Hello Planning Mashers!
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 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 learned to deal with that, and Bullet Journal changed my life. Now I only wish I had started earlier!
The point is – I don’t want you to be discouraged from starting your journey to living an intentional and productive life just because of this fear. This post is a part of the Bullet Journaling for Beginners series, but you can get first-page fear even if you’re a seasoned planner.
So let’s see how we can figure that out.
One of my main goals with Masha Plans is to help anyone who wants to start their Bullet Journal adventures, and the first step is the first page.
But I’m far too aware of the fear a crisp white page of that perfect journal can cause. It’s kind of the worst, and it kept me personally from journaling for quite a long time.
As I already mentioned, I’m still scared every time I open a new journal, so let’s first admit it – first-page fear is something we all struggle with. Don’t think you’re alone in this.
Worry not though, in this post I gathered all my best tips and techniques that will help you to overcome this fear and start enjoying journaling right away.
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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 of 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 the 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 through 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 had told me what I’m about to tell you.
Right now, I’m using my 3rd 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 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 doubly 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 3 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 think of what you’d like to see on your first page. Maybe even gather some pictures for inspiration.
You can always check my post with 7 Creative Ideas For Your Bullet Journal Cover Page and start with these.
Sketch The First Page
This is 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.
A quote page is a great idea for a cover page, and as with all quote pages – I start with a pencil.
If you never created a quote page before and are worried about doing one – I got you covered.
You can check my blog post on how to create quote pages with all you need to know to beautifully add your favorite quotes to your journal.
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’d 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.
But from my experience – you’re most likely won’t be going back to it.
In my 2021 Bullet Journal setup I left some pages unfilled, and I never ever went back to those, even now that I’m already in a completely new notebook.
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 personal 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 the 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!
And, of course, we have our own little cozy group for Planning Mashers – Bullet Journaling To Happiness!
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? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!
I hope this list was helpful; if you find it so, please share!
And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling, and Don’t Be A Blob.