Bullet Journal pitfalls and how to avoid them or deal with them
You have a lovely new journal and you can’t wait to get started, but then anxiety says “great … but what if you spoil your pages …?”
Everyone makes mistakes, but I have put together this short list of common errors and how to avoid them:
- Smudges – If you are using ink of any kind then sometimes it will smudge. I would recommend using blotting paper on all ink, but especially fountain pens. Press the paper lightly on fresh ink to soak up blots, but also put blotting paper over the top of wet ink and under your hand to prevent accidental smudges as you write or draw.
- Using the wrong pen – This is only really a problem if you are sticking to a colour scheme and you have a selection of pens of similar colours, or if you are trying to maintain uniformity in some other way. You can keep track by having a sticky note to hand and making a KEY of what pen you have used. Some manufactured sticky notes can be quite glossy and not all pens will look the same on different types of paper, so you can make your own with a scrap of paper and a piece of washi tape. ~ If you don’t want to write out a key, then you can wrap a piece of washi tape round your pen to remind you.
- Spelling mistakes – if you don’t know how to spell a word then look it up or ask a virtual assistant how to spell it. If you find yourself always having to check the same words, then make a note of the correct spelling at the back of your journal.
- Ink leaks – some types of ink will leak through the page, especially if the paper is quite thin. Keep a page at the back of your journal to try out your pen first. You could make it fancy with doodle boxes, write a pangram or a quote, or write a list of the brand and type of your pens similar to the KEY idea (2) above.
- Drawing grids the wrong size – plan your page in pencil first. You don’t necessarily need to draw out the whole page in pencil, but make a few light pencil marks to help you plan. If you have layouts that you repeat then you can make yourself a cheat sheet to remind yourself of the dimensions.
- Carbon paper effect – back in the day, if you wanted to make a copy of a document it would often involve carbon paper. This was an inky piece of paper that you slipped between the sheet of paper you were writing on or typing on and a blank sheet of paper, inky side down. As you wrote or typed, the ink would transfer to the blank sheet, making a carbon copy. If you put the carbon paper the wrong way up, the ink went on the back of your original copy instead! Where is all this leading you may ask? ~ Well, it is to do with coloured pencils. They’re great for making colourful habit trackers etc, but when you turn the page and write on another, the coloured pencil will transfer, like carbon paper. Avoid this by putting a sheet of scrap paper between the two pages so that the pencil goes onto that instead.
How to deal with mistakes in your journal
If the list above came too late, then don’t despair!
You could embrace your mistakes by incorporating them into your design …
Highlight them and write “whoops!” over the top. Change them into a doodle. Cross them out, deep breath and carry on.
Or, hide them …
Small mistakes can be covered with correction tape (warning: not all pens write over the top of correction tape or fluid). You can also cover them with washi tape. Gently scribble over the mistake first if you don’t want it to show through the washi.
Larger mistakes can be covered with another piece of paper, magazine cuttings, stickers, etc.
Massive mistakes can be hidden by sticking two pages together. Absolute last resort but not recommended at all is to remove the page, but this can weaken the book spine and other pages may fall out.
Final note: just relax and enjoy. Eliminating distractions and taking your time will help you become a better writer, but if you make a typo or another mistake, it really isn’t the end of the world.