How I Journal

I’ve had a journal off and on for years. Blame Harriet the Spy then, later, Bridget Jones’s diary. There’s just something very therapeutic about recording what happened each day. Getting it all out on paper so it doesn’t cloud my head the next day. Also, I have a horrible memory for what happened in the past and writing it down is about the only way I have of going back and jogging my memory.

I’d been looking for a good journaling format since I first got my MTN last summer. I played around with bulleted lists or attempting to doodle-record my day but nothing seemed right. Then I came across this post on LifeHacker about a simple format for journaling.

I used the literal format the author described for a little while and enjoyed it. Lots of structure, different ways of looking at your day. It’s now evolved a little.

How I Journal Now

  • Where: Right now, it’s in my graph paper MTN insert. May move to a lined insert as it works for my format.
  • When: Usually the next day, after breakfast but before the day really gets going. Weekdays, it’s at my desk at work. Weekends, usually during nap time.
  • What I record:
    • Weather: Cold? Hot? Rain? Snow? Wind? Record it so I can go back to see if it really was as chilly in February as I remember or if I was freezing only┬áin retrospect.
    • What I Wore: Yes, I am shallow, but I’m writing it down to help when I do purges of my closet. Something never show up? Toss it. Something show up all the time? Tells me to look into buying something similar to it in the future.
    • What happened: Main part of my daily pages. Detailed list of what I did or generally went on around me during the day. Short sentences, maybe a bit of reflection.
    • Accomplished: What I managed to get done, even if it’s as little as “did a load of laundry!”
    • Learned: What I learned about myself or the world that day. Main place to record news (e.g. Friend A is having a baby boy!)
    • Thankful: Specific things I’m thankful for that day
    • Impression: Got the idea from here. Basically, a little square representing each day in a month/quarter (whatever fits on a page). Each color rates the day, overall as great/ok/bad.

Do you journal? What format, if any do you use? Is it all words or images or both? When do you journal?

Move over Moleskine – Welcome, Midori

I used to be obsessed with the Moleskine line of notebooks. Ten years ago, I was spending my first summer in California and learned of the simple notebooks with a ribbon bookmark and high quality paper. They only came in a few basic types then – lined, blank, blank thicker paper, and grid/graph paper in one of two sizes and a standard opening or reporter-style that flipped open along the short edge. Of course, they’ve now expanded into all sorts of sizes and paper options and even have their own bags and pens. Basically, they’ve sold out.

I wasn’t looking to give them up, however. I regularly use other notebooks, mostly cheaper ones that didn’t intimidate me as much as my Moleskines did. The ‘skines were pretty and expensive and had a great history that they give you in the little print out tucked into the back cover. The sort of notebook that is just begging for art and excellent writing and everything I thought I wasn’t capable of producing on an average day. In short, I was intimidated by them. I buy a new one and spend weeks or months carrying it around, rarely actually using it. Just this morning, I found four of them among my things in my office, mostly empty.

But then I found Midori. These are more expensive notebooks, with even higher quality paper. They’re still handmade, even. And, yet, somehow, I don’t have that same intimidation factor. Maybe it’s becuase they’re not that old – only haven gotten started in the last 5 years. Maybe it’s because they aren’t that popular. Maybe because they are refillable rather than leaving the user stuck with the default paper type and 200 or so pages.

Whatever convinced me, I am very happy.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I got the notebook a little over a week ago and have faithfully spent twenty minutes writing in it each day. Eventually, I’m hoping to get up the nerve to draw in my notebook or remember to collect more ephemera from my daily life. But, for now, I’m really liking what the notebook has lead to. I’m writing. Daily. I’m inspired and excited. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.