My bullet journal is filled with mistakes, scribbles, failed drawings, and layouts I don’t like. Call them mistakes, if you must. But really, it’s just real life. I’m not perfect so why would I expect my journal to be perfect without any mistakes? Maybe it’s time that we start to embrace our mistakes and let them be a reflection of what truly happens in real life. Mistakes happen. Just love them and be happy about how beautiful life is when it’s slightly imperfect.
Sounds nice, huh? Embrace your mistakes. Let them shine brightly and be your reminder that you’re not perfect. Be at peace with your screw-ups. Love them. Sprinkle fairy dust on them and let them sparkle!
Embracing our mistakes is not always easy or even what we want to do. Sometimes mistakes are just ugly and need to be covered up. Made to be beautiful. Transformed from something that makes us cringe into something that makes us happy.
Whoa! This is getting a little deep. Let’s not get all philosophical here!
The reality is that you’re going to screw up pages in your bullet journals and planners. Sometimes you’ll be fine with those mistakes and can just fix them and move on – or not fix them and still move on. But sometimes you really do want to sprinkle fairy dust on them and make them into something that brings joy and beauty.
You’ve got choices. All mistakes are different (thank you, Captain Obvious) so you’ve got some choices when it comes to how to handle them.
- Cover the mistake and make it into something beautiful
- Correct the mistake and carry on
- Embrace the mistake and carry on
Let’s explore these ideas and see what we can learn. Not to get all woo-woo on you again, but I truly believe the way you deal with small mistakes you make in your journal or planner is a reflection of how you’ll deal big mistakes or issues in the rest of your life. Use your journal as the training ground for how you want to live your life. </end of philosophical declaration>
Make my mistake pretty, please!
There are lots of solutions for covering mistakes. How you cover it up and make it pretty again depends on how big it is and how much you need to cover. Big mistakes need a bit more work. My supply of choice is pretty scrapbook paper, journaling cards, and embellishments.
I’ve been a scrapbooker and paper crafter for years and years (yes, I’m old) and I have more paper supplies than I’ll ever use in three lifetimes. So I’m always looking for creative ways to use up my stash. So when I screw up an entire page I am in the habit of reaching for my paper stash to make it pretty.
Just find a paper you love and cut it to the size of your journal page. Then start layering scraps of paper or journaling cards (I love the Project Life cards for this) on top of that base of scrapbook paper. Add some washi tape or stickers to embellish it, if you want. And voila – no more mistakes!
I made a quick video to show you how easy it is.
Correcting mistakes in your bullet journal
Small mistakes like a misspelled word or the wrong day of the week don’t necessarily “ruin” your entire page, but it’s something you want to correct and carry on. These small mistakes can be fixed with white-out, washi tape, or a sticker.
Washi Tape or Stickers – With many types of washi tape you can actually write on it with pen or marker so you can cover up the word and start again. If you use washi tape, just add it in another place or two on the page as a decorative element to make it look like you did it on purpose. There are also myriad planner stickers that are designed to cover large areas on your planner page (think Erin Condron style stickers) and they work great to cover a mistake.
Print New Paper – This option works great if you have a printer or an extra notebook lying around (I have 30 or so!). My favorite site for printing many types of grid paper is the Printable Paper website (they have every pattern you can think of!). Just choose the style of paper to match your journal, the size of the grid or lines, and print on normal printer paper. Then cut a small piece of it to match your journal and disguise the mistake by camouflaging it. You can also use an old journal that has extra pages to cut a piece out of. Just glue it over your mistake and start again.
White Pen – There are also white gel pens that do a great job for covering small areas. I like the Uni-ball Signo 153 gel pen with white ink. The ink flows beautifully and is opaque enough to cover up what you’re writing over.
Correction Tape and Fluids – I keep one of those correction tape runners at my desk and use it to cover up small (or medium sized) mistakes. I like the Papermate brand, but there are lots of different types so test some out to see which you prefer. This works great for journals with white paper. If your journal has cream or ivory paper, there’s still hope for you! They actually make buff-colored white-out (is it still white out if it’s not white?). Now that we’re in the digital age most office supply stores don’t carry the buff white-out so you’ll need to buy it online. I’ve found it on the websites for Staples and Amazon.
What is your favorite way to cover up small mistakes? Did I miss something on this list? Share your method in the comments so we can all learn new stuff.
Embracing the mistakes in your journal (and in life)
Warning! I’m about to get all woo-woo again.
I wonder why we always want to cover up or hide the mistakes we make. Not just in our journals, but also in life. When I was a kid playing too rough with my sister and brother and we accidentally broke something in the house, the first inclination was to hide that thing and hope nobody discovered it. Of course, Mom would always find out and we’d have to fess up (or be grounded until we did). So this behavior starts at a young age and then we never seem to grow out of it. Perfectionism is a struggle for many of us (me included). Are you a perfectionist? If we learn how to embrace the mistakes we make and love the fact that we’re imperfect, I truly believe that we’ll start to appreciate life more fully.
Do you know the Japanese term wabi-sabi?
Wabi-sabi is the subtle art of embracing the imperfect, aged, and rustic nature of the world around you.
Seeing the beauty is our mistakes or a worn out journal or even a 50-year-old mechanical pencil with all the color worn off – this is the beginning of the type of wabi-sabi I want to achieve in my life. To appreciate the mistakes I make and know that I’m a better person because of them. To see a scribbled out misspelled word with the correct written next to it as beautiful takes practice and patience with my imperfection.
Sometimes we just need to remember that the journal we use… it’s just paper. Maybe just turn the page and start again.