I’m SO excited to be talking about journaling today. When relaunching the blog, I wanted to add more than reading, as we have more than one hobby and all that. I have been journaling for three years now !!!! but it was in 2020 when I focused on keeping it up to day. I use my bullet journal to keep track of my reading mostly, including spreads for TV shows, movies or anything that it’s my current adoration. I consider my bullet journal as a space for all my hobbies, so it’s a nice mixed bag that may not have a rhyme or reason for others but works perfectly for me. It’s such an incredible tool that you can design at your taste and aesthetic, and it’s a very satisfying feeling to be able to look back later.
Since I took journaling more seriously this past year, I have found a huge bullet journal community. I even started my own bujogram account, so maybe you should follow me there *wink, wink* But I know it can also be a little bit overwhelming for newbies. There’s SO much info that you don’t know where to start. So today I want to talk about my 2021 reading journal set up, all the spreads that I find helpful or fun for me, all the new ones I’m trying this year and hopefully, inspire you to join this community. As they say, all you need for journaling is a notebook (any notebook) and something to write with. There’s not need for stationery, doodles or even an aesthetic.
So let’s journal together!
I will try to link as many supplies as I can, most of the stuff I get I buy from art stores like JoAnn or Michaels. Sadly, some of the items are not available anymore, like cardstock paper and washi tapes. If I find them somewhere, I’ll be sure to update this list.
Notebooktherapy Tsuki ‘Failing Star’
Pens, Markers and Midliners:
Artist’s Loft Illustration Pen 0.1, 0.3 and 0.5
Tombow Dual Brush Pens: 027, 062, 243, 451, 620, 723, 761, 850, 991
Soft Touch Felt Tip Pens, Rose Gold (one of my favorite pens, super smooth and doesn’t bleed at all)
Sakura White Gelly Roll Pens, 10 and 08 thickness
DCWV Autumn Stroll cardstock
DCWV Journaling cardstock
Floral paper stickers
Cover page. I’m sure you’re not surprise to know that I love everything floral, I couldn’t let the opportunity to try this style that I saw on Amanda Rach Lee’s channel. You draw doodles (flowers in my case) to fill out the text. I then colored 2021 with some of the colors I will be using in the later spreads: light blue, green, lilac and pink. I wanted this spread to be big and bold, to fill me with inspiration for the new year. I will probably not look back that much, so that’s why it doesn’t have any important info, but I feel like it’s the perfect start for 2021. I added my wheat wooden stamp on both sides to fill out the empty space and a floral pastel washi tape (perfect for this theme, right?) at the bottom.
Future Log. If you are new to the bujo community, you may not know about future log. It’s a spread with monthly calendars where people write down future events, birthdays or to-dos for a yearly overview. I already have an academic planner for school and personal life, so I thought I would try a future log to keep track all the ARCs that I have to read. This way I can see what’s coming next and how much time I have and I can plan and organize better, which is something I definitely need more of in my life. I also think you can use this spread to keep track of bookish events like author’s events, friend’s liveshows, book club deadlines or maybe your anticipated releases of the year. I tried to keep the spread simple then, with just a little bit of color for each month and some washi tape at the top and bottom to add a little bit more.
Resolutions. This is a very common spread in the community where people divide it by different categories to set different resolutions. And I tried something similar with my categories being: things to try, personal (being school, work, health or anything you know, personal), bookish, and things to practice. I use this wonderful watercolor floral stickers because the colors went perfect with my markers. I’m huge fun of craft/brown paper and the use of white gelly roll pens. You will see I use it A LOT in my spreads. And for the first time, I’m also giving myself a word of the year: bold. I want to take the risks that I have always been afraid of, I want 2021 to be a year of change and progress and getting closer to my goals. So I’m manifesting! I will be bold.
2021 Bucket List. Well yes, I told you I love using brown paper. It’s so simple but adds something to the page, plus more of the watercolor floral stickers that I adore. Very self-explanatory spread, in part with me being bold this year, I want to try new things or accomplish things that I have dreaming for some time. Of course, with safety about the virus always, I want this list to be attainable but also sort of challenging. Like I know one of the items will be getting a tattoo (hopefully, yes, cross your fingers!) but I still haven’t figured out what I want. It’ll be fun filling it out!
Brain Dump. Another famous bujo spread, to just write down everything you have on your mind, any ideas or thoughts you don’t want to forget. Perfect space to plan your 2021 content, for example. Again, going over a simple set up to leave space to fill out. But I couldn’t help myself I had to add some flowers, I printed these from Unsplash, and added some pink washi tape.
Goals. This is for me a two different things but I know many use resolutions/goals interchangeable. For me resolutions is something that is not exactly concrete and measurable like Practice lettering because how do you know you have practiced enough? Instead goals means something I can quantify like Read two nonfiction books at month. My goals are monthly, so I can make sure that I’m getting where I want with my reading. Anyway, this is the way I think about it but of course, it’s not THE way. I kept the spread simple, a green title with laurels at the side. I will be sharing my reading goals soon in a blog post, so look up for that.
