I started bullet journaling in 2018. Periodically, while working on my journal in public, people will say “I always wanted to bullet journal, but I’m afraid of messing it up.” Or “I have the perfect notebook at home, but I’ll never use it because I don’t want to ruin it.”
I tell them … it’s ok if you mess up.
It’s ok if it’s not perfect.
It’s ok if your penmanship is awful.
It’s ok if you cross out words because you misspelled them. Repeatedly.
It’s ok if your lines are crooked.
It’s ok to have a messy bullet journal.
Messy and Mindful
That can be hard to accept because there are a ton of beautiful bullet journals out there, and aesthetically, I appreciate them. I love it when people put time and energy into their spreads, and if they get joy from creating something, then more power to them.
The only downside is this inadvertent expectation that everyone’s BuJo needs to be that awesome, that beautiful, or that creative.
It doesn’t. Heck, I’m guessing that most people’s bullet journals aren’t. For every beautiful spread that makes it to Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are probably a thousand – that look like mine:
- Smeared ink (I’m left-handed, and there is always smeared ink. Always).
- Crossed-out words.
- Riots of accidental color and mismatched priorities.
- Pages crammed with so many to-dos that you feel like they’re going to collapse upon themselves.
- Crooked lines because I counted wrong when laying out my weekly grid or habit tracker.
- Messed-up doodles meant to amuse an audience of one.
On any given week, I mess up something. And that’s ok because, for me, the bullet journal is about being mindful. It’s about reflecting on the day, keeping track of what’s important, and planning for the future. It’s a messy process, which is perfectly fitting because my life is messy too.
So go ahead, open that perfect journal. Write on that perfectly blank page. And make as big a mess as you want.