This month marked the actual 2 year journalversary… two years that I’ve been journaling on a steady basis using art and words. I know it might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s been a big deal. Not only has adding art to my journaling increased my creativity, lessened my anxiety and help manage my depression, but it’s also helped me with self-doubt and self-esteem.
I talk about much of this in this video about Fear, Self-Doubt, and Creativity:
Another thing I’ve realized is how far I’ve come with my art. By the way, I am not a professional artist. Nor am I professional writer (yet). But I am an artist. A writer. And I’ve learned that combining art and words in my journal, in my outlining for my novels (using Tarot is visual (artistic) and the Hero’s Journey is structure), has helped me figure out an outlining method that works for me.
2016 taught me a lot about what worked and didn’t work for me in regard to planning, journaling, drawing, painting, goal setting, editing videos, etc… I learned so much last year. Part of what I learned is the living a creative life is my passion, but it’s also part of my purpose.
Because there were a few things that did and didn’t work I changed things up this year.
Have you ever thought “Why on earth did I ever think I could be an artist, writer, poet, singer, ____ fill in the blank?” Or “Why am I trying to do this? I’m never going to make it as a(n) ____, I should just find something else to do with my time.” Last year when I first started working on Cameron’s 12 week self-guided course The Artist’s Way I couldn’t help but feel like I was an imposter… in the back of my mind I felt like a pretend writer/artist…This past week was week one of my 2017 journey with The Artist’s Way and I don’t feel so much like an imposter anymore, but I have realized that I do still have some self doubt, as well as the overwhelming need to pile too much stuff on myself, which equals stress, a lack of individual focus, and can lead to not following through with at least one or two things.
I’m going to add a video to the bottom of the post where I talk about a few other things from week 1, my actual check in, and here on the blog post I’m going to delve into a few other things like how differently I feel this go round. How much trouble I’ve had delving into the Morning pages…
Last year when I was working on The Artist’s Way I knew I needed to work on the root of my writer’s block, on my lack of belief in myself as an artist, and my self-doubt in general. I am a creative person. I owned that shit! I learned to say “I’m a writer!” loudly and proudly. And by the end of 2016, I’d learned to say ‘I’m an artist,” proudly. After a thirty years plus some hiatus from creating art, and then to jump into the “Fauxbonichi/Hobonichi/etc” style journaling, adding doodles and watercolor to my journal pages, and then to actually creating art on watercolor paper, and even on canvas, and signing up for Patreon this past year–well, let’s just say I climbed more than quite a few hurdles.
However, for every two or three hurdles I manged to climb over, it felt like there was yet another (or three) obstacles…I learned a great deal about myself last year, and I’m learning even more this year. I learned quite a few things just last week. One of the things I need to remember is that I need to have patience with myself. I could make a list, but instead I’m going to say that Self-Care has become an even more important part of my life. This week as I work on week two, I’ll be working on Morning Pages first thing. I’m going to make it my top priority first thing in the morning. Another thing I am going to work on is taking Wednesday, and maybe even Friday, off from YT. I need a bit of a break, some time to get a few things together–I’m going to make a few changes, and I need a few days to figure things out.
There is this part of me that feels guilty because I need a break… I shouldn’t feel guilty for needed a break. For taking a bit of “me time.” In the video I have linked below, I say “I’m sorry, but not sorry,” and that is the truth. Rationally, I know I need this break, but it does bother me that people might be disappointed, and yet if I am to continue to make at least decent content than I have to take a break. I’m still healing, I need a bit more rest than I’ve been getting, and my body is screaming at me to get that rest. My mind is screaming at me to figure this shit out because I’ve piled too much on myself for the beginning of this year, and I need to spread out the projects a little better.
Ebay: I look for used books. I also got the Yarka St. Petersburg watercolor pans from there, as well as Jinhao fountain pens.
Goulet Pens: I’ve ordered notebooks like Rhodia Webnotebook, as well as the Leuchtturm1917 softcover, and nibs for my fountain pens.
And the SevenSeas Crossfield, Standard, and Writer.
