Monday 19 January 2015

Why I Journal: Part 2- Your First Steps

Hello arty people of awesomeness!!

 It's MONDAY again!

How the heck are ye? I hope you're all well and not filled with winter grot or snowed in or something equally vile. Thank you squillions for your patience with my wonky brain and its "special" moments!

It's been a week of ups and downs but I'm back on an even keel, and actually, I think the last few days have been useful with regard to my journaling posts and arty stuff in general. Weird but true..... and I'll yatter on about may arty exploits more in my next post.

I think I'm going to continue the 'Why I Journal' posts for a little while as there's a LOT that I'd like to cover and I'd like to add some exercises in there which some of you might find useful. So, with that in mind, and without further ado, here we go -

Why I Journal: The Second Bit 

* Choosing your journal
* Have A Go At This (journaling exercise)

Choosing Your Journal: The First Step

This is something that seems to stress a lot of people to the point of giving up before they even begin, either ending up journal-less because they just can't choose, or otherwise living with a stack of blank books which present a daunting prospect and never see the light of day or the hint of a pen nib. We are all - ALL - so guilty of stuff envy. You know - wanting every possible arty option, every brand, every size, every colour, and at least six of each so we never run out. Yep. Been there. Done that. Just remember this one thing:

* Choose what makes YOU happy - this is YOUR time, YOUR hobby.

I'll write more about journal choices in the next post, but for now, if you're just stepping out...

  1. * Be practical. If you're going to carry a journal around with you, maybe best to choose something that fits easily into your bag and not a gargantuan tome that requires a forklift truck to lug about.
  2. * It's inevitable that you'll buy more stuff - but for now, look around your house and find something that will do for today....there's nothing to stop you picking up a notebook and journaling your search for your perfect journal! (for example, list brands, collect coupons for local stationery or art shops, useful websites). Get used to writing something - anything! It's good practise. The important thing is that you BEGIN.
  3. * Don't judge yourself by other people's choices. They chose their'll choose yours....and?
  4. * Try not to be intimidated by styles and techniques that you like but haven't tried yet. They key word is YET. There's no need to say "well, I'd LOVE to keep a journal, but I want to use art and I don't know how to paint. I can't paint therefore I can't journal. That's that." Nonsense. What CAN you do? Well, then do THAT for now while you enjoy learning new things. Journaling's about progression and allowing yourself to follow the path of your life changes and growing abilities. The only person judging you is you. Stop it, you dafty - you're FABULOUS!

* Have A Go At This *

Here are a couple of fun and easy exercises for you to have a go at - one's writey, one's arty. Pick one, or both and see where it takes you.

Writey exercise - 'A Letter To......'

It's often hard to write your feelings down if you're not used to it, and recording events can seem a little pointless so....

Imagine that you're writing a letter to a good friend or relative. It can be a long missive, or a short note. If you couldn't text or phone them, what would you write to them? Would you tell them a good joke? Write a recipe? Tell them you renewed an aquaintance or had a row or got a new job? Maybe you'd tell them about an awesome new purchase, or a film you've seen that you'd recommend and you'll tell them why.

Instead of writing in a book, pick up a nice piece of paper and actually write a letter. It can honestly be to anyone - they can be living or otherwise engaged in floaty amazingness in the afterlife. Write to fictional character! Harry Potter? Aslan? Gandalf? Sherlock Holmes? Write to your baby, who may not be able to read yet, or even speak, but may one day have the joy of reading the silly, funny, personal things that can be precious in later years. Write to your deity of choice. Write to the fairies, pixies or elves. Write to yourself in the future....or the past. It matters not who choose to write to - just write....anything, everything. You can even fold your letter and put it in an envelope (don't forget to include the date!) You can always add your letter into a book, or otherwise KEEP letter writing your days and your thoughts and tie them in bundles with pretty ribbons and keep them in a beautiful box surrounded by keepsakes and the ephemera of your life. What a GORGEOUS and personal keepsake for you and your loved ones!

Arty Exercise - 'My First Book'

This is a great idea for anyone who's never before used art in a journal exercise, BUT if you're used to adding art elements to your journaling process then you can upscale the concept to something more flashy that suits your level and skill set. For this blog post I'm going to assume that you, darling reader, are a lovely beginner.

