Wreck This Journal: Keep Trying


Some pages in Wreck This Journal come together very easily, while others are extremely challenging. Then, there are the pages that qualify as epic failures.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way.  These failures might be better classified as learning moments or works in progress because I can look back on them and say, “Hey, I tried.”  I don’t like to fail, but I’ve always believed that trying matters.

The perfectionist in me hates to see an unfinished page or a botched concept, but they do have value in that mistakes are the first step to learning.  Without epic failures there would be no reason to push forward and try something different.  After all, Wreck This Journal is all about discovering a new viewpoint and daring to approach life with reckless curiosity.  Or at the very least, its about learning to have a really good sense of humor about myself.  It’s not a new idea, but it’s definitely one worth embracing.  As the saying goes: Those who can laugh at themselves shall never cease to be amused.  With this spirit in mind, I’ve selected a few pages in my journal that are constant sources of amusement as they represent some of my stellar “What was I thinking?” moments.

Towards the back of Wreck This Journal there is a page that gives instructions to doodle on the front cover.  I’m not much of a random doodler, so this was a bit of a challenge to begin with and things only got worse the more I tried to make it happen.  I thought it might be fun to use a metallic silver gel pen, so I made a little border around the edge with dots and squiggles.  It looked pretty good until I found out the ink smudged if anything touched it!  No matter how long I let it dry, the ink refused to stick!  Even after two days I was able to wash it off with a sponge.  Back to square one!

For my second attempt, I whipped out the paint pens and made polka dots from top to bottom.  After they dried and didn’t smear, I thought it might be fun to add glitter glue over the top of some of the dots.  For more than an hour I squeezed red, blue, green, gold, and silver glitter onto various polka dots.  It look so cute and sparkly when it dried!  Too bad they all popped off as soon as I opened the journal.


There’s also the little problem that I can’t bring myself to bend the cover to cause damage.  The cover is still a work in progress and perhaps one day I’ll overcome the roadblocks that stand in the way of doodling success.

On another page, I was supposed to draw an endless line.  I easily accomplished this, but when I decided to decorate my line, things went horribly awry.  For some reason, I thought adding a spiral would make it more interesting, but it only made the special effects in 1960s time travel movies look more realistic.  I credit poor color choice and failure to think things through for the ruin of this page.

I failed utterly and completely on another page in that I didn’t follow directions and my design ideas totally backfired.  The directions asked me to connect the dots with my eyes closed and I did all the way until I peeked.  Then, I got the brilliant idea to fill the page with large circles and color them with two colors that do not compliment one another.  I learned two things: 1) I can’t draw circles without a little help. 2) Coloring large circles with yellow and green makes them look like Mountain Dew bubbles under a microscope.

With each failure, I was reminded of the choice that exists when something goes wrong.  I can beat myself up and pout OR I can pick myself up and learn from the mistake.  Whether its an academic, professional, creative, or personal mistake, I must keep trying.  This especially applies to writing, a realm where I’m bound to make a slew of mistakes.  Everything from spelling, grammar, descriptions, poor first/last lines, format, sentence structure, syntax, etc. includes a mistake waiting to happen.  The list is endless and every mistake will be glaringly obvious and pointed out to me.  Am I going to sit and pout?  No.  I am going to keep trying.

(I might laugh a little, too.)

– – –

For previous Wreck This Journal entries, please see my sidebar and tag cloud.

c.b. 2012


33 thoughts on “Wreck This Journal: Keep Trying

  1. As far as disasters go, C.B., they’re beautiful. Thanks for sharing, it’s not easy to celebrate weaknesses and acknowledge them but it’s vital if you want to accept them and let them go.

    It sounds like your journal has been more cathartic than you expected.


    • Thank you. 🙂 I bought this journal because I like creative things, but you are so right that I never expected it to be such a cathartic experience. I’ve learned so much from this and I’m anxious to see what else is in store. The failures are just as meaningful as the successes.


