Back in June of 2011, I had typed up a post about journaling for Pentel’s blog. It was posted on Pentel’s old blog and can be found HERE.
I think it is a relevant topic and since I’ve found myself in a journaling rut, I’m reposting it here with hopes of reigniting my journal spark. Enjoy and be well.
Keeping a journal can be a very rewarding experience. Many people get hung up on expectations and perceived boundaries. They feel a journal should be a specific type of thing, containing mandatory elements. With such limitations, a journal often sits abandoned on a shelf and collects dust rather than achieves its full potential by becoming an extension of its owner.
Don’t feel restricted by materials. If you feel like gathering random bits of junk mail, punching holes and adding a binder ring, go for it. For some, a five-year leather bound expensive journal and a fancy fountain pen is the answer. For others, a fifty-cent special composition notebook from the back-to-school sale is perfect. Digital journals are also a possibility. Don’t feel you have to live up to anyone else’s standards. Journaling is individual and should match your needs and personality. Since there are no rules for your journal, you can do whatever feels right. Change things up and play around. Heck if you want four journals going at one time, by all means give yourself permission. Dating pages might be helpful but it isn’t mandatory, nothing is. Toss every rule and regulation out the window. By ridding yourself of all preconceived restrictions, you will be able to get to the heart of what journaling is truly about – YOU.
Colorful pens, crayons, markers, paints, etc. can be great tools to help you loosen up and let go of your inhibitions. The content of your journal can be as unique as your imagination. Glue in bits of ephemera from your days, document your life hour-by-hour, record dreams, keep lists, draw doodles, and scribble song lyrics. A journal can help you vent frustrations, work out problems, make difficult decisions, expand on new ideas, refocus your energy, keep track of events and act as a stand in for your best friend. It can contain any combination of writing, drawing, scribbling, or coloring. The important thing is to give yourself an outlet.
“But I can’t draw.” Tie this excuse up, cover its loud mouth with tape and send it to sleep with the fishes. Don’t pressure yourself with hopes of a final masterpiece. The process is key. Draw basic shapes or stick people and enjoy yourself. Doodle a border of daisies around your page, color them and have some fun. Journals don’t pass judgment. If you don’t feel comfortable creating your own designs, print out coloring pages. Grab your crayons, markers, highlighters or colored pens and then glue the results in your journal. Some days you may just want to collect bits of inspiration by pasting pieces of magazines or catalogs in your journal. Remember, anything goes.
I am no stranger to struggling with keeping a journal. I found writing every day wasn’t a good fit. By allowing myself to explore possibilities outside the “Dear Diary” realm, I’m now more eager to journal. I’m open to experimentation and have tried a lot of different approaches. I’ve collected bits of my day and glued them on a page. I didn’t write one word but the mementos act as a reminder of that day. I’ve depicted an entire day with doodles. Some days my journal entry only includes words, filling multiple pages. Other days lack a single complete sentence. I find stream of consciousness writing helpful when “writer’s block” strikes and doodling patterns is helpful if I can’t think of anything to draw. Some pages inspire me to share them online or with friends but I’ve also created pages that will never see the light of day again.
I feel that the sky is the limit since I’ve left all the rules behind. Sure, some pages might fit better in a sketchbook or planner but they are all important parts of my journal. There is a great deal to gain; I hope this inspires you to adventure into the world of journaling.
I’ve often found that creating and breaking habits can only be done by consciously forcing myself to commit to it. Makes sense, right? This new quest to recreate my artistic self is no different. Here are the second and third full pages in my sketchbook.
I intend to do more. Intentions are sometimes better than dreams. Dreams can feel so far away some days. I need make myself see the steps up to the heavens. Each little cloud can carry me higher. Pretty soon the stars will be within reach.
It isn’t hard to gather pens or paper. I have plenty of both. My problem is filling the page with something worth while. I prejudge and convince myself that anything I am about to do isn’t worth it and I stop before I even start. Today I set out to break this bad habit. I have no excuse for so many empty sketchbooks and blank pages.
I hope to do this more regularly. If I fill a page, it has to be worth it. If someone doesn’t like the final product, what does that matter to me? How will I ever live my life as a true artist if I never create. I’m hoping to rediscover my creative self. Today might be the start.
I’ve been trying to put pen to paper every day even if it’s silly or incomplete. I didn’t fill a page today. It’s incomplete. My weekend feels incomplete too. Something isn’t right but I can’t put my finger on it. I’m trying to realign so I can start my week off on a more positive vibe. I’m not sure I’ll manage before heading to bed. I’m running out of time but I am trying.
I can’t be the only one who falls into strange ruts. I have the urge to create quite often but then nothing happens. Sometimes I gather all my supplies around me and then I end up just sitting. Nothing happens. Some days I put pen to paper and nothing falls out other than just a dot or squiggle. Lately this rut has gotten deeper and more daunting. I feel like Alice falling into a rabbit hole; I’m disoriented and lost.
Sunday I decided that I was going to create SOMETHING. I grabbed my Pentel markers and pencils, Micron pens, Lyra pencils, Derwent tins, etc. I cleared off a space on my art table and sat. I sipped water and stared at my blank sketchbook page. It frustrated me how complicated it all felt. I grabbed a marker… pink. I drew a flower shape and colored it in. That’s a basic standby shape, right? Then I grabbed a blue marker and drew another flower. I added some colored pencil to create some depth. I penned in some other shapes. I added more color. In the end I had this finished piece before me.
Sure it isn’t very big and it isn’t anything really special, but I did it in one sitting. I finished something. It is bright and pleasing to my eye. It is not a failure by any means. I need to force myself to sit and make marks until it comes naturally again. I miss losing myself in a piece… which finally happened again on Sunday. It was divine. I want my creativity to bloom and flourish and I want to share it with you.