How to deal with mistakes in your bullet journal? (7 ways!)

January 13, 2018

With a growing number of bullet journalist users and the new trend of “beautiful bujo”, a lot of people are wondering : “what do I do when I make a mistake in my notebook?

I won’t say this enough but don’t forget that a bullet journal is a planning and organizing tool! However, some people also consider it as a way to express their creativity. Those persons (and I’m one of them!) enjoy playing around with colors, doodles, lettering to add a nice touch of fantasy in their notebook and make it personal and unique.

So it’s almost inevitable : you’re going to make mistakes in your bullet journal!

Personal experience

When I started my first bullet journal back in November 2016, it was because of all the beautiful notebooks I’ve seen on the internet and social medias. I discovered Ryder Carroll’s method thanks to a YouTube video of a girl showing her own notebook. So I wanted to learn more about it and made some research. When you enter the key word “bullet journal” in a browser, you’re hit by a flood of gorgeous pages shared by talented bullet journalists.

So when I first started to write in my brand new notebook, I felt a huge pressure, thinking that having a beautiful bullet journal was mandatory to be allowed to call it a bullet journal! I found out later that it was completely wrong but that’s another story. And it happened… this first mistake! To be honest, I don’t even remember what kind of mistake it was, but I was so mad and disappointed that I torn off the page!

I’m a perfectionist. And I’m sure some of you are too! But today, I realize that tearing that page off was really stupid!

What other solutions are there? Keep reading to find out!

Supplies I use to fix my mistakes

Small and tiny mistakes

#1 – Correction tape

Whoever invented this thing is a genius! Correction tape is probably the first tool to come in mind when you need to cover a mistake!

This alternative to correction fluid (which takes forever to dry and smells so bad) is very useful to hide an error.

Pros (+)

– It’s so practical!
– It’s fast. Apply it and re write on it immediately!
– Put it in your pencil case! It doesn’t take a lot of space and you can have it with you at all times.

Cons (-)

– It can lack precision when it comes to small mistakes.
– It’s white. The color of the paper in many notebooks is ivory.

#2 – White pen

When your mistake is really small (a smudge, a line that’s a bit too long…), you can cover it with a white gel pen.

Pros (+)

– It’s a pen so it’s precise.
– It’s discrete.

Cons (-)

– Works only on small areas (because of the transparency and the white color of the ink)
– Gel pens can take a while to dry.

Big mistakes

There are a few methods to hide a mistake or cover something you don’t like.

Depending on the technique you chose, the result will be different :
– you can use a method that will allow you to start over and do what you had in mind in the first place
– or you can use an external element to cover up your mistake and create something completely es and different from your original idea.

#3 – Black pen

A misspelling in the middle of a word? An ugly header? Cover it up with a black rectangle and use a white pen to write upon it. The result will be simple but very classy!

Pros (+)

– It’s very effective! By covering your mistake with black, you can be sure you won’t see it anymore!
– It’s very simple : you just need a black pen.

Cons (-)

– It’s not very aesthetically beautiful. A black bloc might not be compatible with your page’s style.
– You’ll need a pen to write on black.

#4 – Washi tape

Washi tape is usually use as a way to decorate pages. But it’s also a great method to mask errors.

Pros (+)

– There are thousands of colors and patterns!
– It’s super cute!

Cons (-)

– Some washi tapes can be a bit transparent and so you’ll probably get a little bit of ghosting.
– Be careful with the pen you use to write on it. I recommend a ball-point pen to avoid smudging.

#5 – Stickers

If you’ve got some stickers home, you can use them to hide a mistake or something you don’t like.

Pros (+)

– Simple and effective!
– There are a lot of nice designs!

Cons (-)

– Be careful with the pen you use to write on the sticker. I recommend a ball-point pen.

#6 – A piece of paper

Probably one of my favorite method! I cut out a piece of paper from one of my notebook’s pages and paste it over what I want to hide. It’s like cancelling a mistake! You can start over!

Pros (+)

– It’s very efficient! It’s almost invisible.
– This method allows you to do what you had in mind in the first place.

Cons (-)

– You’ll need to get your hands on scissors and glue, which is not always possible.
– Depending on the paper quality, you can get a little bit of ghosting.

#7 – The best method : do nothing!

Let’s end the list with the best and easiest way to deal with a mistake : do nothing! Leave it and live with it!

I know. It’s hard. It’s ugly. But I assure you, it’s nit a big deal!

Pros (+)

– It’s so fast! It takes approximately zero seconds.
– It’s a great exercise to learn how to let go.

Cons (-)

– I don’t see any.

Accepting your mistakes is not easy when we like perfection. But perfection is boring! Errors give life and personality to your notebook. It’s what make it unique! Having a perfect bullet journal is not important. Don’t forget that a bujo is a planning tool and not a piece of art. Do it your way and it will be perfect. Don’t try to copy what you see on social media. People sharing pictures of their notebook usually show their best pages. I do! And it makes sense. We like to show our best work.

But I’m sure we all have useless pages and ugly doodles or lettering and spelling errors, and smudges… and so what? I’m learning to leave them and to accept them and I really encourage you to do that too!


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