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Last year, sometime, I stumbled across a review of the book called “The Decorated Page,” by Gwen Diehn. At the time I was looking for other books like Danny Gregory’s books or Dan Price’s book “How to Make a Journal,” and Gwen’s book looked a little older but the reviewer said great things about the book. So off to Amazon I went searching for the book. I found it and purchased it.
When the book initially came in I skimmed through it, but I’d just gotten Gina Rossi Armfield’s “The No Excuses Art Journaling,” book and was reading it so I put “The Decorated Page” on the book shelf with my other art/journaling books. I got busy, didn’t use either of the two books, though I did use Armfield’s “No Excuses Watercoloring” book to help me learn some techniques and improve my watercoloring ability.
After I got the new bookcase from my parents for my birthday in July I had to rearrange books… “The Decorated Page” book spoke to me…
“Burgess, when are you going to get around to doing this… You know that you want to leaf through my pages and read me… Use the information and create your own decorated pages… Come on…What are you waiting for???”
I leafed through the pages and got an idea for using a technique Gwen talked about in the book to create the cover for my Omni Journal.. I mentioned the “Decorated Page” on one of my YT videos… I wanted to delve further into the book. Make the book a project. And then the Destination Me group happened and I had even more of a reason to make the book a project…
After making the book a project I began reading it again. I started over and read it. Then panic set it. How to make the book an actual project for more than just me was daunting to say the least… I didn’t (and don’t) have all the supplies and I can’t afford to buy all the supplies I don’t have right now. I’ve never created a workshop like this… I need to go to a workshop like this…how do I set up an outline for the project when 1. Not everyone has the book, 2. sharing pictures from the book here or there when you put where they came from is okay, but I can’t infringe on copyright laws… and how to set it up without revealing too much of what is in the book…so people actually read the important parts of the book… (HEY! aren’t you a writer? A reader? You can do this…)
Then Jo Ann, from the group offered to help. And her suggestions were simple. I’d overanalyzed things. I’d made a mountain out of a molehill because I was in a panic because I didn’t want to screw it up…
One of Jo Ann’s suggestions was to read pp 27-29 and make a list of our favorite products, and be ready to discuss it at the end of the week…
I thought about it after going back to those pages and reading, and then realized…I could share the first supply list with the group and then we could make a list of our favorite supplies/products over the weekend, and then at the beginning of the week share our favorites and be ready to discuss supplies/products throughout the week… Jo Ann and I decided to do this to give everyone whose book hadn’t come in quite yet a chance to get their books in… We start officially on Monday, though we are taking this weekend to think about our favorite supplies/products and make a list, and then on Monday/Tuesday to share them so we can talk about supplies and products. *That’s this coming week, as in September 5/6.*
For week 2 Jo Ann and I are working on something else, as well as a few other things so that we have a tentative outline for the first few weeks of the project.
(more instructions to follow in continuing blog posts)
ON a side note… One of my favorite parts from the book so far is this part:
” In this kind of journal (she’s referring to what is called a “visual journal,” or a “marriage of form and content, of text or writing and visual expression”), the way a page looks is determined by the thoughts and reflections expressed on the page. A certain idea or image will seem to need a certain kind of layout or design, and particular materials will allow you to express yourself more profoundly. Each element, visual and verbal, informs the other, and turn informs your own understanding of the events, ideas, and reflections you record.”
For the past few years, this is the third year, Rhomany’s Realm, MissVickyB, and Carie Harling, have been challenging people in the “planning” community to participate in something called the #onebookjuly challenge.
The challenge is: 1 book, one pen, one month. The idea behind it is to take your planning back to the basics. So many people are looking for what they refer to as Planner Peace. I’ve heard it said by many that if your basic planning system doesn’t work then no matter what planner you have, no many how many you try, the system won’t work, which makes sense–planner peace at its core comes from a planning system that works, and all you really need to plan your day, month, year, etc is a pen and a piece of paper/notebook.
