Starting a Bullet Journal can be a pretty scary affair. You bought your notebook and the supplies but you can’t seem to be able to just start on it. I know very well that feeling – the first page fear! I myself still have it every time I start a new journal.
For a long time this was one of the main reasons I didn’t have a journal myself. But I’ve learnt to deal with that, and Bullet Journal changed my life. Now I only wish I started earlier!
The point being – I don’t want you to be discouraged to start your journey to live an intentional and productive life just because of this fear.
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Why The First Page Is So Hard
You buy a brand new notebook and pens, you decide to start planning and taking control over your life. This is so exciting isn’t it? But when you get home, the anxiety sets in, and somehow you just seem to postpone it for more and more.
Well, starting something new is always difficult, and Bullet Journal is no exception, believe me. Creating a first page in your new journal therefore seems like a very big and decisive thing.
You feel like your Bullet Journal cover page will determine everything about your future journal and your path to planning. So you start worrying, afraid that you’ll make a mistake, or create a page you won’t like later on. What if the pens will bleed thought and the notebook is all wrong? Maybe this whole thing was a mistake and not worth it anyways.
If it sounds too accurate, well, it’s because I had the same issues when I got my first journal. And I wish somebody told me what I’m about to tell you. Right now I’m using my 4th journal. It’s still scary to start a new one every time, but my experience taught me some things.
3 Simple Truths To Help You Overcome The First Page Fear
After starting a few new journals myself, and sharing experiences with like-minded Bullet Journal addicts, I realized these 3 simple truths that really helped me to get over my fear.
First of all – everyone has this fear, even the most talented Bullet Journalists. For all of us, every new notebook and every new first page means a bit of extra effort and a bit of a fear mingled with all the excitement.
Second – the first page is never the best one. Most seasoned artists will tell you that their first page is usually pretty average -and it’s pretty understandable! The more pages you make, the more you improve your skills. Practice makes perfect after all.
This is double true for beginners – when you start your first journal you probably just start learning how to draw pretty layouts, and most importantly – you still don’t know what would be your style! As you practice, relax and do more, you’ll see how your designs will get better and better.
And finally – the first page doesn’t matter. How many times do you look back at it? Out of my 4 notebooks I’ve never looked back at my cover page. The truth is, once you turn it, it becomes irrelevant.
Practical Tips On How To Overcome First Page Fear
However, knowing all these things isn’t really enough. This only works if you add some practical actionable steps. Here are a few things you can do to relieve the anxiety and allow yourself to just finally start on your journal.
It’s pretty easy – if you’re not sure you’ll be able to draw something pretty on your page, just get a cheap dot grid notebook and practice there. For me personally it wasn’t even only about the first page. I had a cheap practice notebook for a month, before I felt like I’m ready to commit and use a proper journal.
That month helped me to realize how I actually love this system and helped me to more or less understand what elements I’d be needing. But mostly – it gave me confidence that I can create pretty pages, so once I got my first proper journal, the first page fear was much much less. By that time I already knew I could do it!
Pick An Idea In Advance
Don’t just decide “oh I’ll make my perfect page right now” without any preparation. This will just increase stress, since you’ll be sitting in front of an empty notebook under pressure and with no ideas.
So before getting to it, make sure you thought of what you’d like to see on your first page. Maybe even gather some pictures for inspiration.
Sketch The First Page
This is a pretty silly advice, but I know it’s totally something I do all the time to try to avoid mistakes. Before drawing with your pens and markers, make a pencil sketch of your first page. This will reduce the chance of making a mistake, as well as position all elements symmetrically.
Start From The Last Page
I myself did this little trick in my current journal, and it really helped me out! When I got my first Nuuna (the perfect notebook I’ve been dreaming about for half a year), I was so scared! It looked stunning and I really wasn’t sure I was up to write anything in it.
So I did this – I went to the last page and made a swatch spread. I needed to pen test anyways, and creating a few swatches on the back of the notebook made it already used, so I felt much less pressure when it was time to get to that first page.
Skip The First Page
Finally, you can always just skip the first page, whatever it is. Just leave blank space and come back to it at a later time when the pressure is gone and you feel up to creating something.
Tone Down The Mental Pressure
As prepared as you might be, your brain can still trick you. So I just want to once again tell you a few simple things I personally always forget when I’m stressed about creating a cover page or making a mistake!
Here are some things you should definitely have in mind:
- Everyone makes mistakes
- Don’t compare your first day to somebody’s 100th day
- Remember that your journal is growing with you
- It’s ok to make mistakes and not like your pages – learn from them
- Bullet Journal is a journey to discovery and self development, it shouldn’t be stressful
You Are Not Alone
I know it can be hard and sometimes it can be lonely, with everyone you see around you being such a talented artist. I had the same fears (who am I kidding – I still feel that way sometimes!)
I encourage you to do what I did, to go and connect with other people in Bullet Journal community. You’d be surprised to know how many people have the same fears and struggles. And believe me just knowing that you’re not alone will help you cope with all the fears and doubts!
There are a lot of Facebook groups for Bullet Journal fans, like Bullet Journal Junkies Facebook Group and Boho Berry Tribe Facebook Group. These are huge groups, and you can find there not just experienced bullet journalists, but also beginners.
For beginners only there is also this charming Facebook group with already 70 000+ active members!
There are all tips I have for anyone trying to start a new journal and fighting the first page fear. Are you one of these people? How did you conquer it? Would love to hear from you in a comments section below!
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Are you a Bullet Journal beginner? Check my Ultimate Guide To Bullet Journal For Beginners!