30 June 2023
Tombow Talks To: Meg_notes
1. What inspired you to start bullet journaling?
I grew up with a pretty hectic schedule, training as a dancer alongside school, so planning was something that was a big part of my life. I have also always loved art, so when I found bullet journaling it was the perfect fit - useful and creative, therapeutic and necessary! As a result, I dabbled with bullet journaling throughout my teenage years but I really got into to it in my final year of university.
I was studying Law and writing my dissertation, so planning was crucial to ensure my deadlines were met (and with such an academic subject, I was really missing something arty!). I had extra time on my hands, due to lockdown, so I decided to start up bullet journaling again. I spent hours creating spreads and it became my way of unwinding at the end of a long day writing essays!
I, of course, went straight to social media for inspiration - primarily Pinterest, but also Instagram and TikTok. As I wasn’t a total newbie, I quickly found what worked for me and had so much fun drawing spreads and planning my own themes. The bullet journal community was a great inspiration, so I started sharing my own bujo on TikTok - not knowing how quickly my following would grow!
2. How has bullet journaling helped you stay organised and focused?
It was so important during those final months of my degree, helping me stick to coursework deadlines and dissertation meetings. But I think it has been most helpful in terms of mental health. I find I am so much more productive and organised when I am in a good head space which, for me, comes from making sure I find some time for myself to do something I enjoy everyday.
Bullet journaling, and also content creation, became this for me. My bullet journal is absolutely a form of self care - there is nothing as calming as sitting down to draw and colour in a spread, with
some chill music on and a cup of tea!
3. What are your favourite themes to incorporate into your bullet journal?
I love themes that are broad enough to give me plenty to draw throughout the month, for example I did a ‘Christmas village’ theme for December last year which included little houses decorated for Christmas, ice rinks and skaters, cars with Christmas trees tied on top etc. I love that creative flexibility!
On the other hand, fruit is always a go to theme if I can’t decide what to do as it can be as simple or creative as you like! I recently did a pastel peach theme which was giving cottagecore vibes - so cute!
4. Can you share any tips or tricks for beginners looking to start their own bullet journal?
Firstly, I think it’s important to decide what you want from your bullet journal and how much time you want to spend setting up the spreads - is it a creative outlet, using it as a form of art and doodling? Or is it more about the organisational aspect, daily planning and using trackers? It could be a mix of the two, but keeping that in mind will help you with the expectations you set for yourself.
Once you know the kind of bujo you want to be keeping, you can start looking for inspiration! I love Pinterest for this - you can find super artistic spreads or quick, minimal spreads and everything in between.
Whilst you get used to journaling, I think it’s a great idea to copy the spreads you find on social media to reduce the planning required, and make them your own as you get more confident! Just be sure to credit the original creator if you share it on socials! I always love seeing people recreate my spreads.
5. How do you balance creativity and functionality in your layouts?
I like to map out my planning areas first - usually by sketching out boxes that will be assigned to each day of the week or space for a mini tracker (like a sleep tracker or reading tracker). This ensures I have plenty of room for everything I need and use my journal for on a daily basis.
As long as I have those essential sections mapped out, the rest of the space is free for me to decorate with doodles, washi tape, brush pen lettering or whatever else I want to include! I love seeing the page and theme come to life.
6. Are there any specific spreads or trackers that you find particularly useful in your daily life?
I usually include a sleep tracker, whether that is a monthly tracker or added to each weekly spread, as sleep is something I struggle with at times. Plus, I have an analytical side that loves to see and compare data which has led to my weekly spreads often having a ‘dashboard’ style with the graphical trackers amongst my to-dos and reflections. I just love seeing everything brought together in one place!
I also love a reading tracker. This can be as simple as ticking a box for each day that you read, or a page/chapter tracker where you mark how much you read that day. I really enjoy reading but sometimes life can get in the way, so I find a reading tracker is a great reminder to make time for it and helps build the habit.
7. How do you choose your colour schemes?
Colour is everything!! I’m heavily influenced by my obsession with pastel colours, so I often use pastels even if it’s not the typical colour scheme for that theme. I tend to be able to picture the colours in my mind when I’m first planning out a theme, but occasionally it may take a while to decide on the exact shade of a colour. In that case, I just grab some scrap paper and swatch the colours beside each other and see which looks best - super simple!
8. Have you ever faced any challenges or creative blocks while bullet journaling?
I find the biggest challenge is the pressure to journal everyday, especially now that content creation (largely around my bullet journal) has become my job. I hate the idea of an incomplete weekly spread! I just try to remind myself to be intentional with the time spent journaling, and no longer film the creation of every spread so I can enjoy the process - without having to worry about the camera angle or light changing!
I know this is something a lot of people in the bullet journal community struggle with and I find a great way to combat the dread of an empty page is to leave your daily ‘spaces’ untitled/undated. That way you can just write in the day and date as and when you use that weekly spread, and can skip a day if you’re not feeling it!
9. Can you share a memorable experience or achievement that you attribute to your bullet journaling journey?
I have so much to thank my bullet journaling journey for, particularly as it has allowed me to pursue content creation full time - mainly around stationery, arts, crafts, and journaling of course!
Some of the highlights have been working with so many of my favourite stationery brands (like Tombow!) and having so much stationery that young Meg would be losing her mind over! I have also been working with Yop & Tom for nearly 2 years now - which is the brand I got my original bullet journal from and is such a full circle moment.
Perhaps my most memorable moment was reaching 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and receiving my Silver Play Button
Favourite Tombow pen to use in your bullet journal?
The Tombow ABT dual brush pens in any pastel colour - my favourites are 062 Pale Yellow and 553 Mist Purple!
Minimalist or elaborate spreads?
Elaborate! The creativity is everything for me!
Anything acoustic, currently Stick Season by Noah Kahan
Grid, dotted, or lined paper?
Dotted for bullet journaling, but I also love narrow lined paper for to-do lists, brain dumps etc.
Morning or Evening?
Evening! I’m such a night owl
What’s the most unique collection or tracker you’ve included in your bullet journal?
I have to include a migraine tracker which isn’t so fun but is super useful for monitoring my migraines. I have also made a variety of study trackers to help my followers who are still in education!
My favourite tracker has been a weather log - the weather doodles were so nice and simple to draw and it looks so cute filled in!
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
Yvonne Coomber has been one of my favourite artists for so long now! She is a contemporary impressionist artist who is local to me so I am lucky to have been able to visit her gallery. Her work is an explosion of all the beautiful colours I love most, even with some glitter, and captures wild flower meadows in the most perfect way! I’m currently in the process of buying my first home, and it would be a dream to have one of her pieces in my office one day for constant creative inspo!