For years, nothing worked right for me. Nothing. I tried a day runner type planner, one of those inexpensive one’s you can get at Walmart or the drugstore, I tried a notebook, a tried a desk calendar, I broke down and tried a Filofax, before that (many years ago) I had a Franklin Covey, a Fauxbonichi, then I tried the Bullet Journal method…
Currently, I am using what I call an “omni-journal,” or what MissVickyB calls a Faux-Bujo, the combination of a “Fauxbonichi and a Bullet Journal.” A Fauxbonichi is a “faux” Hobonichi, which is a Japanese planner that allows you to plan and sketch/illustrate your life via monthly calendar pages, weekly calendar pages, and then daily pages on what is called Tomoe River paper (which is divine paper for watercolor and fountain pens) and most people sketch or illustrate little drawings, and/or use diary stickers, on their daily pages to chronicle their day.
I love the Hobonichi, and if the day wasn’t set up for one page per day, dated pages, I would have stuck with it, but I write too big and too much for one page per day. So I bought a Seven Seas Crossfield notebook, by Nanami Paper, which has Tomoe River paper, and I also have a Mystiqe notebook by Taroko Designs with Tomoe River paper, both have dot grid paper and started what I called an omni-journal–a combination planner, sketch book, Hobonichi style, bullet journal style, Fauxbonichi style journal. And I love it, but I’ve found that I don’t like the way the “bullet” to do list looks on my pages that are filled with art and writing… It takes away from the aesthetics of the page.
For several months I’ve debated over whether or not I could actually use Jenny Penton’s Planner Perfect method, where you script your days. Instead of “to-do” lists you script out your day. I bought her ebook and read it. Tried it for a few days but felt lost when it came to my “to-do’s” like paying bills, appointments, etc. I went back to sticky notes for my “to-do’s” in my omnijournal, or putting my little “to-do” list on my daily pages. I flip-flopped back and forth between bullet journaling, omni-journaling, etc… I did not have planner peace.
The beginning of June rolled around and I thought… Oh, #onebookjuly is almost here. Maybe this time I can do this and not fail miserably. Maybe I can figure out something that will work for me. I began taking notes about what I liked about the various planning methods that are out there. I literally made a pro and con list. I also decided that for the challenge instead of using one book, I’d actually use one Traveler’s Notebook. I had a new Jonelifish, a traveler’s notebook made by an artist named Jonel Imutan. I also decided that instead of using one pen since I art/sketch/watercolor/illustrate I’d use one bag. Figure out my very favorite art supplies for my journal, what I’d use if I were going to go out on an artist date or out of town and needed an art travel bag.
I’m going to link my most current video for #onebookjuly2016, which is part of my playlist for #onebookjuly2016 at the end of this so you can check out my videos, if you’d like, that will explain this further, but suffice to say, I am really loving things because I have been combining Jenny’s Planner Perfect Method with what I was already doing in my omnijournal, only I’m finding that I am leaning more and more towards the Planner Perfect Method.
Scripting my day out has helped me change my mindset about planning, about what I’m doing each day, each week. It’s helped me realize that my omnijournal is more of a common place journal. I’ll have more to come about using the Planner Perfect Method, but for now I’m just so much happier with how my daily stuff, like planning, sketching, art, writing, etc… I feel more positive and filled with enthusiasm about each day, part of that is finding near planner peace, part of it is succeeding finally at #onebookjuly, and part of it is Project Me.
Here is the List for the main One Book July video’s:
The ORIGINAL #onebookjuly video (v1) https://youtu.be/AchAsT5YQkY
Rhomany’s intro video to #onebookjuly2016 https://youtu.be/KmBLVaB6uhA
Follow Carie here https://www.youtube.com/user/carielynn74
Follow Vicky here https://www.youtube.com/user/MissVick…
One of the best things about being a creative person is that I’m all into learning new things. From reading different genres, to trying new recipes, to DIY home projects or DIY beauty stuff, to reading books about self-improvement or creativity or spirituality or how to be more creative. BUT, what I haven’t been very good at, at least not in some areas, is follow-through.
