My journey through bullet journaling has been relatively short but I have had an absolute blast playing with spreads and learning what works for me. I originally started out with a 5 x 4 inch graph paper notebook in September 2019. It was a great starting point for me because the spreads where smaller and it was much easier to travel with.
Not only did my small graphing notebook have white pages, but it had a cream color on the cover of the journal. The cover was similar to card stock paper. Since I traveled with it and used it everyday, I found the cover getting dirty and difficult to keep clean. Even on some of the pages, there were signs of dirt or grease.
Of course, you can’t keep everything in pristine condition forever. However, this journal was not even a month old before I started to notice the usage. I will note that this particular journal was relatively inexpensive, so that also played a role. I will take some of the blame too since I am the person using it.
The most important thing I noticed in this journal was my boredom. I was using the same color markers and always resorting to the basic black ink pen. I really didn’t incorporate themes then because I was just starting out and seeing if I actually liked bullet journaling. When looking for inspiration on spread ideas, I noticed that a majority of the bullet journalling community used white pages and that very few branched out.
Part of my goal for the new year is to push my creativity to its limits. I realized that if I stuck to the white pages, I wouldn’t necessary challenge myself. I would be comfortable and ultimately falling short of working my brain with new ideas. I would be stuck in the cycle of the basic black pen. I was able to make this observation because I know myself and the habits I tend to lean too.
This does not mean to throw out every white page notebook you have. Black pens need love too. This also does not mean that people who bullet journal with white pages are not creative. Heck, most of the bullet journaling people that do use white pages are more creative than me! This is just me explaining that in order to push my creativity to it’s full potential, I had to go big.
I cashed out on an A5 BLACKOUT book that has a deep green cover with gold foiled leaves. I choose a darker cover because the wear would not show as much compared to a soft pink or yellow. I also went for the gold foiled edges because I thought they would inspire me to use the journal a little bit more.
Now a little more than a month in, I can confidently say that choosing the blackout journal for 2020 was the best choice. Although I struggled with the decision in the beginning, this journal has definitely been an experiment that has been fun to play with. I don’t love every spread in my current journal, but I do love the idea of me trying my hardest to think outside the box.
My favorite thing is when someone ask me about my hobby of bullet journaling. I always show them my journal first and then proceed to explain the basic principles of bullet journaling. Everyone is always intrigued by my black pages and that makes me happy. It makes me feel like a blacksheep.
Although I love my blackout journal, I will not stick to black pages forever. I have other stationary that I hope to use again when I transfer over to white pages. Currently, my most used supplies for the blackout book are Uni Posca paint pens and a few of the Gelly Roll Moonlight pens. Here are just a few of my favorite spreads in my current bullet journal: