Thursday, August 16, 2012

Journaling: Tips and Tricks 1

This is the first of an ongoing series on jounraling, because I like it and I want to share it with others.

Tip 1: Find A Book You Like

I can't stress this enough. Seriously. Some people can write on anything, but for most people, just to get started, you have to really like what you're writing on. I'd bet you haven't really thought about it--I never did for a long time--but take a moment now:

  • Do you like the paper you're writing on? Is it smooth enough? Is it thick enough? Are the lines spaced the way you like?
  • Do you like the size? Are you more likely to take it everywhere and keep coming back to it if it's smaller? Larger?
  • Does it have enough pages? Do you fill them up at a consistent enough speed that you know how many pages you need in a month?
  • Do you like the cost? If you're like me, and you fill them quickly, maybe you'd like to downgrade to something cheaper that you like just as much? If you're a slower-filler, maybe you could splurge on something more expensive that makes you feel special?
  • Is it just nice enough to make you want to write in it? Being overly pretty can make the books intimidating to some people--is not wanting to spoil such a pretty thing keeping you from writing?
  • Does it remind you of something nice, comforting or encouraging? If it reminds you too much of school work you didn't like doing--say, if you're using a spiral-bound notebook or something--maybe try switching it for a nicer notebook?
  • Do you have enough of them? See, the thing is, a person's "journal" is actually usually a collection of notebooks placed all over the house to catch ideas and stories and notes. It might also include online or computer-based journals and planners, blogs like this one, published articles and essays and stories, collaborative work, whatever. Do you have enough of the journaling parts you need in place to make it effective?
What notebooks or notebook analogues do you like the best? Personally, my favorite notebooks are those ones from Eco Greenroom that come in groups of three or five at Target, but the cost is too high. I use them for special things like conferences and residencies at school, and for the bulk of my everyday writing I use college-ruled composition books. I've always loved them, and these days you can get them in nice colors and patterns. And if you buy them around this time of year, you can hit the back-to-school discounts and stock up for months!
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