Take this blog, this website for instance. I spent money to have my own website, to have it hosted, and yet I haven’t been blogging regularly. I used to blog every day. THEN, I started posting videos on YT and the blog sort of took the back seat. Why is that? I wondered.
It felt a bit repetitive, redundant to say the same thing on the blog post that I was saying in the video. It is a lot of work to maintain both. All of the above are truths but they are also excuses.
I don’t owe anyone an explanation, not really. The blog is more for me than anyone else, especially since I don’t have that many followers, not like I did on my old blog, but at the same time I feel like I should say something, which says a lot about my character. About who I am, how I am as a person. I often feel the need to defend myself. Like I’m not good enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not pretty enough. Not…you get the drift.
Back in April I decided to make some real changes. I called it “Taking back my life.” I did well with some things. I have lost 10 pounds since April 15th. I’ve been exercising more, trying to make better food choices, better life choices, like eating healthier, meditation, walking, and eating less (portion control).
I’ve also signed up for #projectme with Jenny Penton’s #plannerperfect, and I love it. Such a great group of supportive and inspiring ladies. I feel really good about it. But most of the work to “take back my life,” is about making real changes. It’s about letting go of negativity, letting go of false truths (as Jenny said), and being my authentic self, opening myself up to and using my talents, my gifts.
I’ve been thinking about what those talents are. I am a natural giver. A natural helper. I am also a creative person. My passions are reading (books) , writing, art (watercolor especially), journaling, life, love, family–my grandson is so amazing. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you’re talented at it though. I’m a decent enough writer, but I’m no Shakespeare, Vonnegut, Poe, Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Nora Roberts, or Bradbury (and yes, I’m a fan of all of those–I told you read a variety of genres). I’m a halfway decent enough (amateur) artist, but I’m no Danny Gregory or Jane Davenport.
However, just because I’m not as talented as (say my idol) Stephen King, or Danny Gregory, doesn’t mean I don’t have any talent. I can hone my talents. Get better. I can find my “niche,” my gift and use it, utilize it, and perhaps one day get paid for it. I’ve seen people find their forte their niche, and before you know it they’ve got an Etsy shop, then a website instead, and they’re using their passion and their gift (talent) and instead of just “working” they’re getting paid to do something they love.
One of my truth’s, I’m writing my novel series for me. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of a (my) family’s curse. I grew up hearing about the “Burgess” curse and the idea has always been in the back of my head. So I’m writing a book about it. While the book is based on a truth, it’s a fictional book. It’s not like I could/should/would give my novel’s family the surname Burgess (which is my real name, well it was my surname is now my middle name), though I have seriously thought about it. Instead I’ve went with my father’s (my daddy) first name, which also happens to be a surname–Milton. It works and I like it.
I’ve also been thinking about drawing/painting the cover myself. Hey, I can watercolor halfway decent, and I love drawing and painting with watercolor. But more than that, I wouldn’t have seriously thought about creating the cover for my book myself until I started working on “taking my life back,” and on #projectme. I might have entertained the idea briefly, but I would have second guessed my capability to do it, my talent…and I’d have talked myself right on out of doing it.
I’ve been slowly but surely working on becoming a morning person. I’ve also been working on being more confident, and less negative about myself. I won’t lie and say I don’t have self-doubts, I do. But each day, those self-doubts are less and less.
I’m on my second week of working through the exercises in “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron and I have to say that it is actually helping my writing in a variety of ways. I’m still doing the Morning Pages, which I learned about in “The Artist’s Way,” and I’m also art journaling (or better known as illustrate your life, sketch your life, with an added bit of “Smashbook” style…), and I’ve been inspired to create more in general.
I am doing more creative things on a daily basis. (Part of that is because I’m now using a bullet journal and that has helped tremendously.) I have changed a few of the exercises to fit things for me. Instead of postcards, I sent an email, a letter, a phone call, a message.
I’ve also found that my morning pages are easier to do, better. I started the morning pages with “The Artist’s Way,” but they’ve actually improved since starting this book.
I hope if you’re following along that you are finding this book as helpful as I am.