Goodbye Diary, Hello Journal

An example of a bullet journal, an increasingly popular style of journaling.

There are two types of people in this world: the people who journal and the people who tried to journal, but failed. For those in the latter category, Brooklyn native Ryder Carol created the bullet journal.

An increasingly popular method of journaling, bullet journals consist of topics, page numbers, short sentences and bullets to help organize thoughts. The topics are titles — most often the day’s date, and the bullets are usually different symbols that help to differentiate content. The company, Bullet Journal, sells journals designed specifically for this type of writing, and even offers an app to accompany this planner-diary hybrid.

Avid users of bullet journals like GLS sophomore Stephanie Min finds that bullet journaling has more creative freedom and organizational structure.

“Journaling to me seems more about writing how you feel and just really ranting about how your day went or what’s on your mind,” Min said. “Bullet journaling can be like that, but for me, it’s really just outlining and planning what I have to do and what I want to do.”

Gallatin senior Gabriella Bower, who was the former Beauty & Style Editor at WSN, sees it as an artful approach to keeping everything intact.

“I’m super organized and have always kept planners and to-do lists, and I love bullet journals because you can customize it any way you please, make it look all aesthetic, and it’s very cathartic for me to create,” Bower said.

LS sophomore Siyona Samuel makes an important point about how bullet journaling can intimidate beginners because of the artistic vision and time commitment required to create beautiful pages.

“It is quite hard,” Samuel said.  “Especially if you are trying to live up to the very high standards of professional bullet journalers and their YouTube videos.”

To overcome this, Min used social media to get inspired for new page designs when she was starting out.

“I was looking at Tumblr a lot, but now I look on Pinterest,” Min said. I vary designs to suit my needs.”

Bullet journaling can be fun and a great way of organizing your day and your emotions. Some, however, prefer to stick to conventional journaling, which has no rules per se, but  usually incorporates aspects of diary-keeping — such as describing one’s day — without the organization and structure enforced by bullet journals.

CAS junior Dan Sanchez uses his journal as a relaxation method.

“I do it, so I can write my pain down and get it out,” Sanchez said.

Similar to Sanchez’s journalling style, Tisch and CAS sophomore Kaitlin Tang uses her journal to write down her feelings. “It’s also a way for me to organize my thoughts — more so thoughts that are in the context of personal and emotional matters rather than to-do lists,” Tang said. “I hold a lot of personal things in, and I constantly have new ideas coming to mind for pieces or projects, so my journal acts as my therapist database to record all of that.”

Whether you’re a regular at journaling or someone who is interested in starting, you can’t go wrong with either of these styles. Both types of journaling have their own respective strengths and weaknesses, but it’s up to the individual to find what feels right for them.

Email Beth Sattur at [email protected].

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