  2. You KNOW how I feel about your journals…and, I hope, about your writing as well. Not sure that I’m totally with you on the value of failing–would much prefer an escalating series of minor successes, one building on the last–but love that you’re willing to face the idea head-on. And I hope, for the sake of everybody who reads, that you hit your triple for the day.


    • I do on both fronts and I can’t thank you enough for being such a wonderful friend on this journey. 🙂

      I think my profession is what colors my definition of failure. I don’t see it as something to be afraid of or something that necessarily bad. It’s how we learn! And you are so right that they are each minor successes, even when they don’t feel like it. 🙂


  3. oh well, I had to laugh, because your disasters are how each page of this would be if I was doing it. It’s good to laugh at our mistakes, our screw-ups, our “what was I thinking?” Laugher is the grease of life, methinks.


  4. I like the Mountain Dew bubbles! I think I peeked too when I hit that grove between the pages. Note to self: If this ever comes up again use a blindfold or just don’t worry about it.


  5. Sharla

    I had never heard of this journal before reading your post, and I’ve got to say, I LOVE the idea of it! I just purchased mine on Amazon, and I can’t wait to get it!! Thanks for sharing your pages.

    I don’t think anything you’ve done can be considered “failures” …

    To me, the definition of art is creating something truly unique, something that embodies your feelings/emotions/desires/whatever at the time of creation, and somehow displays them to another. And you’ve done just that. Well done, CB, well done!


    • Cool beans! You’re going to have so much fun wrecking those pages! 🙂

      I think I classify them as failures because they didn’t turn out they way I thought they would. It just goes to show the concept of failure is quite relative. My failure is only in my own head.

      I love your definition of art! 🙂

      Thanks for reading!!!


  6. You are very brave to post something that feels like a failure to you. But what we do is a failure only if we label it as one. I’ll really blow playing a tune a tune and think it was awful, and someone will tell me how lovely it was and how much they liked it. They don’t know what I THOUGHT it was going to sound like, so they are happy with what it ACTUALLY did sound like. I don’t know what you thought your pages would look like. I think they are pretty darn interesting and speak to your spirit of adventure in doing them.
    But boy, I’m with you on the cover frustration. I really hate it when stuff I try to stick on covers won’t stay there!!! It’s glitter- GLUE for gosh sake. I want to shout, “So glue the glitter, already!” to the manufacturer.


    • I think what you’ve explained is something every artist (no matter the medium) struggles with. Its funny how we let our own perspective cloud what’s literally right under our noses!

      You’re totally right about the glitter. I believe I said something very similar when the so-called “glue” didn’t stick! Grrrrrr!


  7. Lissa Masters

    Thanks for sharing and I agree that the “mistakes” are all part of the process of learning. As it is here… they can be
    meaningful experiences that many relate to.


    • After I posted this, I jumped right into my journal and started making a mess and a mistakes. It felt great, because I know it will mean something down the line . . . just like these pages. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!


  8. This journal may not work for a lot of people, but for you it’s a perfect fit. The title is “Wreck this Journal”. For a lot of people, that would be a piece of cake, me for instance. You create so many beautiful things though, even though it says “wreck it”, I can sense your inner self trying to beautify it. I’ve followed this from the beginning, and I must say, you’ve been wrecking it beautifully. 😉

    I can see how this has helped set you free in a lot of areas, and driven you nuts in others. 🙂 Your “mistakes” are as beautiful as your successes. I can see you having trouble with the doodling,because doodling is basically mindless drawing with no end in mind, and you wanted your doodles to be pretty. Random isn’t always pretty, just ask a Pirate. 🙂

    I can’t thank you enough for opening your adventures with this book to your fans. I think the book was well worth the investment in purchase price and second thoughts.


  9. Jen

    It’s so funny reading this. I am holding back from saying: “It’s OK, you’re not suppose to be perfecting every page.” And then I hear myself and think: I’d be the EXACT same way about it! We do just keep working at it, though, don’t we? Pass, Fail, Succeed – we keep trying. Good for you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.