Many people, young and old, keep journals-artists, students, teachers, librarians, gardeners, farmers, athletes, politicians, scientists, writers, chefs, and many, many more.
A journal can be used to record every day events and topics that interest you. A journal may include daily entries that record news and events that are personal in nature. Some journals become similar to a diary and are private. The journal entries include personal experiences, thoughts, and dreams.
Some journal entries share thoughts, recordings, and reflections. Journals can keep favorite quotes, jokes or delicious recipes. A working journal can record observations and facts, such as crop, plant, and weather data.
Journals can be a written conversation for learning and growing in a double-entry journal. This type of journal is a way to share, read and respond while rotating the journal between two writers. For a writing workshop, a double-entry journal dialogue is shared between a teacher and a student.
Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci kept over forty notebooks? He wrote about his activities, and recorded plans for his engineering projects.
If Meriwether Lewis had not kept a journal while exploring across North America, we would not have a glimpse of his travels nor the geographical information recorded in his journal.
The beloved, world class diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, was written while Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II. Reading her remarkable child diary connects the reader to the horrors of the war.
Our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, kept a kind of diary. On little scraps of paper, he jotted down thoughts and sometimes referred to these notes during his speeches, as a powerful orator.
I am an educator who reads, writes, and creates. I have many journals that I created over the years. Journals support my writing journey.
Let’s make a journal.
1. A composition notebook
2. Four pieces of scrapbook paper 12 X 12 inches. Cut two pieces 12 X 8 inches for the outside front and back covers of the notebook. Cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 6 x 9 for the inside front and back covers of the notebook. Note: Be creative and mix and match pieces of scrapbook paper. Consider using gift wrap paper, construction paper, card stock, linen type paper or even craft paper. All work great.
3. Glue stick and hot glue gun
5. Ribbon, rick rack and/or twine
6. Embellishments, such as scrapbook letters and/or stickers, recycled greeting card cutouts, buttons, rhinestones, etc.
7. A Paper Folding Tool or Straight Wood Ruler [optional] I use a plastic kitchen bench scrape!
Using a glue stick, generously apply glue to notebook. Place one piece of paper to the front of the composition notebook. Repeat for the back. The scrapbook paper should line up next to the spine of the journal leaving the black binding of the note book exposed.
Line up the piece of scrapbook paper next to the black binding of the notebook on the front of the composition notebook. Repeat for the back of the notebook.
Repeat for the back of the notebook.
Use folding tool to make crisp folds. If you don’t have a a folding tool, press firmly with your fingers. Create mitered corners [triangle shapes] by folding the scrapbook paper inward. Do this for both the inside front cover and back covers.
Once four triangles are folded, use the glue stick to adhere the corners to the notebook.
Fold in three sides on the inside and back covers. Make crisp folds using a folding tool or finger presses. Glue and secure.
Use a generous amount of glue to attach the 6 X 9 pieces of paper to the inside front and back covers of the journal.
Open journal to the center seam. Using a glue gun attach two or three pieces of ribbon as shown in this photo. Tie a knot at the end of each. These are bookmarks.
Final step—Time to decorate the cover of your new journal.
Enjoy making and creating journals. Hope your new personalized journal provides you with many opportunities to write.
Have fun making journal creations for various writing events including an annual writing event, ReFoReMo hosted by Carrie Charley Brown and Kristi Call.
In general finding a balance in life can be a challenge. Adding creativity to days already filled from sun up to sunset can make life even more demanding. However, it doesn’t need to be.
Think about your priorities.
What is important to you? Consider your beliefs and value system.
I’m quite certain many would agree with me. My personal well-being and my family come first.
Everything and everybody else will receive time and attention after I care for me. Now, I am not selfish or needy. It doesn’t take much for me to be happy. I am thoughtful and giving. In order for me to give to others, I must make sure my basic needs are met. For me, this includes healthy food, a good night’s sleep, exercise, and precious time with loved ones. When these needs are met, I find I have more energy to give to others and more time to create, which includes writing and creating.
I am thankful for my husband and family who support and encourage my creativity. They recognize my desires to read, write, create, learn, and grow. It is reciprocal. We offer the same understanding and love to each other.
Respect your reality.
Finding time to fit everything in can be stressful. It doesn’t have to be.
The laundry and dishes are piling up. Press pause. The chores can wait.
Perhaps you have 15 minutes to spare. It’s not much time. However, you can use it wisely. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Write. Open a box of watercolors and begin painting. Read a picture book or two to your sweet littles.
Block out days and specific times on your calendar for your creative self. This is your time. Carve out chunks of time for you. When I read, write, and create I feel stress free. When I’m out and about riding bikes or walking the country roads on the Illinois Prairie, I use the time to recharge; even reflect and reimagine a current project. Planting more seeds in the garden also allows my active brain to slow down and enjoy nature all around.
I respect the fact that my reality exists. I choose to allow my personal life and and my need to create to exist together.
Gosh! I don’t have a desire to be popular. I do not need to be a friend to all who share, post, and tweet on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and so forth. Yes, I have these accounts.
There is no way to read and comment on all of these social media accounts. Again, it’s about prioritizing my time. There are many amazing bloggers, Facebook groups, interesting Instagram photos, and Twitter happenings and events that I don’t want to miss. I am selective. If I need to step back from an account that has become negative or perhaps zaps my creative energy, I move on.
I want to share my creative spirit with others and support their endeavors, too. Especially during a global pandemic when we are staying safe at home. When I can, and I do, I read, share, retweet, and comment to support my fellow creatives.
Read more thoughts from a GROG Blog post, July 2020.
I feel I am more productive and creative when I remember what my priorities are. Sure, there are days when I question why a particular day didn’t come together as I had planned or hoped. Perhaps I did not find the time to revise a manuscript, critique a writerly friend’s story, paint a bookmark, create and decorate a journal for a friend, go for a walk, or tend to the garden. I can’t do it all. I will not blame myself with guilt and negative thoughts.
In theory, if we all lived in a perfect world, where everything works out just right for creatives, would we truly be happier and more productive?
This is my reality. I accept that and continue to move forward, knowing tomorrow may come together better. These are my priorities. It’s what is important to me.
Mindy Alyse Weiss is hosting the 7th annual Picture Book Party Contest. Thirty favorite entries will be selected. From there many literary agents and editors will read a query letter and the first 60-70 words of a manuscript to make a selection.
Thank you Mindy Alyse Weiss and the dream team of judges for supporting the creatives in the kid lit world.
Read all about this Picture Book Party Contest on Mindy’s blog post.