Dragon’s Den Discussions || How I Use a Bullet Journal to Run My Blog

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How I Use a Bullet Journal to Run My Blog

I haven’t talked about it at length before, but I have one super valuable tool for blogging: a bullet journal. It’s not terribly hard to find one for yourself and make it work for you, and it’s so easily customized given just a little bit of time, effort, and colorful embellishments (from crayon to fancy watercolor, up to you)!

And because I like using it so much, AND because we have a new year hovering just around the corner, today I’m going to lay out exactly how I make my bullet journal work on behalf of my blog!

(I’m also using this opportunity to introduce the mascot for Dragon’s Den Discussions, the lovely red bookwyrm above. He doesn’t have a name yet, but for the next day and a half, you can vote on Twitter to decide his fate!)

A Classic Bujo Disclaimer

Before we get started, I feel like I probably should give you all a little warning: a bullet journal does not fix EVERYTHING. It hasn’t fixed most of my life problems, even though I seem to keep buying notebooks in an attempt to make that happen, and it can’t do all the fun stat calculations that I love in Kal’s master spreadsheet for blogging. Love that spreadsheet, cannot possibly recommend it enough!

BUT.

Sometimes you just have to put pen to paper and make something for yourself. The satisfaction of creating something you can use is just fantastic, and if you don’t like it, you’re not stuck with it. It changes! It adapts! At the end of the day, you are in charge of your bullet journal, and you get to adopt whatever systems work best for you.

So here are the bujo spreads I use most to keep my blog in order.

Book Log

double column bullet journal book log on dot grid paper

Easily one of the most important spreads, and a way for me to stay away from Goodreads, I love my book log. I can tell at a glance what I’ve read so far this year, when I read each book, and what ratings I gave. It’s simple and clean, and it gives me an excuse to use my shiny gold gel pen! Plus, I don’t have to deal with Goodreads’ terrible search function, or the way it always seems to pin my review to the wrong edition of the book.

Will I still use Goodreads? Yes, because it helps with books I haven’t read yet, and I cross-post reviews there. But the less I have to use it, the better. And with this spread, when I’m writing a review, I don’t even have to be online! The log guarantees I’ll have the title, author, and rating right at my fingertips. No Goodreads temptation, no internet rabbit holes to disappear down. Only a bujo spread and the review in front of me.

Blog Stats

bullet journal blog stats tracker on white dot grid paper in black and gold ink

Kal’s wonderful spreadsheet does some fancy stuff and gives me some beautiful graphs regarding my blog stats, but I still need something simple. This spread is peak simple, too, with just a few features: the month, and the numbers for my blog, Twitter, and Instagram at the beginning and end of each month. Filling it out as the year passes will be so satisfying (it was last year!), and I’m hoping I can bump that blog number in particular over 500.

I will say that this may not be a spread for you if you already track stats elsewhere. I love the simplicity and at-a-glance utility of it, despite loving more detailed data, because it’s good for thinking in the big picture. When I want to get lost in the weeds, then I hop over to the spreadsheet.

Instagram Photo Challenges

bullet journal list of instagram photos, with alternating blue and white lines on dot grid paper

I don’t talk about Instagram very much on the blog, but I’ve found that I really like running a bookstagram! I also love participating in the photo challenges other bookstagrammers run, partly because it takes away the stress of deciding what to post.

This spread is set up to tell me what I’m taking a picture of, what day I mean to post it, what challenge hashtag(s) I’m planning to use, and if I’ve even taken the photo. January here looks a little empty because of the time I took on hiatus, but February will fill up nicely!

Alternating which lines I highlight is possibly my favorite part of this spread, too. It’s so easy on the eyes, and keeps me from getting overwhelmed by how many pictures I’m planning to take!

Planned TBR

Admittedly, this is an idea I had AFTER completing my January spreads. Next month, I’m going to list specific books on my goals page, instead of a goal that reads something like “read 5+ books this month.” It doesn’t lock me into any specific order, which my mood-reading brain hates, and it helps me stay on top of ARC deadlines. I’ll start placing a star next to high-priority ARCs just to drive the point home. And maybe I’ll add a dagger next to books that technically don’t have a deadline, but should be read soon?

