MUJI’s virtual bullet journal workshop demonstrates that journalling doesn’t need to be perfect

Functionality, not aesthetics, was the emphasis of the workshop

MUJI’s bullet journal workshop offered a way to finesse those bullet journalling skills. Courtesy of MUJI Canada.

By: Michelle Young, Staff Writer

Amongst all the COVID-19 isolation, various companies have shifted their in-person services to make them accessible to customers from home. MUJI, a department store known for their stationary, hosted a bullet journal workshop via Zoom with bullet journalist and calligrapher, Vanessa Yu. The workshop was about half an hour, and Yu provided the attendees with tips on how to organize or start their bullet journals for better organization. 

The workshop did not require a webcam or microphone from attendees, and the only interactive aspect was a live Q&A, where questions were handpicked by a MUJI representative and directed to Yu. Attendees asked her about the best pens, notebooks, and paper to use. She compared brush pens to gel pens, spiral bound to flat notebooks, and lined to blank paper — though she ultimately concluded that the beauty in bullet journalling was its flexibility. In that instant, I was overwhelmed with the detail that went into bullet journalling. The tools that people sought out for it seemed to be incredibly particular, so I  was surprised when Yu emphasized function over aesthetic. 

I’ve always thought bullet journalling was an intimidating task. Instagrammers, YouTubers, and Studyblrs (Tumblr blogs that focus on note-taking and organization) often post photos of beautiful pages filled with calligraphy, stickers, and some strategically placed pens on the side. While I love stationery and I’m always on a quest to find new notebooks and washi tapes, I never tried to make my journals look too perfect. The bullet journals I saw on social media looked like they took so much time to lay out and I couldn’t imagine working so hard for my planner every week I always felt that bullet journalling was more of an art form, rather than an organization skill. Of course, it can be both, though Yu noted that bullet journaling “shouldn’t take more time than you’re comfortable with.” 

Suggestions for bullet journals included keeping and updating an index, using different bullets for different kinds of tasks, and noting observations and reminders. I can only assume that Yu illustrated how she sets up her journals on camera, because the screen blacked out on my laptop and I didn’t receive a response from the hosts. The workshop was a mere 30 minutes, and I figured by the time I had sorted my Zoom issues, there wouldn’t be much time left and I would have missed the majority of the event. 

As I listened, I found that the workshop had a very methodical approach to bullet journalling such as an emphasis on creating a key for different kinds of bullets, numbering pages, and updating an index. While this was interesting in itself, I would have enjoyed tips on how to place washi tapes, or how to improve our handwriting or other visual suggestions — even though the workshop was centred on organization. 

The workshop left us with a downloadable PDF illustrating a variety of different bullet shapes that could be used to organize our journals. Yu concluded by discussing how bullet journalling can be a form of self-care and how laying out spreads can be therapeutic. Though I was disappointed with the technical issues and lack of aesthetic-oriented tips, the workshop aided in taking away some of the pressure that came with planning a bullet journal. Perhaps now I’ll be more willing to experiment in my planner without the expectation of it looking perfect. 

MUJI Canada offers a variety of workshops to participate in on their facebook page. The next one is “Learn the Basics of Coffee Brewing” on June 13. If you’ve always wanted to learn the difference between different kinds of coffee, this is your chance.