Have we all recovered from the festive season and moved smoooooothly into 2015? Yuh-huh. Have we all survived the various array of pestilence and grot and general lurgy that fells even the strongest of us at this damp and chilly time of year? You can tell I'm British.... HAVE to comment on the weather - it's, like, the LAW or something.
I've managed to do a bit of blog-surfing and a little Youtube-ing and I see that everyone's making resolutions and choosing words and quotes for the year. I admit that I'm not awesome at either of those, but I can see how it has provided a useful anchor for so many so I thought I'd give it a try.
My word for the year is: STRENGTH. Because I know what I will have to deal with this year I know I'm going to have to be stronger than I feel right now, so choosing this word is something that I hope will provide a positive reinforcement, mentally, emotionally and even physically. It's a very "earth" word, although my life element is water, but I feel that a more grounded approach to the year would provide additional advantage. Kinda. I'm still a mermaid. That's not changin'. I'll just have a nice big rocky rock of rockness to hold onto when the waters get too swirly!
My quote for the year is by the epic and awesome writer, Neil Gaiman:
"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
...which brings me to the subject of journaling (no, really - there IS a nifty segue) as I chose to open my new journal with a li'l sketch and this quote, which I find quite inspiring and which reminds me of something my mum wrote for me when I was a LOT younger. My journal is actually a GORGEOUS notebook from www.paperblanks.com, which I found in a drawer at mum's house. It has lovely off-white paper which takes ink really well, and brightly coloured, embossed cover with stunning metallic tints.
The artwork is entitled "Soul & Tears" by Laurel Birch from California. The quote that accompanies the art is "The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears". It's a beautiful book and I love it. I'd highly recommend this range of journals - they're not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but they're so incredibly lovely and well made that they are worth treating yourself.
This is my li'l front page sketch:
...and this is me doodling my quote. I changed one word - "good" books instead of "fine" books - just because it reminded me of one of the silly 'in-joke' type comments I had with mum. Too long to explain so don't worry!
I'm happy to have a new - and small - journal. I LIKE the size (roughly A6) as it's so comfortable to hold and easy to fill a page. Journal keeping seems to be growing more and more popular, which is wonderful! I know that a lot of people want to start journaling but aren't sure where to begin. It's such a personal thing so it's not really possible or relevant to have rules and guidelines, but some suggestions may be helpful so I thought I'd post a bit more about why I journal and how I go about it. I'm going to split the post into two sections as there's a lot to ramble about and I don't want you losing the will to live halfway through! With that in mind....
Why I journal - Part One:I wonder whether the reason that we often find journaling a bit weird or uncomfortable is because we're not FEELING the journaling vibe. I know, I know, it sounds obvious, but we all read blogs and watch vids and Pinterest like mentalists and we see what so many beautiful and talented people are doing and it's so EASY - and NORMAL (yes) - to want to join in, with enthusiasm overriding focus. It's natural to want to emulate what we see and admire, and I think that can work REALLY well when it's about learning techniques for arts and crafts, expanding our awareness of the amazing array of coolness that's out there and when we need advice about materials and such. Journaling, however, includes a deeply personal component which is unique for each and every person and THAT'S what we all need to find within ourselves in order to feel at home with recording feelings and thoughts that might otherwise never be given a voice.
So if you're wanting to journal, you need to ask yourself a question to which only YOU can provide answer:
Q: Why do you want to keep a journal?
This is a fairly ambiguous toughie....but here are a few further - friendlier - questions and some thoughts that might help to pin things to your magical inspiration board -
Who will read your journal?
Will you share it with friends, bloggers, family?
Will it just be for you?
Sometimes the things we record are influenced by who may read our journals. If you have children, then journals which include your own memories as well as your daily experiences can be precious and a healing, happy heirloom. If you're the only person who'll see your journals, will you re-read them? How will you feel when you do? What can you include in them that will make your memories and your life jump off the pages with joy and love?
What do you want to record?
How do you want to record it?
I've recorded everything from family history to lists of DVDs and books. I've taken photos of my collections and shelves in my homes so that I can look back and see how my tastes have changed, and now that so many things have gone, I have them there as a memory prompt. I've recorded meals, shopping trips, visits to the cinema or theatre, conversations with friends, hassles with bills and money, shiny new craft supplies, my cat's ENTIRE life, weather, memories from my childhood, my moods, favourite songs, poems, art. I've written, drawn, painted, collaged, scrapped and smashed.
If you could look back into your past and put things into a book to keep forever, what would you choose? Why would you choose them?
Where would you LIKE to be in one year. three years, ten years?
What are your hopes and dreams?
What do you want to leave behind?
Journals are a progressive thing. When you look back at them you can see how you've accomplished and achieved, overcome losses, defeated your demons, survived the dark days, celebrated the bright times. You can follow your loved ones through your own thoughts and records of conversations with them. What did they wear? What did they say? How did you celebrate birthdays? Your writing style will change - as will your art! Watch your own development and be amazed by your own kick-ass self!
Will you record happy moments?
Will you record sad things?
Will you record your personal triumphs, no matter whether they be large or small?
Will you use words?
Will you use Art? Or both?
Your answers to all these questions will be different to mine and to everyone else's and that's how it SHOULD be. Take influence for styles, ideas and techniques, but your reasons are your own and once you find them you'll find that your journaling will flow freely.
Choose a book, a pad, a piece of paper....a pen, a pencil, paint or a photograph....a word, a quote, a song lyric, a list or a wish, and begin your journey. If you want some company, look online or in your local area for like-minded people. Involve family if you like, or keep it just for you. You could visit The Documented Life Project and jump in with both feet - there are people there who are just starting and people who've journaled all their lives. There are useful posts on sites everywhere - you can find an interesting one HERE - or take the opportunity to join in blog hops like the GROW YOUR BLOG party and take inspiration from other peoples' creative adventures.
Be brave. If you really find that journaling's not for you then you can just move on to something that better fits your unique skill set and celebrate your creativity in a different and equally spectacular way! No worries! Glow proudly knowing that you are fearless and are unafraid to try.
Ok - I think we've all had just about all we can take for one day! I'll post again this weekend with the second bit which will be a look into my own art journaling, notes on finding the right book, and some ideas and prompts that might help you move into your own journaling. I hope this has been useful and not just a lot of old flannel from my squiggly brain.
Thank you for your visityness - you know I love you and appreciate you finding time in your hectic life to visit me in my weeny corner of the interweb! Here - have a MASSIVE hug from me! See you soon - Shroo :) xxx