21 books to read in 2021. I know this is a very common bookish content: X books to read in the year and I have always wanted to do it. Very simple spread, with floral paper for the header and a nice border. I played a little bit more with the lettering this time, love how different styles pop out better like this big and filled out number with a cursive, elegant style. These will be backlist titles, as I already have a space for anticipated releases, mostly titles that I have been saying for a while (like, a WHILE), I will read. Maybe this spread will be the encouragement I need to actually do it, you know. Blog post coming soon with all the books!
Waiting on. I pretty sure I saw this spread on Journal with Chloe channel. Basically, you keep track all the packages coming your way and I know we bookworms need it for our book mail. I got to use this beautiful, just beautiful, green paper with golden leaves that I got from a cardstock booklet (I buy these from art stores and I use them A LOT). I recently got the golden tombow brush pen so it was perfect to add that little drop shadow to the border.
2021 Favorite Prediction. This was one my favorite spreads for 2020, so I had to bring it back. I will eventually fill it all out with all the backlist and new releases that I think I will love. As I read them, I will check them off and add a short comment about how much I enjoy it, or not. More brown paper in this spread with this pink floral that goes so well with my theme. I kind of messed up with the boxes so I decided to fix it my making that whole column black . I’m not sure I like it? But maybe what it needs is some doodles at the top to add more. Sometimes it takes me some time to figure out how I want my spreads to look like, but I will get there.
Series to finish in 2021. I’m terrible finishing series, TERRIBLE, it’s kind of funny at this point. So for 2021 I’m concentrating in 11 series that conclude this year, maybe the sequel is coming out, or I just need to get my life together and finish it already. I used my letter wooden stamps here for the header and numbers, it’s a very messy spread, I didn’t realize how messy the stamps would be. But still, I quite enjoy the look. I kept a spread like this last year and it was perfect to remember which series I want to read. I’ll be adding my star ratings and once a series is finished, I will write down which book was my favorite. Call me out if I’m not reading these books!
TV Shows + Movies + Music Spreads
Movies and TV Shows to Watch. Well, another self-explanatory spread. I usually keep running lists of movies and tv shows to check out everywhere, on my phone’s notes, on notion, on notebooks and on my monthly spreads. But the back and forth and looking at all the places is just very frustrating so this time I will have the space in the beginning of my journal! In this one I tried some floral paper for the header and a doodle of a jar with wild flowers, this a doodle that I love doing so you’ll see A LOT. So if you have recommendations, please leave them down in the comments!
Song of the month. Inspired by Amanda Rach Lee’s 2021 set up, I wanted to give this a try, too. This is a spread that I quite love now but it took TOO many tries, as I messed up a lot. This is something I love from journaling, you can always fix your mistakes. Be with a doodle, paper, white pen, or maybe even just taping the whole page, you can always fix it. I’m always thinking about how to fix things because like I said, I mess up constantly. Maybe it doesn’t look like it when these finished spreads but I brainstorm, plan and sketch on pencil and still, sometimes I had to get creative to cover up the problem. Hence this music spread. From the brown paper covering a header problem (ran out of space) to the floral arrangement on a jar covering a huge miscalculation, this took me so time but we got there! I got to use my newly letter wooden stamps to write down the months, so each month I can write my favorite song. I only did six months because after all the covered ups, I was quite exhausted of this spread plus they wouldn’t all fix in this one page. I finally decided that if I like this idea I will make a new spread in the second half of the year, hopefully improved.
TV Shows and Movies Watched. Self-explanatory, but to be honest, I’m thinking more in terms of things that I loved and enjoyed watching, so later I can look back at one single spread and see what things brought me joy in the year. I’m not sure how I will fill it out, maybe like Books with Chloe printing out the poster, or maybe just writing down the title. I guess it depends how many things I’m loving. But excited to fill this one out!
Fun Spreads, or Spreads for the Aesthetic
And to conclude my reading journal set up, I want to show you one of my favorite things of journaling: I adore working on spreads with quotes, photos and doodles. I love try new different things and coming up with something that inspire me to keep learning. For 2021 I decided I wanted to see my bookshelf from the beginning of the year, to see how I rearrange it throughout the year, so I print one of my bookstagram photos and then I used that green paper with golden leaves again to create a nice border. Once again used my stamps to write down a Jorge Luis Borges quote: “I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.” Which you know, as someone who has their bookshelf in their room, yep, that sounds correct. Super simple and it looks so good.
I hope you find these spreads helpful, inspiring or maybe just interesting. I know I learn a lot from watching others, be just recreating what they did or giving it my own personal spin. Here are some of my favorite bullet journaling accounts:
- Journal with Chloe
- Art n Foxes
- Julia Royal Journals
- Plinth Ced
Let me know if you like keeping a reading journal, or you’ll be try for the first time this year, and what spreads you find helpful and fun.
Happy reading (and journaling),