Interview Week 1 - Emily

Hi Emily, thanks so much for agreeing to be the first interviewee for Journal Boutique. I hope this becomes a regular weekly feature as I think its important we share how different types of journaling can help people in their daily lives.  So lets get stuck right in.

How and when did you discover journaling and what type of journaling do you do?

I came across the original video for Bujo-in late one night.  I think it was briefly mentioned in an article about something completely different!  But it caught my attention and I started looking into it.  My immediate impression was ‘why haven’t I thought of this before?!’ 

How has journaling affected your life?

It’s had an enormous impact on my wellbeing and physical health.  After recovering from an illness I found myself stuck in the habits of when I was ill – rarely leaving the house, watching a lot of TV, feeling quite hopeless about life.  I knew I wanted to be more productive, be happier, be healthier, but it seemed like an enormous mountain to climb.  I initially started the Bujo to keep on top of work, but after seeing someone’s ‘habit tracker’ on Pinterest I decided to give it a go.  Very simple – I just logged which activities I’d spent each hour of my day doing.  No guilt, no goals, just research.  It was a huge shock when, after the first week, I calculated I’d spent 49 hours on the x-box.  49!!!  I was utterly disgusted with myself, but looking back it was the eye-opener I needed to make changes.  Over the following weeks my ‘self-research’ started to grow, and now I track everything from how much sleep I get, to my eating habits, my moods – even how often I shower!  It might seem obsessive, but really it’s just a way of approaching your life objectively, identifying negative patterns and implementing positive changes.  I call it my ‘self-study in self-care’ and it’s inspired me to be healthy, productive and happy – and to stay that way.

Is there a specific reason why you are journaling?

I actually have 3 bullet journals now.  My main one is my personal one (detailed above) which lives in my living room.  I have a tiny one for work, which lives in my handbag.  And I recently bought a third for creative writing, which lives in my study.  I like keeping them separate but you could easily combine them into one.

What do you think are the benefits/positives to journaling?

The benefits to journaling are enormous and varied.  My work bujo keeps me organised, makes information easy to find, and is quick to fill in.  My creative writing journal is where I vomit out all my ideas.  It’s an utter mess, but it’s a mess contained in one place!  And my personal bujo keeps me productive and happy.  Plus, it’s enormous fun to fill in – doodling on the pages and making them look pretty (which I generally fail at, but it’s fun to try!).

Would you recommend journaling to others?

Yes!  I’ve practically force fed it to everyone I know!  I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

If someone is thinking about starting a journal but is not sure where to start or if they should bother, would you have any advice to offer them?

My advice would be: Start simple and throw judgement out of the window.  Your handwriting will be messy.  You’ll do it wrong.  You’re not going to reach Pinterest-level artistic skills on your first page!  But you WILL grow into it.  And if you’re open minded about what you really need from the journal, it’ll evolve into something incredibly useful and delightfully personal.  Be patient and embrace the mistakes.

Are you a member of any journaling group?  Do you think this is important or you see journaling as a personal/private pursuit?

I have joined a couple of journaling groups and really enjoy being a part of the community.  I love the fact that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel – if I have a new idea, there’s always someone I can copy from!!  It’s also lovely to see the artistic spreads and get advice on new products.  However, a lot of my journal is too personal to share and keeping it private is what makes it special to me.  But I enjoy dipping in and out of the pages as and when I like.  Everyone is always so friendly and welcoming.

Where do you look for journaling inspiration?

The FB pages are my main source of inspiration.  Instagram and Pinterest tend to showcase examples that are too dauntingly perfect for me!  Whereas on the FB pages you can see more honest examples.  None of mine in any way resemble the highly artistic ones on Pinterest or Instagram, so it’s nice seeing the messy ones that look more like mine!

Thank you so much Emily!  Such a powerful story and one to encourage people to give journaling a go if they have not already started.

If you would like to feature in the weekly interview section please just drop me a line at


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