Hello Readers! In our world of dirty diapers, bottles, babies, and naptimes, it’s hard to find inspiration for anything creative. We often feel relieved to get a moment’s peace, let alone time to do anything even remotely creative or fun. And, if you’re like me, you spend hours on Pinterest each week, drooling over the DIY crafts that would look perfect in that one corner of your otherwise drab and dull living room.
I know all about this. I studied creative writing in college, and I even went to grad school for it. I spent my childhood watching the women in my family complete creative crafts—from simple projects with twigs and paint to large handmade quilts. As an adult, I spent most of my free time writing stories, planning larger creative pursuits, and designing house plans for fun. A lot of my creative pursuits stopped when my son Sean was born, and it drove me crazy for months until I finally put my foot down and demanded some “me” time.
One of the first ways I found a creative outlet was with a journal. Growing up, I was more of a tomboy. I preferred my legos to a doll house, and though I had Barbies I played in the dirt more than with Barbies. I hated dresses, and I was too much of a klutz to wear heels. I still prefer my Skechers to my Vera Wangs, and I have been known to trip over my feet in sneakers, much less in heels. Needless to say, I was not the kind of girl that kept a diary.
But, I have always been a journal hoarder. When I left grad school a few years ago, I gave away roughly 30 empty journals that I had purchased for that one great novel I was sure to write someday. Even now, I have about a dozen different mostly empty journals that contain starts to different story ideas I’ve had over the last few years. But I digress.
In December, I hit my snapping point. I had been at SAHM for three months at that point, and I had literally gone from pursuing creative projects everyday (and having the freedom to do so) to full-time baby care every second of the day—waking or not. I needed to let my creative juices go. It was then that I got back into Pinterest, that I started looking into blog projects, and picked up a notebook.
My first entry in the notebook was a list of tasks to get done as well as a rough draft of a new cleaning schedule. I remember feeling instant gratification the moment I put pen to paper, just like I had every time I started writing pre-baby. It was an intense moment of clarification for me that I needed an outlet to list different ideas and plans to mull over and perfect at a later time. I started taking my notebook everywhere, and I would hash out details or add to my journal as I went. Even now, I carry a notebook (or three) with me everywhere I go. This blog, in fact, is a result of this new passion of the journal.
So, what goes into my journal? Everything. And nothing. Topics for my blog. Different ideas and menu plans for Sean’s first birthday party. Routines I would like to get into. 21 Day Fix Meal plans. Story ideas. Future cleaning projects and schedules for cleaning. Recipes. Crafting needs. Book recommendations. The list of entries goes on. There is no plan to my journal. I don’t even consider it a journal; it’s just my notebook. On one page it will have a recipe, followed by a plot bunny for a story, followed by my to-do list. It’s the only sign of chaos in my otherwise organized life, and my notebook is so chaotic that even my husband won’t come close to it.
But I love my system, even if it can sometimes drive me crazy by being so convoluted. I purchased my three section small notebook in January for the 21 Day Fix, in order to keep track of recipes in one section. My plan for the notebook was to have one section for recipes, one for results, and one for journaling my own personal feelings about the program. While I did use it for that intention initially, I eventually found myself in need of paper, and I picked up this notebook. I had rarely used it since my first round of the program, so I decided to pick it up and use it for something else. I kept the 21 Day Fix info in my notebook for future reference, but it eventually became my chaos book. And I realized that this process is needed.
We always have a million things on our minds, and we often have fleeting ideas of creative projects we want to start that get forgotten after picking up the kids from school or folding the laundry or cooking dinner. And our lives begin to lose their spark of creativity because we are so focused on our schedules. So, I say this: keep a small notebook with you. You can even find them at the dollar store, or you can use an existing notebook. But keep it in your bag and keep a pen with it. Every time you have an idea of something you want to try out or implement—summer schedule ideas, family bucket lists, books to read, meal plans, recipes you want to find/try, craft projects to DIY—write it in your journal. Write your to-do list in it. Write down your grocery list. While waiting for your kids to finish their dance lesson, thumb through your journal and revisit your ideas. You might run across a long forgotten idea for a craft project that wasn’t quite right at the time but is perfect right now, and you might just surprise yourself.
So, tell me readers, do you currently keep a journal or notebook right now? What sort of writing do you do in your notebook right now? Have you found the notebook/journal method useful at all? I would love to hear!
Until next time,