To begin, choose between five and ten key words which represent and sum up the things you want to bring into your life in the coming year. They should be positive and happy words designed to encourage and support you. It's entirely up to you whether you relate them to artistic and creative endeavours, or whether you want to relate them to other aspects of your life. For the purposes of this exercise I've chosen the following: GROW, BECOME, FUN, CONFIDENCE, SHARE, LEARN, CREATE.

You're now going to make a little book - possibly your first, but I assure you that it's easier than making a sandwich so you'll be fine. Go grab a few sheets of paper and a pair of scissors. The number of pages you'll need depends on how many words you've chosen so to make it easier I'll just assume (again) that we've all chosen seven words. Just because.

Cut four pieces of paper (you'll need more if you've chosen more words) and then fold them in half so that they all fit inside each other to make the pages of a book, like this  -

Select a length of twine, cord or thin ribbon that's roughly three times the length of your page spine, place it inside the centre page against the spine, turn the book over and gently but firmly tie the fastening on the outside of the spine. Like this -

The ribbon in the picture's a little too wide, but I wanted it to show up - yours should be a lot narrower so that the pages all turn easily. Remember not to pull the fastening TOO tight or it'll tear the paper, ok?  So voila! your first easy peasy little book!

You can decorate your cover however you like. I've made a quick example and just glued down a pretty picture cut from a magazine -

This is an exercise to help you practise using an image to represent or highlight a word or concept. 
This doesn't have to be difficult. Look at the words you've chosen. You're going to journal them into your book with complemantary images using basic collage techniques. You can find more pictures from magazines OR you can make your own simple shapes instead. For example, if you want to represent "LOVE", you could cut out a picture of a happy couple, a mother and child....a cake! OR you can paint and cut out a lovely heart shape and flex your arty muscles even more! It's up to you whether you use just one technique, or opt to mix the two. Now write your words out clearly onto paper and cut each one out so that you have a little pile of seven words and another one of seven images.

Open up your book and glue your matching images and words onto the right hand pages of your book. Find a way to overlap the two that pleases you. See how easy collage can be?  You can add some doodles or borders - whatever makes you happy. On the blank pages opposite your image, write a sentence that sums up a relevant GOAL that you want to achieve. Here are the pages I finished so that you can see what I mean -

This little example book is really simple and basic so you can't use the excuse "Oh, that's out of my comfort zone". Honestly. Of course, if you want to make yours AWESOME, please feel free!

The aim of the exercise is that you COMPLETE a project with confidence.  SO many of us put off starting a new hobby because it seems daunting, but this won't take you long at all, uses only the things you already have around you, and should be a bit of fun! You can involve a friend, or do a similar project with your kids, as long as at the end of it you have a little completed book to remind you that you CAN take that first step.
So now you have a couple of ideas to get you started on your journaling journey. I hope they're helpful. I'll update you on my own art progress in the next post and give you some more journaling exercises as well.

If you're a fellow blogger please consider taking a bijou peek-ette at the fabulous "GROW YOUR BLOG PARTY" hosted by Vicky at "2 Bags Full".  It takes place on 25th January and encourages participants to visit hundreds of arty crafty blogs, follow the ones you like, and encourage more lovely, gorgeous followers of your own.

For now, here're some doodles from my diary - thank you for visiting, for your patience and your support! HUGE SPARKLY HUGS from Shroo :) xxx


  1. I just found you through Kathy..Sorry, I don't want to lose this page to go back and find her last name for you. Thank you for the recent posts about why you journal. I have a lot to digest after reading your posts. Your's is a most inspirational blog.

  2. Hi - thank you for visiting and for your lovely comment, which is muchly appreciated :) I'm REALLY glad you found these posts useful - honestly sometimes I just worry that I'm randomly rambling! I'll be keeping up with them for a while so it would be great to see you again. I'm off to visit your blog and say hi! Hugs from Shroo :)xx

  3. For some reason I feel like you are talking to me in this post! Some brilliant tips here and I am going to try out the exercises. There is so much happening at the moment it would be good to look back in a few years and see a record of how I felt.

    Fabulous post stuffed to the brim with inspiration... and an octocow! What more could we want :D

    1. Might be, missus! How you doin? You been journaling? Hope the exercises help, cos there'll be more next week once I regain my word-face-brain-thinky, which is being useless at the moment! Greeting from the magnificent octo-cow! xxx