My Top 5 Journaling Fails

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I assume everyone who’s tried journaling will have failed at some aspect of it. I’m no different. To make everyone feel better, I thought I’d share my top 5 journaling fails.

1. Trying to bullet journal like the pros

If you know anything about bullet journaling, you’ve seen the gorgeous spreads people design and post online. This was my entryway into bullet journaling, and I thought, “I could do that…?”, so I got out my Moleskine and made a mess of the first page. “Okay, I’ll just whiteout the wrong stuff”, I thought, and I did. But now I needed to write on top of the whiteout, and even after drying my pen just kept scratching it off.

So I made a new page. And I started collecting fliers and tickets and leaflets from all my local shops to paste into my journal and make it stunning. I bought Sakura Micron pens and doodled in the corners. I got a watercolour kit and ended up crinkling half my pages. I bought those mildliners with the pretty colours and practiced making cute headlines.

After a month or so I’d made a few sort-of good-enough spreads. But now I feared ruining my journal if I tried anything I didn’t know I would master… which was everything. Finally it got to the point where I couldn’t be bothered setting up the months anymore, because there was just too much pressure and all my creative energy was sapped. Either I could do it, but badly, or I could force myself to do it prettily but hating it the whole time. I chose neither and ended up stopping bullet journaling altogether.

PS: I’m not saying don’t try to bullet journal like the pros. I’m just recounting why this ultimately bombed face-first for someone as prone to feeling pressure as me.

2. That time I tried to hot-air dry PVA glue

I made an art page in my journal with a lot of glue. I had recently bought a heat gun. I thought these two factors would mix well. They did not.

3. Not journaling

This one isn’t so bad, really. Upon reflection I’ve realised that it’s absolutely fine not to journal consistently. The only time it’s been a problem is when the problem was really something else: Namely me avoiding my thoughts and experiences. That’s got nothing to do with journaling, and I’m now happy to see myself as a not-necessarily-daily journaler. All my expressions and reflections do not need to be through journaling.

Before I realised this, though, failing to journal when I thought I should was like failing to call that person I thought I should call. The guilt just kept building up until actually calling seemed like the worst thing in the entire universe. My journaling breaks would no doubt have been shorter if I weren’t putting all this pressure on myself.

4. Failing to date my entries

I have found so. many. journal entries I have no idea when was written. Sometimes younger me has left current me a helpful scrap, such as a mention of “22-year-old me”, but that’s rare and mostly I can only judge my age by the handwriting or the events I was writing about. Don’t do this, guys. It’s just annoying and makes it damn impossible to get any kind of chronological sense of yourself as a journaler.

5. Journaling everywhere

Kind of related to the mess of never dating my entries, I used to forget my journal at home a lot in my late teens and early twenties. My solution? I bought a new notebook and wrote in that. Needless to say, this is an absolutely dreadful practice. I have no idea where most of them are, and some of them only contain a handful of written pages – often not dated.

Sorry, younger me, but I’m just going to assume that none of this was particularly interesting to save myself the massive headache of sorting through it.

Do you have any journaling fails? Please share them below!

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