Original New Orleans Art by Debbie Ainsworth

Bullet Journal Monthly Log – My First

One thing I miss about using a traditional planner is a calendar view. I like the “At a Glance” views of the year and the month. My trusty notebook is great for jotting down notes in a linear manner, but a calendar would be really nice. Bullet Journal gives me a way to insert a calendar into my notebook. Something I always could have done, but I didn’t know of Ryder’s minimal approach to a calendar, and was reluctant to do a hand drawn one. Besides, without the index it would be pointless anyway.

(See my previous post, My New Obsession – Bullet Journal for more information on the system and Ryder Carroll.}

There are two At a Glance views; the yearly one called a Future Log, and the monthly one called, oddly enough, the Monthly Log. I’m not going to talk about the Future Log right now. Mostly, because I’m embarrassed about the way it turned out, but also because I began my Bullet Journal in September, 2018, so there’s not much left of the year. So, I’m going to talk about the Monthly Log this week.

It’s funny, what originally attracted me to the Bullet Journal system was it’s raw simplicity. Ryder’s way of creating the Monthly Log is to simply start a new spread. On the left side of the page, you write all the numbers of the month (1-30) down one side. Just like you’re numbering a list. Then you put the days of the week next to the numbers (M,T,W,T,F,S,S). That’s it. On the right page you can put your goals or if one line isn’t enough for all your events in one day, you can put some additional notes on that side. It’s really very simple and quick to do. Just list the first page of your month in the index and you’re good to go. Simple. But of course my first Monthly Log is a hand drawn traditional calendar view.

That’s what’s so weird about Bullet Journal for me. The simplicity of the system attracts me. If I’m in a hurry one month, I have no problem switching to Ryder’s minimalist method. But somehow, using the system gave me the courage to go ahead and try a hand drawn calendar.

Bullet Journal Monthly Log

I decided to go with an Autumn theme for September with falling leaves of green, gold and brown. I reflected those colors in the word September. Most of this was done with Crayola washable markers, but the little landscape across the bottom was done with Prismacolor color pencils. I used washi tape on the top right and down the left side. Washi tape is GREAT for covering up mistakes. I didn’t like the way the lines going down the left side turned out, so I put washi tape and a sticker over it.

I’m not gonna lie. This calendar was inspired by ones I found online. I don’t think people should feel guilty about copying styles they see online until they find one of their own. It’s hard to come up with an idea from scratch for something you’ve never done before. I totally got the idea for my landscape from a picture I found on Bing. Mine is different from the original, but if you saw the two together you could definitely see the influence. 

While I jotted a few events into the calendar, I decided to just put the big stuff into my Monthly Log. (Through the wizardry of Photoshop, I removed the personal stuff.) I do most of my future planning by the week (I plan to blog about Weekly Log’s next week), and my Daily Logs are really just messy to do lists, with some notes and ideas scrunched in. I really enjoy experimenting with various layouts to see what works for me. September is My First Monthly Log, but I’m planning a different setup for October. I think I’m going to have the entire Calendar on one page, with space for the Events and Next Month below that. I want to use the entire right side for awesome Halloween decorations!. (Speaking of Halloween, don’t forget to check out All Hallowed’s Eve and Spirit of NOLA in my ArtByDArt shop!)

I love the flexibility of being able to change up my Bullet Journal as it suits me, depending on how creative I’m feeling and how much time I have to devote to it. If life gets busy, I just go for Ryder’s quick and simple methods. But if I want to spend a bit of time and make it pretty, I can do that too.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram. There’s links over on the side, or below if you’re on your phone.