I jumped on the bullet journaling train early. I feel like I really have watched it blossom from just a guys chicken-scratch system, to this multi-Facebook group, trending analog system. It has come a long way… which makes me start to wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Recently on one of the “minimalist” bullet journal groups there was a spicy debate on whether or not society is now generalizing the term “bullet journal.” After much back-and-forth banter there were points thrown out that too many people are calling their planner system bullet journaling even though they do not possess the basic structure that creator Ryder Carroll talks you through on the Bullet Journal website.
If you are unfamiliar with the basics please check out the site and his youtube video. In quick summation, the key components of bullet journaling are 1)Rapid Logging (topics, page numbers, short sentences, bullets), 2) Modules (index, future log, monthly log, daily log), and finally 3) Migration.
After much growth, however, some of these basic structures have been slowly disappearing for many people. I see a lot of bullet journal bloggers (including myself) explaining their set-up and saying things like “the modules don’t work for me so I do this…”
The big question is- how much of the original structure can you omit and STILL call it a bullet journal system. I do not have any answers. Someone on the previously mentioned debate posted wildly that the bullets make it a bullet journal system. This comment may have been to diffuse the heated debate- none-the-less I don’t think that makes sense. Another person said that customizing your bullet journal in itself, makes it not qualify as a true bullet journal. YIKES!
It is true that bullet journaling has become very trendy and very artsy – custom banners, color coding, calendex, ring binders, disk binders. On one of the pages on the bullet journal website it says… “All you need is a notebook and a pen…” It is strangely feeling more like… All you need is an expensive fountain pen, stencils, Microns, Staedtlers, stamps… oh my.
Then I take a step back and say… I DO NOT have to do all that other stuff- I CAN stick to the basics. The reality is, the people that have transformed and added their own “flair” are not hurting anyone. Ryder himself supports non-traditional bullet journaling and has featured them on his website. I personally enjoyed the mommy-related ones by EvieandSarah.com. Let’s look back and appreciate the original methods (where we all started) and move towards the future. It doesn’t have to be a great debate. Cars have different makers, different colors, different features, different owners… but they are all cars. So cheers to ALL the bullet journals out their – no matter what it looks like.