Today I want to talk about an issue I think everyone who uses a bullet journal has had to deal with at some point. Fixing mistakes in your bullet journal. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes in my bullet journal all the time. I’m also terrible at spelling which does not help in the slightest. So today I want to share some examples of my bullet journal mistakes and how I have fixed them.
How To Fix Mistakes In Your Bullet Journal
Change Your Mindset
The first thing I think we should do though is talk about making mistakes in your bullet journal. I have a habit of putting pressure on myself when using a notebook. I convince myself that this notebook is a special place and everything in it needs to be perfect. I’m sure some of you may be able to identify with these feelings.
The problem is its almost impossible to have a “perfect” notebook. If you use a notebook you’re going to make a mistake in it at some point. You’re going to use a pen which bleeds through the paper, make a spelling mistake or add something which you’ll regret later. Mistakes are going to happen, what you need to change is your mindset around mistakes.
Once you accept that mistakes are going to happen I think its a lot easier to accept them and move on. Of course, I’m not saying you should just leave all mistakes without doing anything. There are some easy ways to fix mistakes, but as you will learn later on in this post. Sometimes the best thing to do with a mistake is to accept it and move on.
Ways To Fix Mistakes
What I want to show in this post is some examples of mistakes I’ve made in my bullet journal. Yes, you may think my bullet journal is pretty. Some may even call it aesthetic (I sure don’t). But the point I’m trying to get is that its not perfect. I’ve messed things up. I’ve made mistakes and tried to fix them. I’ve also just accepted I messed up and moved on.
You don’t have to fix mistakes if you don’t want to. But I want to share some ways that you could fix mistakes if you decide you really can’t just leave something be.
Leave the mistake
The first thing I want to share is an example of a mistake which I have left in all its glory. As you can see in the image I’ve scored out the heading because I wrote the wrong date. This is a common type of mistake and they can be tricky to fix. For these sorts of errors, it can be better to leave the error rather than trying to cover it up.
With this particular example, I tried to turn the mistake into more of a design by adding gel pen on top. If anything I think this makes the heading worse. Scoring out a piece of text and rewriting is a perfectly valid way of fixing a mistake. It doesn’t look particularly pretty but it still works.
Cover up your mistake
This example is an interesting one. It was wrong, but not in the sense that I had done something wrong in regards to bullet journaling. In this specific instance, I was trying to mix specific colours. Obviously, I didn’t quite get the right colour and decided to cover it up using paint. As you can see I then added a notation to show there was a mistake here.
I’ve gotten into the habit of highlighting mistakes in this way. I think it comes from how I used a sketchbook to document my design process. Annotating is something I was taught to do in sketchbooks so it makes sense that I would continue doing this in my bullet journals.
Obviously, you don’t need to highlight your own mistakes in this way. But covering up a mistake can be a really good way to fix it. Depending on the notebook you may not be able to use paint to cover up the mistake in your bullet journal. But there is always marker pens.
Hide mistakes using stickers
Something I will do pretty regularly is hiding a mistake using stickers. I’m quite particular about what stickers I use in my bullet journal so I don’t always do this. As you can see from this example I used a sticker in combination with sticky notes. I’m not a huge fan of how this turned out.
I can’t even remember what I was covering up, some sort of lettering piece. This is one of those occasions when leaving the mistake might have been a better idea than trying to cover it up. I don’t intentionally make my bullet journal look nice, that isn’t the reason why I use it. But this is one example of a page which looks worse because of a cover-up.
If you do want to hide mistakes I would highly recommend using sticky notes. I really enjoy using sticky notes in my bullet journal. I know I just said I don’t try to make my bullet journal look nice for Instagram. But I will occasionally add a sticky note to a page because I think it looks nice. I am very picky about the sticky notes I use. I’m not a huge fan of decorative sticky notes, and I hate neon stationery, but I did get some really nice blue sticky notes from the shop at my university. Can you believe one of my favourite stationery items was only 60p?
I would be hesitant to use lots of sticky notes in your bullet journal as a way of covering up mistakes. Adding anything extra will bulk out your pages over time. But using sticky notes or even stickers can be a great way to fix mistakes in your bullet journal.
Remove a page
One of the most extreme ways I’ll fix a mistake in my bullet journal is by removing a page. I try to avoid this if possible, you can mess up your notebook if you remove too many pages. I also use this as a way to repurpose a notebook. So if I’ve already got stuff in a notebook and decide to use it as a bullet journal instead.
When I remove pages from my notebook I like adding washi tape where they were removed. This has two purposes. Firstly to stop the other pages in my notebook from falling out, this is something you need to watch for especially if you remove a lot of pages. The other reason I use washi tape is so I can see that something was removed. The reason I do this is sort of like how in Japan will fix broken pottery using gold. It’s like I’m acknowledging the mistake rather than trying to hide it.
Use washi tape
I love using washi tape in my bullet journal because it’s so versatile. As I’ve already mentioned I will use it in my bullet journal to stabilise pages when I’ve had to remove some. But washi tape can be used in many other ways to fix mistakes in your bullet journal.
Washi tape isn’t great for covering up large mistakes, but for small things, it can work really well. You can get white washi tape if you want to hide a mistake without it being obvious, this can work really well if you want to write over that area. Though you need to be careful as some pens don’t write well over washi tape. There are also many different types of patterned washi tape. These are great if you want to cover something up but don’t mind being obvious about it.
You can also combine washi tape with stickers to hide a mistake. Actually, you don’t even need to do this as a way to hide a mistake. I love combining washi and stickers to add some decoration to my bullet journal pages. Especially if I think the page needs a little bit of colour. I would advise buying washi with minimal designs on them, I think it’s much easier to integrate a minimal design into a page. But that also may just be my personal preference.
Tip For Avoiding Mistake
Mistakes are almost certainly going to happen if you use a bullet journal. But there are a few things you can do to avoid mistakes. If you’re setting up calendar pages it can be a good idea to do these in pencil rather than pen. You can go back over in pen if you want, but I just leave them in pencil. This way if you make a mistake when writing numbers its much easier to fix.
I think this might be my advice for most bullet journaling mistakes. When you can use pencil before pen. Obviously, this isn’t always possible. There’s no way I would write my daily logs in pencil. But for things like lettering or other drawings I find it much better to do a sketch in pencil before going back over in pen.
Sometimes I will do something in my bullet journal which isn’t really a mistake, but its something I don’t like. This could be using specific tools or colours in my bullet journal. I have a list of materials I use in my bullet journal. I like doing this because it makes my bullet journal look more cohesive. But it also reduces the number of mistakes because I know what I like using in my bullet journal.
I think this lettering piece is a really good example of learning from my mistakes. Though I wouldn’t call this a mistake, I did realise after doing this piece that I didn’t like it. I do lettering in my bullet journal all the time, but this was the first time I had tried to add colour to a piece. I realised from this page that I didn’t like adding colour to a lettering piece. So from then on, all my lettering sketches stayed in black and white.
And there we have it. Some examples of how I have hidden mistakes in my bullet journal. Hopefully, you will get some ideas from this of ways you can hide mistakes in your bullet journal. I think it can be a good idea to think about how you use your bullet journal, there are no rules saying it has to look pretty. Mistakes are going to happen and you sort of just have to accept that.
Let me know in the comments if you use any of these methods in your bullet journal. Or have you found other ways to fix mistakes? I would love to know.