Bite The Bullet: Bullet Journaling With Piper

Hello 2021!


Clarion photo Piper Gillen

The opening spread to my 2021 setup.

By Piper Gillen, Reporter

2021 is finally here!! This past year felt like the longest year ever. At the same time, though, I feel like March was only yesterday. Quarantine was definitely an interesting reality to have to adjust to, and I noticed my bullet journal changing a little bit to reflect that. It was definitely more subtle, but part of it was having more time to be able to complete my spreads and think more about my ideas. 

I was really looking forward to my 2021 new year’s spread, especially since I couldn’t wait to leave 2020 in the past. I tend to keep my opening spreads in a year more simple than a lot of my themes and I’m really happy with how it turned out this year. I was also able to do a quote page this year as well, which I haven’t done in the past. 

Usually, there are also only a few spreads for the beginning of the year spreads. I only need it for simple planning and to designate a new section of my bullet journal, so I don’t spend too much time on it. 



The quotes I used this year are both lyrics from two of my favorite groups right now. The first one, on my opening spread, is from the single (Life Goes On) from BTS’s newest album, BE. The quote reads ‘Life goes on/ Like and echo in the forest/ Like an arrow in the blue sky/ On my pillow, on my table/ Life goes on like this again.’

I thought this quote would be really fitting for going into this new year. We have had to adjust to a new way of living and I think that this will help remind me that life will go on and to not give up. Motivation has been a struggle for me a lot lately, and I think this will help me remember why I am doing the things that I’m doing.

My second quote is from the English version of an Original Soundtrack Stray Kids did for the show ‘Tower of God.’ The song is called ‘TOP.’ I’ve been playing this song a lot recently, and I thought it would be very fitting to include it on my empty page. 


Year At a Glance and Future Log:

My ‘Year At a Glance’ spread is used when I make my monthly spreads. It can be really helpful to have all of the months laid out at the beginning of the year so I don’t have to use my phone or computer when I make my spreads every month. I put it on the left side so it’s easy to flip to and glance at when I need it. 

While I don’t have it labeled, the final spread is called the future log. My future log is for writing down the important dates that happen in a month. I only make it six months long because I organize my bullet journals from July-June, so it fits around the school year. I put in things like birthdays, important due dates, things I’m looking forward to, and things that I know are happening in advance so I don’t forget to include it when it’s time to create that month’s spreads. 

I also really enjoy this setup for my future log. It allows me to see what the whole month will look like and when events will happen in relation to each other while still having a place to write down the exact event.


Decoration, Materials, and Process:

I wanted my spreads to be relatively simple for my opening pages with only small design elements. When I finished laying everything out and inking it, it looked a little plain, but I knew I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. I thought that grey washi tape and some darker grey line art would be able to do that. My future log was already pretty full, so I decided to leave that page empty.

The materials I use tend to stay pretty consistent throughout all of my spreads/themes. I have found things that I like and that work for me and I usually stick with those. For this spread, I used the grey and dark grey Zebra Mildliners highlighters, a Pigma Micron fine liner in 03, and a Muji gel pen in 0.35. I also used a grey washi tape I received as a gift and a pencil when I was laying everything out. 

When I make my spreads I start by outlining everything I will include loosely in pencil. Usually, that means marking where corners are and how big things are going to be. I go into the outline with a general idea of what I want my font and spacing to be, but sometimes I don’t fully decide on something until the whole spread is done to see what will look the best with how I have laid it out. 

For this one, I had a pretty good idea because of how simple I wanted it to be. That being said lettering and titles are almost always my second to last or last step. I try to leave a generous amount of room for headers and titles when outlining the spreads.

Once I had a general outline I inked everything in and then went in with a gel pen to fill in all of the numbers. I have found that gel pens are thinner than my inking pens and I like my numbers to be as small as possible in my calendars. 

After everything was inked I filled in all of the headers and lettering. With spreads like my quote page, I will practice on a separate page before I put it in my final journal to make sure I have the fonts I want. When I do calligraphy I will practice once or twice to make sure I know the exact style I want, but it tends to be more freehand than quote pages.

Finally, I went in and added decorations. For something as simple as this spread, it was all freehand. With more complicated themes and designs, though, I usually will draw things out with a pencil to make sure I have the exact look I want.

Overall, I’m very happy with how my 2021 pages turned out. Like I said, these are more to mark the start of a new year than something I use on a daily basis so they’re usually simpler. I’m hoping this year will turn out better than the last, and I think that having a new fresh bullet journal spread will help me make that possible. Happy journaling, friends!