Over the past year Bullet Journaling exploded and everyone including your neighbors cat – meow!
started to talk about it. And while there is a lot of information out there about what it is and how you can use it, the number one email I constantly receive is: ‘Help me! I don’t know where to start’.
Naturally when I got asked to review ‘Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide – How to start and keep a planner, to-do list, and diary that’ll actually help you get your life together’ I could not resist. So if you want to know if this book is up to the task of taking your hand and leading you into the wundertastisch world of bullet journaling keep on reading!
This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you purchase something through the links provided I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can be assured that I will never recommend something that I donât enjoy using and wouldnâ’t recommend to my best friend as well! For more information, see my disclosures here.
When I’m thinking about a purchase I find it very important to know who wrote the review and how knowledgeable the author is on the topic, so here a short introduction about myself in case you are new to my blog:
Sounds good? Then let’s get started!
Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide
I must admit when I first opened the book and got to the index I was a bit disappointed. It seemed like there was a short introduction, then lots of page examples and then again a short section about how to make your dot journal your own. Ooo-kay . . .
But as soon as I got to the introduction and actually started reading my opinion quickly changed. Rachel is so good at getting to the heart of the issue. She starts off by telling her own story and does it so well, that she instantly captures the hearts of bullet journaling enthusiasts and everyone struggling to get started. If you have been bullet journaling for a while you were at this point once and if you are just starting out you share her feelings probably right now. Next, she talks about the different approaches to, how she calls it, dot journaling. About how you can keep it minimal and to the point or how you can use it as a creative outlet and go crazy with it. And she always stays open-minded and positive about everyone’s unique approach.
Learning the Basics
Her ‘Basics’ chapter makes sure that
- you understand all the terminology, Ever asked yourself what a future spread is?
- learn about the importance of an index,
- realize what all the little symbols you see on other peoples pages mean,
- and that you become aware that you have the time for dot journaling if you truly want to do this.
Getting into detail
After explaining what the dot journal is, she gets to the fun stuff: Inspirational examples for the most common dot journal pages. This takes up most of the book and the great thing about it is, that she shows you three to five different example pages for each kind of layout and explains in detail how she would use it. A layout/spread is a page for a specific theme. Like for example a yearly calendar overview or a list of books you want to read this year.
This is one of the aspects of what makes this book very valuable for a beginner. When starting out it can be hard to understand why there are a lot of different versions of a page and which one you should use. By showing multiple examples for each page, she essentially explains over and over again what makes dot journaling so special: A paper-based planning system unique to you! and helps you to find a starting point. With so many choices at least one surely speaks to you and will give you a starting off point when you begin filling your own dot journal.
My favorite part of this book
Throughout the book between chapters, Rachel answers common questions about dot journaling like
- What if I make a mistake?
- What should I do with my journals when they are full?
- And more.
All her thoughts on these questions are super helpful and make you feel more comfortable with this system. While having all the freedom in the world is wonderful it also is very intimidating. So by answering all these questions she takes away part of the fear and helps you fill the first page in your brand new dot journal.
This 240-pages strong book was written by BuzzFeed senior lifestyle editor Rachel Wilkerson Miller. I personally follow Buzzfeed mainly on YouTube and I’m always amazed at how good they are to create viral content you can’t resist to watch. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Rachel Wilkerson Miller worked at ELLE magazine. Her writing has appeared on the Hairpin, Huffington Post, the Knot, and A Practical Wedding, and she has been a guest on the Today show and Good Morning America. She also has been blogging since 2005. This girl has some serious writing experience.
Due to me living in Germany Damn you shipping time! I only had a digital version of the book to look at. So I can’t comment on print quality, binding, etc. But with a background in art and design, I totally can comment on the overall look of the pages themselves. First of all, I’m in love with the cover design! It looks like something showing up on my Instagram feed and captures dot journaling perfectly. If I would see this cover in a store I instantly would know that this book is about bullet journaling.
Also, it’s a joy just browsing through the book. Rachel made sure there are as many images as there is text and therefore it can be super inspirational to just flip through, without you needing to read a single word. And the presentation of her dot journal pages is as beautiful as the pages themselves.
My Personal Thoughts
My personal challenge while reading this book was that I needed to look at it from two different perspectives.
- What value does it hold for me?
- What value would it have held for me had I read it on day #1 of my journey?
If you have been bullet journaling for a while and you know the ropes, this book can be a nice trip down memory lane. Since Rachel writes in a very supportive and friendly way, you can’t resist reminiscing. While there weren’t page layouts in this book I have never seen before, her thoughts and experiences with these different versions of each theme most certainly inspired me and gave me new ideas what I could try out next.I also really enjoy the fact that she kept the artistic approach out of this book, so everyone feels like they can do this and no specific skills are required. You always can learn more about drawing and calligraphy if you want to, but this is not the chore of dot journaling and I’m very happy she made this clear right from the beginning.
The only part I didn’t like about this book were the pages that have random facts about journaling throughout the ages. It always seemed like a stopper to me and destroyed the wonderful flow of the book and how each new paragraph supported the last and made you excited for the next one. But we are only talking a few pages here throughout the whole 240-page book, so if you are like me just skip them.Overall this book gets a big YES! from me for all bullet journaling starters and a ‘Nice to have’ for all bullet journaling enthusiasts since following her thought process is very inspiring even if you know most of the page layouts already.
Where can I get it?
Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide will be released on July 25, 2017. TODAY!!! You can order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, Workman, or Powell’s. The retail price for this paperback is $12.95 US, but it is currently priced at $10.42 on Amazon.
Want to get your hands on one of your own? You can purchase it right here 🙂
On August 8th it also will become available as a set for $22.95, including not only the book but also a blank Dot-Grid-Journal. Amazon again allows you to pre-order it way more affordable for currently $15.60 US. This can be an amazing deal if you consider the price of a quality notebook itself. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on this notebook, since I hadn’t had the opportunity to check it out.
If you are still unsure about the purchase or short on cash, this section is surely up your alley! Rachels lovely publisher was so sweet to allow me to give away two of her books for free. So if you are living in the US or Canada make sure to participate, by simply adding your name and email below so I can contact you in case you won!
This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you purchase something through the links provided I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can be assured that I will never recommend something that I don’t enjoy using and wouldn’t recommend to my best friend as well! For more information, see my disclosures here.