Should You Make A Mistake In Your Journal?

When you make a mistake it can be really frustrating.

Having something you really care about, that you use over a long period of time, get screwed up.

It can be as simple as you smearing some ink, or even accidentally ripping your journals binding.

Especially when you start getting artistic with it, and that pretty spread is all of the sudden marred by a misplaced speck of ink.

You know what a really fun concept is though?

Failing Faster

This is a concept typically used in project development, especially in the realm of software and games. The idea is very simple:

The further along in development a mistake is made, the more expensive it is to fix it.

The key take away here is understanding that creatives and project developers aim to make mistakes as soon as possible.

In short, they become good at making mistakes. But even more important, they become really good at learning from them.

I have a friend who really enjoys watercolor, reason being that she sees mistakes in a different light than most people I know.

She says that watercolor is a very difficult medium because it’s very unforgiving, that when you make a mistake there is no covering it up, all you can do is work with it.

She compares it to life, and sees life as a single canvas you are always painting on, but can never swap out or replace.

We’re going to make mistakes anyways, how can we make them our friends?

Making Mistakes Eloquently

Making mistakes well is a learned skill, and one that can be safely practiced in a journal.

Let’s take a moment however to define what a mistake is, which I’ll simply pull from Google.

mis·take/məˈstāk/noun

  1. an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong. “coming here was a mistake”

This definition is direct enough, but we can do better!

This definition implies that if something is “misguided”, then something can be “guided”. But how do you guide something?

It’s simple, you have to have something to guide yourself to.

You have to become absolutely clear about the result you’re looking for. Then you decide whether the action is helping you achieve that result… or not.

If you’re not clear about what your result is everything is a mistake. You don’t have any guidelines or criteria to check your actions against!

If you haven’t already, dedicate a page in your journal to writing about what you want from it.

Once decided, every day you can evaluate your actions in your journal and decide whether or not what you’ve done correlates with what you want from it.

You can track this using a daily prompt such as what I learned today.

So next time you mar your journal, make sure to ask yourself this simple question: Does this “mistake” really affect what I want to get out of my journal?

If not, you can rest easy knowing that you did not lose progress that day.

That does it for today’s post, if you haven’t already be sure to check out the prompt database for new and interesting prompts to check out.

Don’t let your mistakes hold you back, there’s a world of value you can bring not only in spite of, but because of those mistakes.

Take care!

-Devon

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