers” – a bullet or a checkmark. To-do, and done. Best of all, I could rip out pages. I could scrap the whole thing and start over if it got too messy. I could doodle up the margins, scribble notes during meetings, get all anal-retentive about my hand-writing, and not worry about presenting it as an artful, coherent whole. At $0.99, I could give myself permission to write utter crap and get stuff done. I was beating the perfectionism monster at its own game. I was almost free.
But you don’t do that in an archival-quality, hard-bound, bookmark-festooned, purple journal that comes with an expanding storage compartment for your damned stencils. And you certainly don’t do it when you’ve invested time and effort in gussying it up with “layouts” and colorful doodles and bits of flotsam and jetsam your brain’s dropped into “collections” and indexed. This is exactly why I always bought Day Timers with five-ring binders and removable pages, and exactly why I have a dozen cheap composition books from Wal-Mart.
Dare I point out that the Index belongs at the back of the book, or that odd-numbered pages belong on the right-hand side?
Dare I gripe about the iPhone bigotry and there being no Android app, when the whole point of this is to go back to basics, pen, and paper?
To add insult to injury, I found the Bullet Journalers’ NaNoWriMo layout videos.
Dear Diary-from-Hell, I can’t do this.