Journaling Thoughts (Part I) by @wondershins

Field Notes: Journaling (Part I)

As mentioned in my last post, First Things First, I took on bullet journaling as a way to prioritize and organize. A way to nudge little bits and pieces together in hopes of building Wondershins as a business.

I want to share my results with you weekly, so that you can have a better peek into my creative processes. My blog hasn’t seen as much use as I would have liked last year, so another one of my goals this year is to blog more and consistently.

Now the thing is I want this bullet journal to be my ONE notebook. I have a huge problem with collecting a whole bunch of notebooks, writing in them for a few pages, and then forgetting about them. That’s because I always think that a particular notebook would hold this kind of writing or information, or that specific journal would be dedicated to ideas only. It was a mess, really, and I never got into the habit of journaling.

The reason why I want to journal more is because I have so many ideas jumping around in my head, I want to release them onto paper before I develop them further when I have time. A lot of my ideas come as random thoughts or even pictures, so I want to be able to use this notebook to write, doodle, and organize my tasks. That’s why I’m calling this more of an art / bullet journal.

I began my journaling several days before the start of January, so it has been a little more than a week since I ventured off on this new medium. Here are my findings for the week:

IT IS SO AWESOME!

I am having so much fun journaling right now, I cannot believe I did not start this earlier! One of the important things I was trying to do was not focus on perfection and to dive right in. That’s the point of the Index – to have a reference point and keep track of all the pages, so it doesn’t matter if all the calendars are in the same section or not. I started doodling basic, simple layouts, not worrying about perfection, and it is so relaxing. Who would have thought that drawing grids and lines with ink could be so enjoyable and calming?

Another great thing about this is that you can always pick up wherever you left off. Draw a calendar layout one day, then add some doodles the next day. You can keep building upon something, which is what I am striving for – a journal so packed with illustrations and words, there is barely any negative space to fall into.

Journaling allows me to be creative for short bursts of time without the need to do a finished piece of artwork. In other words, the pressure’s off. I recently received a bit of amazing advice from Richelle of Red Scorpio – she said that whenever she doesn’t have much time to be creative, doodling her To Do List works just as well. And I must say, she is so right. You can be creative while being organized!

MATERIALS MATTER

My sister had bought me a beautiful, black Moleskine (I believe it is the large Volant edition with blank pages) a couple years ago as a birthday present, and it was perfect for my journaling needs.

PROS: The size is big enough to accommodate different doodles but also small enough to fit in my cardigan pocket. The cover is flexible and just a pleasure to carry around, and it opens pretty flat as well. There is a pocket in the back to tuck in any stray papers and treasures. The off-white color of the pages is also very easy on the eyes.

CONS: The paper is a lot thinner than I would have liked. The shadows of my ink markings can be seen on the other side of the page. I use Uni and Micron pens, and they don’t normally go through pages, but they do show through on this Moleskine. That’s not a big issue if you can still read what you have written clearly.

So keep in mind when choosing your notebook what media you plan to use, and make sure the paper fits that media. I am considering trying out watercolor paper next; if you have any notebook recommendations, please let me know in the comments!

Because I also want this to be an art journal, it would be very handy to have some washi tape and a glue stick on hand to decorate and collage. But for now, the only tools I have with me on hand at all times is a ruler (I love my 6-inch plastic C-Thru grid ruler), a mechanical pencil, a gum eraser, and a variety of ink pens. That’s it!

Journaling Thoughts (Part I) by @wondershins

OHHH, INSTAGRAM!

Okay, this one is a bit silly, but it is totally valid if you’re one of those Instagrammers who have a certain aesthetic to adhere to! I want to post photos of my journal spreads on my Instagram, so I had to make sure they looked nice for my photo shoots.

The thin paper made this a little difficult, because I couldn’t start drawing or writing on the other side of the page, lest they show up on the page I am photographing. As of right now, my journal spreads have blank pages on the back, which I plan on filling in after I take the photos.

Not only is the paper an issue when it comes to taking photos of my layouts, but also…I couldn’t start filling in the spreads, because I had to wait to take photos of them! (And that meant I had to find the right background, props, and lighting.) Of course, if you want to fill it in before photographing, like lots of people do, then there is less of a concern for this. As for me, I knew I would be making more mistakes, and I didn’t really want all my personal notes and To-Do’s publicized, so I only photograph the layouts.

There is an easy solution for this, though, which is this:

COMPLETE SPREADS AHEAD OF TIME

Another good thing about having the layouts / spreads done ahead of time is that it makes it easy for me to do what I set out to do – get organized. I had previously done the monthly calendar spread, the week by hour spread, and the weekly goals. When January 1st rolled around, I took up my pen and started filling in what I needed to do for the week and what I planned for the month.

There were some other spreads I didn’t finish on time, such as my Habit Tracker, Art Stew Challenge Prompts, and Meal Planner. Since I was starting these in the beginning of January, it would have been great to have them ready to go, so I could get organized in both of those categories as well.

Of course, elaborate layouts are not necessary. I can easily do a rough grid and call it a day, but I know that if I spent more time to make it look nice, I would feel more inspired to write in my journal.

FIND TIME TO JOURNAL

This is ultimately the biggest and most crucial finding for me this week. You can have the right notebook, the proper materials and tools on hand, and the most beautiful layouts, but if you don’t have the time to journal, you’ll never get all your ideas on paper.

My New Year’s weekend getaway was such a lovely time to journal. Every morning, I would walk down to the hotel dining room to enjoy a complimentary breakfast while I journaled. It made me think, “This is so doable.” When I got back to the work schedule after my vacation, I spent a few days not touching my Moleskine at all. It was tossed aside in my closet, because I was too busy to pick it up and get organized.

I’m still trying to find the most opportune time to journal, but I now know that having a set time is imperative to journaling. I like the idea of journaling while breakfasting, so I’m going to give that a try. Or even doing it in the evening before bed, so I know beforehand what tasks I must tackle for the coming day.

Another week of journaling approaches, so we shall see what my new findings are next week!


PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS:

It would be incredible to get into the habit of journaling when something comes to mind, but until then, I’m thinking that a set time to journal will help get me into the habit. Do you have a set time to journal? If so, what time do you find works best for you?

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