Hey Planning Mashers!
As you start a Bullet Journal, one of your biggest worries is probably mistakes. We all want to have that perfect and beautiful planner, and a lot of people decide to not give the Bullet Journal a try simply because they are afraid to make too many mistakes.
How do I know this? Because it’s been the same for me, all my life. I always loved having pretty and crisp new notebooks, but I never used them out of fear of my mistakes.
The good news is, Bullet Journal changed things for me and I’m here today to tell you how to deal with your own mistakes and to start your journal without any worries!
Let me be honest for a moment here. Instagram and other social media really glorify my Bullet Journal.
In reality, I make a lot of mistakes! Misspelling (and grammar lawyers always call me out and it’s so embarrassing! Please don’t do it! We are all human after all T_T), lines that end up being too long, dates that don’t align or just flat-out wrong dates.
I’m quite a perfectionist, at least when it comes to my journal. I know what I want and how I want it. This means that mistakes drive me CRAZY and make me not want to do any more spreads, and hide under a blankie away from all this hating world.
But that’s the wrong attitude!
You have to own up to your mistakes, don’t you? Yes, it’s not easy, and fighting with myself over it was super hard, but absolutely worth it.
What I had to do is to accept that I will make mistakes, but they are a necessary step towards becoming better and making prettier pages in my Bullet Journal.
I just decided – hey, all those mistakes make my journal really personal, they turned a simple planning tool into my own personal development story. When I started looking at it that way, it really helped me to overcome my perfectionist side and move on.
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How To Deal With Mistakes In Your Bullet Journal
The first thing you need to do is to tell yourself it’s ok to have them and accept that they will happen. I know it’s pretty hard, but I know from my experience if you commit to this kind of thinking and keep planning with Bullet Journal it will get better and eventually will worry you less and less.
Always remember that mistakes are unavoidable and even the most experienced Bullet Journalist make some. The day we stopped making mistakes, is the day we stop learning, after all.
Second thing is to try to minimize your mistakes. That’s pretty easy, just try to do your pages in pencil first. I use this trick all the time!
Sketch your page and where you want to put lettering, dates, and other things. That way, you’ll see if it all looks ok and if you missed or miscalculated anything. Always double-triple-check your work before adding permanent ink!
To be sure you’re always on ton of your measurements you can also create a grid spacing guide. It will speed up the process as well.
It can also be very useful to practice beforehand.
You can even start a separate journal where you can try out new fonts, and color matches before you actually add them to your Bullet Journal. It can be a fun idea for one of those empty journals you probably have laying around.
Third, get creative with how you fix your mistakes! Seriously sometimes I end up making a prettier page simply because there was a mistake and I had to get creative thinking of how to fix it and work around it.
Let’s get into this a bit more!
How To Cover Up Mistakes On Paper
There are many different ways, and I’m sure if you give it a thought you’d be able to come up with some more ideas! So let’s dive in and check some of these options. I’ll start from some very big things in case you destroyed the whole page and later will tell you how to deal with small errors.
At the end of the post there is also a video of me actually fixing all the things, as well as a few more techniques you might find useful, so be sure to scroll down and check it out.
Removing Pages, The Rough Method (and its softer version)
I’ll start from the most drastic measure, which is to just cut out the page from your journal. But keep in mind that if you do this with every mistake you’ll end up having an empty and butchered journal!
Cutting out pages can destabilize the whole journal structure, so I personally made myself a promise to never do it. That forced me to become more inventive with how I deal with mistakes.
The soft version of this trick would be to just stick together the pages you don’t like, and I actually did this once. That way you’re losing just 2 pages, not 4. The trick here is to make sure you glue your pages together when they’re both vertical. Don’t try to combine them if they are turned to one side – this will make the whole thing awfully uneven.
Turn Pages Into Something Else
If you really messed up and ended up with something you totally didn’t want, you also have an option to just use it differently. You can fold it so it becomes a little pocket in your journal!
Or you can glue it in an envelope and use it as storage for some secrets. Get creative!
Cover The Whole Page With A Bullet Journal Printable
The proverbial “sweeping them under the rug” method. There are so many beautiful printables on the market, both free and paid.
Just choose what page you want to have and glue it on your page with errors.
It’ll be a great page for you to come back to and meditate a bit while coloring. It’s also kind of cool to know there’s an evil little secret lying underneath it all!
You can also add some functional Bullet Journal pages. Check out our Resources Vault for free printables you can use.
If you aren’t a part of Planning Mashers yet, be sure to join us in the signup form at the end of the post!
Create A Collage
If the whole page is ruined and you feel creative – go on and cover it all with a collage! Use some magazine cutouts, photos, tickets, stamps – anything you have at hand. Turn this big error into a creative and happy page.
I have never tried this in this exact format, but it sounds so awesome I’m secretly hoping I get the chance to do it someday.
This is really my absolute favorite method and it’s great when fixing some little mistakes. You can use whiteout, but I personally prefer to use my Uniball Signo white gel pen. (UPDATE: I actually lately switched to Sakura Gelly Roll and loving it even more!)
You can see below an example of that time this trick literally saved my page.
I drew my Sunday date on the wrong line. TWICE! Pay attention Masha!
So I had to white it out and start again a few times. But in the end, it’s barely noticeable! isn’t it? I’m so proud of it!
Tell me in the comments if you saw this page before and you noticed my mistake, please!
The only thing you should be careful about when using a whiteout is the color of your paper. My Nuuna has a pure white paper, so it’s barely noticeable here. But if you use some ivory paper it might stand out a lot. Do a little testing on the last page of your journal to be 100% sure.
If you’re afraid the whiteout method will be too obvious, try to do the opposite. Just black out your mistake and write something on top of it with a white gel pen. Uh edgy!
This works especially well if you misspelled your header or are into punk rock metal.
This is my example of the blackout method. That time when I made 8 days a week and had to black out my habit tracker.
Bullet Journal Doodles
Don’t know how to cover your mistake? Just doodles over it. The perfect example is this crow, who appears to be judging me. I originally planned it to be “this week” letters, and so I wrote them.
Then, I realized I had too many columns and had to move my ‘this week” section down. I just drew a little crow and a skull over it. Problem solved and the page actually looks better for it!
If you never doodled before – worry not, I got you covered!
Check out my Beginner’s Guide To Bullet Journal Doodles and you’ll get doodling right away, even if you never did before.
If you’re not very confident in your doodles yet, I have another option for you – stickers!
You can also find tons of printable stickers in my shop. This is great – you can print and use them as many times as you want!
They are very affordable and there are both decorative and functional stickers.
Washi tapes are great to cover up bigger mistakes. Just like with stickers, you can find a large choice of washi tapes on Amazon and Etsy. As with stickers, you can find some that fit your style perfectly.
Washi tapes are awesome to cover up bigger mistakes, like for example the whole title.
If you’re hoarding washi tape as I do, be sure to check my post with 23 Ways To Use Washi Tape In Your Bullet Journal so you can actually put it to use, not just collect.
You can even just cut out a piece of a paper bag and use it.
Alternatively, you can even take some clear pieces of paper and draw your own designs on it.
Page Flags And Post Its
If you made a mistake and you actually need this space to write later, a good idea would be to use a page flag, or any post-it notes. There are so many cute sticky notes out there, and a lot of people just use them as a decoration, not just to fix the mistakes.
How To Fix Bullet Journal Mistakes – The Video
Finally, see me actually using all these techniques in this video!
What ways do you use to fix your Bullet Journal mistakes? Please share it with us in the comments section below. And remember! To err is human. To cover it up is for Bullet Journalists!
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And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling and Don’t Be a Blob!