grid notebook showing first draft of this post on top planner and other notebook. a range of pens are laid out nearby.

it’s ok to be messy

It’s ok to be messy! You may not know what you’re writing until you begin to scribble through things. You may need to draw arrows and rearrange your thoughts. Crossing out items, adding new, these are all parts of the process. Unfortunately, the pervasiveness of the perfect notebook page culture on social media sings a different tune. It can cause you to think different and be hesitant to get words out of your head and onto a page.

I apologize, I rarely allow an unedited photo to appear on the internet. This is because my thoughts are often a mash of client or personal details that should remain private and things I don’t mind the world knowing.

My edits are often to mask that which I should not share, not hide my mistakes. I use correction tape because I often have so many cross-outs there is otherwise no other place to write! I need a new layer to work.

The planning grid was developed not to display a perfect grid online but because I twitch if I miscount grid spaces and create an unequal column. I was also bored redrawing the same layouts every few days, technology exists to reduce my burden so I used it.

The place I am the messiest is my favourite. It isn’t my planner or my log book. I stopped drafting essays in my log book because first drafts should be ephemeral. It’s difficult for me to give a pen enough time to write down my words. I scribble, I cross out, I draw big X’s through large sections that no longer work. I use whatever notebook is at hand. Yes this violates my principle of two books (log + planner) but it also helps me to make sure any first draft is temporary. My goal is to hasten it to the next stage without delay. I use a range of books, revitalizing the notebooks that I abandoned part-way years ago.

Why don’t I photograph these pages? I don’t know. Here’s the first draft of this post:

grid notebook showing first draft of this post on top planner and other notebook. a range of pens are laid out nearby.

What is the most important? Using a pen and prioritizing, evaluating, and negotiating with what I need to do. Life is messy. My pages reflect that. Yours should too.