If I can implement this in my February spread, I think it’s going to be a massive help in the Pondathon, hosted by CW @ The Quiet Pond! It’s not too late to join, and it’s a readathon that runs at your own pace, so I can’t recommend it enough! Also, you get to make a cute little character to represent your blog, and I adore mine. Their name is Hornet and they are very good.

Even if you’re not doing the Pondathon, though, this kind of spread could be useful to anyone trying to stick to a planned TBR.

Bookish Bullet Journal Spreads

As I write this post, I’ve read all of a book and a half this year. The blog redesign has taken up a ton of time, and left very little for reading. That said, it’s my intention to fill the extra space in my bullet journal with all kinds of bookish joy! Quotes, doodles, aesthetics, you name it: I want to cram them in wherever they’ll fit. I might even do entire two-page spreads for books I really enjoy, just to immortalize my love for them on maybe not-so-immortal paper. What better way to use a journal than to fill it with things that make me happy?

Planning Blog Posts

Believe it or not, this is the one thing I barely use my bullet journal for. I keep a separate notebook for all of my hastily scribbled ideas, because I like a tidy bullet journal. Scratched out notes go on scrap paper, and finalized ideas belong in the journal.

That said, when I have a post scheduled for a certain day, I make it a task for a day or two prior. This very post, for instance, appears underneath my header for January 23rd, labeled with a check box and “finish bujo post.” It serves as a reminder that I have a post in need of polishing, and makes sure that I get everything posted on time.

Plus, I have a notebook hoarding problem. Using my bullet journal for tidy, final draft style content is awesome. Using an old notebook for the hectic scribbling? Also awesome, and finally puts all that paper to good use.

 

So if you’ve been wondering how I keep my head on straight, this is it, the big secret! It’s a bullet journal! A good calendar and color code system can go a long way, plus all the other little bits and bobs I’ve mentioned. But how do you do it? Are you a bullet journal fan too? Is Google Drive more your speed? Could you even be one of those mythical folks who can keep it all straight in their head? No matter how you organize your blogging, let’s chat!

6 thoughts on “Dragon’s Den Discussions || How I Use a Bullet Journal to Run My Blog

  1. Ah this is such an interesting post! I don’t keep a bullet journal at all, even though I love admiring them all from afar ahah, I don’t have the patience for it, but there’s something about looking at these well organized spreads that make me want to try it out for blogging ahah 🙂 I personally use mostly google drive files where I keep my blogging schedule and ideas overall. As for my reading…. I just keep track of it on goodreads for now haha. 🙂 Love this post!! 🙂

    1. I used to just look on from a distance longingly, but bought a dot grid journal once and haven’t looked back! I completely understand where you’re coming from, though. Drive is such an easy way to access SO MANY TOOLS for blogging, especially with all its folders for organization. And Goodreads is an inescapable pit that can definitely be useful if you just stick to reviews from folks you trust. 😂

      Thanks so much for dropping in! I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. I love how you use it ! it’s such handy spreads, though there’s some like the bookstagram one that I can’t use, ahah!

    I have a similar “book read” one, but it’s jammed with my 2020 Goals, aswell as tracking which was physical/ebooks and french/english (just because it wouldn’t had been too full otherwise); but only for the first 20 books i’ll read as it’s my goal — I won’t go above that number. Apart of that, I don’t give as much details as you do, the rating are non-existant and for the date that I finish it, I just write it in my weekly.

    I gotta admit I don’t really have an idea of how the blog stat’s ones are working? I do check them once in a while but man it had dropped since i’ve went self-hosted x) I guess the time people get used to it and whatnot.. though i’m almost at 900 followers!! What!!

    I do have a blog planning one though- an area for ideas, drawings with the dates of each of when a post shall come out of the month that I fill up as I go.. and for the writting it either go in my head, or in a separate notebook if I wanna write it on paper before transcribing it onto wordpress ahaha I’ve did that a couple of times before!

    1. I like the idea of only tracking up to your GR goal, and using the space for extra info! Writing in the weekly is smart too.

      Basically, I write down current followers at the beginning of the month, and then again at the end to see how many I’ve gained or lost. And almost 900? Congrats!!

      A little planning brain dump can go a long way! I love writing posts on paper first, though. It’s a great way to break out of a rut.

      1. Ah, well that’s simple enough.. ahaha xD

        Oh yeah, the way I usually do it is compose the WHOLE POST in my brain first though … and then forget maybe half of it x) even when I write it on paper first, I always end up changing wordings ahah oops.

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