Bullet journaling isn’t quite for me, but I still love watching bullet journal videos. I’ve especially been drawn to reading-related bullet journals. They can get really elaborate! Painting, calligraphy, etc. It puts my reading notebook to shame! Which to date, has literally just been a list of books I’m planning on reading each month. When I do read the books I picked out, it’s pretty because I use different colored pens, but it’s also very unexciting. When I don’t read those books, I end up making a HUGE mess trying to write in the books I did read.
For next year, I wanted to do something more exciting. Since I didn’t want to commit to drawing and coming up with a theme every month, I decided to try and find some stickers to decorate a notebook with instead. I found a notebook in my notebook pile, compiled a list of themes, and went shopping on Etsy for stickers.
But it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t going to look as good as I wanted. So I found myself wanting something already made, so I searched for reading journal templates instead. I found some cool things, but nothing was exactly what I wanted.
My sister is always making fun of me for wanting something specific and not being willing to make it myself, so I pulled up a drawing app on the old iPad and sketched out some ideas for what I wanted.
I sat on it for about two weeks, but I finally decided to do a trial to see if this was a project I could handle. I would be making an entire year’s worth of themes and designs ahead of time. Super time consuming. But maybe fun?
So, I finalized my themes, assigned them, almost randomly, to months, got some free stock photos, and got to work.
I started in Word, first with a bookish template I already had, then with a blank document, but after struggling for several minutes, I decided to switch to Pages, which is something I never use.
It worked nearly perfectly though. It’s definitely a job, but most of it is copying and pasting, and once I got the designs for the monthly pages and front and end pages finalized, it actually went fairly quickly.
I’ll insert some screenshots of some of the pages so you can see what I’m doing. When I’m 100% finished, I’m going to get it printed and bound, but I did print some test pages off at home so I could test the legibility and writability of my favorite pens with the color gradient and paper.
Each month is going to start with a pretty picture of that month’s decorative theme. February’s theme is MASQUERADE. ^_^
The space below is for the month’s reading theme since that’s not being decided ahead of time.
One of the first pages in the journal is this spread of books. I thought it would be fun to color in books as I finish them, and yes, I did those stacks myself. It was a little tedious, but it was fun. There are 49 on each page. I have two pages for a total of 98 books. I don’t need that many books, but I wanted at least 60.
Each month is going to start with a blank TBR page. I might read more than 10 books, but I very likely won’t. I have space for ten to give me extra options in case I’m not getting into a book I pick up or in case I don’t like it or in case I’m just reading a lot that month.
Then I have three pages of Books Read, for a total of 12 boxes. Twelve is the most number of books I’ve read in a month in the last few years, so that should be plenty of space. All three pages have the same background.
I’ve seen other people print out a tiny picture of their favorite read for the month, and it looks like fun, so I want to try it. It’ll also help me narrow down my top 5 reads of the year, which is something I like to do. ^_^
The end pages are full of graphs for fun stats, and I added a couple of extra pages for planning for next year. 😀
This whole project, from coming up with reading themes to putting the digital files for the journal together, has been a lot of work. I’ve organized my books into categories, wrote those books on slips of paper for drawing, hunted down images on Pixabay, designed pages which also involved copying and pasting a dozen times. But it has actually felt really good to have a creative project to focus on. I forget how good it feels to create something and finish something beautiful. 🙂
In case anyone was curious, this is an A5 size paper design, which I think is 5.8 x 8.3.