Journaling Thoughts (Part III) by @wondershins | #artstew52 creative challenge prompt, bullet journal layout

Field Notes: Journaling (Part III)

Three weeks of journaling in my belt and January is nearly over. When I began journaling at the start of this year, I imagined pages and pages stuffed full with writings and doodles, calendars and checklists. The elastic band that wound around my journal stretched taut, securing pages plump with all my thoughts contained within.

But it remains as it was when I first pulled back the cover, with the exception of several pages adorned in inky finery and a missing ribbon bookmark. My goal of journaling all of my ideas seems hesitant to take flight, and I continue to struggle with getting off the ground.

It is that elusive character called Time that has me stopped in my tracks, only a few steps past the starting line. I mentioned in my first Field Notes that my biggest challenge was finding time to journal. It was hours that I needed to sit cozily in a chair and let my pen scratch aimlessly across the pages. Minutes collected, stored, and bundled together that I so desired.

I thought perhaps I would have reined in this noncommittal beast by now, but alas, I am back, once again, to scrambling for a little more time here and there. Wondering when this would take off and permit me to soar across the fields of entrepreneurship.

But of course, I dramatize. My journal does not hold the rigidness of an unopened book, and if you’ve read my last Field Notes and the one before that, you’ll know that I did make a bit of progress that I can be quite proud of.

In fact, the entire point of journaling was focusing on important things and removing the things that will not propel me forward. I scraped layouts that wasted minutes of my day and experimented with methods that helped clear my mind. In that sense, I feel somewhat accomplished. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is a start.

I only wish the pages were filled with more writings and sketches. There were many times I would picture myself sitting in a cozy nook, journal open on the table in front of me, a hot cup of tea by my left hand, and my right hand scribbling across the pages like mad, freeing up the space in my head to welcome new thoughts and wonders.

Journaling Thoughts (Part III) by @wondershins | #artstew52 creative challenge prompt, bullet journal layout

If it weren’t for the Art Stew (a creative community that features a weekly creative prompt), I would have been even farther back than I am now.

Early this year, I had decided that art / bullet journaling would be my only medium that I would work with for the entire month of January. The purpose was to eliminate any time spent thinking about what to create. Everything was to be done in this one journal.

Having given myself this limitation, what I discovered was that I had to think outside of my normal illustration process and make something happen with what I had. Though I didn’t have any paints and paintbrushes to add color and whimsy to my creative ideas, applying the Art Stew prompts to a bullet journal layout pushed me to get creative every week. Journaling my sketches allowed me to get into the “sketching” mode that I have been working on for years – quick, flowing, and utterly imperfect illustrations that were somehow quite right.

Because of these Art Stew prompts, I was able to fill in more of these illustrated pages that I dreamed about. The photo above is for the prompt “Warm.” This was an organizational layout to help me house all of my ideas for topics until I finalize the illustration idea.

Bullet Journal Habit Tracker Layout by @wondershins

The prompt for last week inspired me to do a Habit Tracker layout, one of the only layouts that I continue to use to this day. The purpose of the Habit Tracker is fantastic, but what I love best is that I colored the backgrounds with markers! Markers have never been a medium I reach for; I get a little scared every time I use markers because I just don’t know how to properly use them.

My Moleskine journal refuses to take my medium of choice – watercolor – and I had actually discovered in the first couple of weeks that I pretty much detest using color pencils. Having successfully colored the backgrounds with marker (with minimal splotch and streakiness) made me feel pretty damn good. And I’ve got a good feeling I might attempt it again multiple times as I continue to journal!

Overall, even if majority of my art / bullet journal is not yet complete and I am having the most difficult of time to journal consistently, I am happy to come away with a few Lessons Learned, a New Medium Tried, and a fistful of Lightbulb Ideas. However, we shall wait a bit before I reveal those ideas! There will be time for that in the near future, but for now, the embers of my entrepreneurial fire have been stoked, and a final week of bullet journaling awaits!


I believe that finding successes in the little things can give you strength to continue on whatever journey you set out for. What is a little win you’ve encountered recently?


  1. “… quick, flowing, and utterly imperfect illustrations that were somehow quite right.”

    This is something I’ve been noticing for myself as well. Lately, I’ve been noticing that my quick pencil sketches tend to be so much more pleasing to my eye than when I try to go over them later with transparent marker paper and pen. My hypothesis is that they’re less inhibited- quick strokes – don’t think – just draw – quickly now. And then, when I try to make a clean-lined version, the magic diminishes. I love your words, “imperfect illustrations that were somehow quite right,” and look forward to practicing the art of sketching more and more until my hands know the way.

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