Pros + Cons of Bullet Journaling in a Composition Notebook

by - June 09, 2018
Are you starting a bullet journal, and trying to figure out what supplies you want to use? Picking out a notebook is one of the hardest parts of starting your first bullet journal! There are so so many options out there! Plus, you don't want to spend $30+ dollars on a notebook, if you decide you don't like bullet journaling. A composition notebook might be just the notebook to start your first bullet journal in!

Pros + Cons of Bullet Journaling in a Composition Notebook

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The Pros + Cons of Bullet Journaling in a Composition Notebook

We'll get into the pros and cons of bullet journaling in a composition notebook in just a few minutes, but first I want to give you a little background on why I picked a composition notebook as my first bullet journal.

I started out my first bullet journal in a composition notebook. I wanted to just try out the bullet journal system, and I didn't want to spend any money on it because there was, of course, the chance that I wouldn't like it. Basically, I didn't want to spend any money!

You might be in the same position as I was when I wanted to start my first bullet journal.

I scrounged around my house to see what I could find. As a stationery hoarder (I'm sure some of you can relate to this), I have the habit of saving pretty notebooks, stickers, and any stationery for "special occasions" that usually never ever happen.

Well, long story short, I wanted to go the cheap route, so I found an ugly part-used composition notebook and decided to use that notebook for my first bullet journal. You see this wasn't a "special occasion" so I couldn't use any of the pretty stationery I'm saving. 😂

Naturally, I couldn't leave the notebook looking as ugly as it was so I decorated the notebook to turn the composition notebook into a beautiful bullet journal. In my opinion, almost all composition notebooks are ugly, but that can be changed with a little bit of scrapbook paper and washi tape!

Recently though, composition notebooks have been receiving new prettier designs. Not the usual one color one pattern composition notebook! Just take a look at some of the ones I found below!

After using the notebook for around three months, give or take, I learned all the advantages and disadvantages of using a composition notebook for a bullet journal! Let's get right into the pros and cons of using a composition notebook as a bullet journal!

The Pros of Bullet Journaling in a Composition Notebook

1. It's Cheap

Let's start out with the most obvious advantage of using a composition notebook. It's cheap. Composition notebooks are really cheap, and you can get one for next to nothing so it's a great budget option for beginner bullet journalists.

If you are willing to spend a little bit more money, you can get a dotted notebook for around $10. Some people prefer dotted notebooks to notebooks with lined paper. I'm one of these people. If you are making more complicated bullet journal layouts, it's hard to do that on lined paper, but that's one of the cons, so we'll get to that pretty soon.

Another upside of using a composition notebook is that because it's so cheap, if you mess up, you won't feel bad about tearing one of the pages out.

2. Plenty of Pages

Composition notebooks have a good amount of pages, so you will have plenty of pages to make bullet journal layouts on.

With that being said, because composition notebooks are so cheap, if you have to use two or even three in a year, it won't be very expensive.

Want to see what my bullet journal layouts in a composition notebook look like? Click here and here. I split my bullet journal flip through into two posts because I have 25 or so different trackers I use and like I said a composition notebook has plenty of pages for all of those trackers.

3. Page Size

Composition notebooks are pretty large, larger than most traditional bullet journal notebooks. This means that you will have plenty of space to make bullet journal layouts. If you have large writing, it won't be any problem in a composition notebook!

This could also be a disadvantage though. If you want to carry your bullet journal around with you, it might be rather big.

4. You Can Decorate a Composition Notebook However You Want

Some people could see this as a plus, but other people might want a notebook already pretty and decorated. It depends on what you think. I myself, am a fan of being able to customize my bullet journal to how I want it to look.

4. Composition Notebooks Have Lined Paper

The lined paper in a composition notebook makes it a little bit easier to get those lines straight.  You won't write crooked either. I know I have that problem. If there aren't any lines on the page then I write really crooked and my letters get larger and smaller! 😂 I guess I just need to work on my hand lettering.

Again, this might be a con for you if you want to be able to create more complicated layouts in your bullet journal.

That's all for the pros! Now we'll get into the cons of bullet journaling in a composition notebook.

The Cons of Bullet Journaling in a Composition Notebook

1. The Paper is Thin

The paper is thin and the ink ghosts through the page sometimes. Ghosting is when you can see pen ink or marker ink on the page when you turn it over and look at the back. This might be very bothersome to you so it is something to keep in mind when you are considering a composition notebook for your bullet journal.

You aren't going to be very likely to use your composition notebook bullet journal if you are annoyed by ghosting!

2. A Composition Notebook Won't Hold Up as Well as Some Other Notebooks

Composition notebooks are cheap, yes, but on the flip side, they are also not as high-quality. The pages are thin as I said above, so they can be ripped easier, fall out easier, etc.

For your first bullet journal though, a composition notebook can still be a good option, especially if you are just using your bullet journal for to-do lists, and not for memory-keeping layouts.

3. Composition Notebooks are Very Plain

You might not have time to decorate your bullet journal, but you still want a pretty journal. Bullet journaling in a composition notebook, in this case, is probably not for you.

If you are motivated to use your bullet journal because it is pretty, but you don't have time to decorate your notebook, then you won't feel motivated to use it.

If you do love decorating though then a composition notebook might be perfect for you because composition notebooks are very customizable!

4. The Paper Isn't Grid-Lined or Dot-Lined

Most people prefer to bullet journal in a dot-lined notebook. It is just a matter of preference so if you don't know what you like best, try printing out some free dot lined, grid-lined, and lined paper and making a sample layout. This way, you'll be able to see how easy it is to make bullet journal layouts on each type of notebook paper.

The lines in composition notebooks are also pretty far apart, so if you have small handwriting, this might be annoying.

If you want to make vertical lines, you will have to measure your composition notebook page to see where to draw the lines. This can be very time-consuming.

The Pros + Cons of Bullet Journaling in a Composition Notebook

Those are the pros and the cons of using a composition notebook to bullet journal in. If you don't know if a composition notebook is for you, then you can try it for a little while. It's a good idea to create a practice notebook, to try out bullet journaling before you move onto a more expensive notebook.

Maybe you don't care about ghosting, but you need something with lots of paper or you don't want to pay too much for a notebook because you are afraid of making mistakes. 

Everyone makes mistakes. My way to fix mistakes is to cut a piece of white paper to fit over the mistake and then glue it on with some glue stick. Literally only a 30-second fix.

Then you can start the page over again with a blank slate.

If you liked this post, then you can read these ones as well.

Happy journaling! As always, if you have any questions, make sure you put them in the comment section! I'd be happy to help you. :)
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