Creative Living with Jamie Episode 282:
Sharing My Three Core Journals
We creatives tend to have piles of journals, notebooks and sketchbooks of all kinds! I have so many it’s hard to keep track but through it all there are three journals that form my core creative practice.
On this episode of Creative Living with Jamie I share my three essential journals and how I use them. I hope it will inspire some new and helpful journaling ideas for you!
Take It to Your Journal
- What journals are essential to your creative life?
- What is your relationship to things being unfinished?
Resources & Mentions
- Do you have a question you’d like to ask a creative mentor? Send it to email@example.com.
- A large ruled Moleskine hardcover notebook
- Leuchtterm 1917 medium A5 dotted hardcover notebook
- The Studio Yearbook
- Join the Studio and get access to 5 free Creative Practice Workshops
Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.
I have to tell you that I have been noodling so much about this who over the past while. We’re in this wild and wonderful stage of recording while the ideas continue to develop so thank you for being here at this new beginning, in this kind of groundwork stage as we see which seeds take hold.
We’ve already had a journaling workshop that was a crossover episode with YouTube, so exciting. And last week I announced in my newsletter that we’re going to have an Ask Jamie segment, in which I answer listener questions. So, if you have a something you’ve been wanting to ask a creative mentor about, I hope you’ll ask me. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may just hear my answer on this podcast!
Soon I’m going to be starting an interview series called 101 Encouraging Conversations about Art. I’ve been dreaming this up for ages and I cannot wait to begin. I’ve just recently hired a Studio Assistant (Hey there, Amy!) and once I’ve passed a few balls over to her, this is on my list to get started.
I hope you’re as excited about these developments as I am. Honestly, I’m just beaming sharing them with you. And for today, today I want to share with you my three essential journals, plus a poem. I have shared these with members of the studio. So if you are one, I hope you enjoy listening. And if you aren’t, come on over to openthedoor.ca and sign up! You’ll be glad you did – and I will be too! Of course, I’ll leave a link in the show notes.
Okay, let’s talk journals.
Oh, my goodness, if you’re anything like me, you have about a bazillion journals, notebooks, composition books and sketchbooks. You’ve got empty ones, half-started ones and overflowing ones. You wonder all the time whether you should consolidate everything into one book or whether you need to categorize even more, having one journal per theme or project.
Oh, our creative minds, right?
I have tons of journals in all shapes and sizes for a myriad of purposes but I have three that form my essential core, three journals that I would be lost without, three journals that keep my creative life clear, inspired and moving!
Journal One: Free Writing
Journal number one is my free-writing journal. This journal is everything to me. It is my conversations with myself and with the Universe. It’s how I understand what I’m thinking and where I am going. It’s my safe and sacred place to tell the raw and the real without hesitation or fear. It is the one place in the world where all of my big feelings and brave dreaming, no matter how epic, will never be too much. It’s where I bring my questions and where I hear my intuition answer. I write in this journal every single morning, even if only for 10 minutes. I also grab it whenever I need to remember, process or get something off my chest. It is always near at hand. For this journal I use a large ruled Moleskine hardcover notebook and I usually pick a white one.
Journal Two: My Everything Book
Journal number two is what I call my everything book. Really, it’s really my planning journal. I think all of the women in my family have at one time or another had some version of this. Mine has settled into a form that I just love and have been keeping for years. For this I use a Leuchtterm 1917 medium A5 dotted hardcover notebook. It lasts me about half a year. What I usually do is pick a navy blue for the fall and winter and magenta for the spring and summer.
In my everything book, I use a two-page spread for each day. The right-hand side is a bit of a scratch pad, sort of a draft of my day. It starts with a loose list of all the things that I’d like to get done (honestly, it’s often completely unreasonable!) I note ideas that come up throughout the day or things I want to remember. Sometimes I doodle or take notes from a conversation. It’s a free and messy space where I brainstorm, gather and imagine how I would like to create my day.
On the left-hand side I am much more ordered. I put the date at the top and throughout the day I list the things I actually get done as I do them, including any details I might need or want to remember.
For example, this week I had:
- Morning chores
- Morning write
- Called to make eye appointment – Booked for Thursday at 5:00 pm
- Created SOP (standard operating procedure) for setting up Zoom meetings
- Proofed the summer Studio Yearbook and sent my notes to Alex.
This two-page approach, I find it honours both my imaginative, process-oriented side and my practical get-it-done side. Together in my everything book, they keep me clear, creative and focused.
Now, I mentioned the yearbook and that is journal number three.
Journal Three: My Studio Yearbook
My Studio Yearbook is my creativity inspirer, my memory keeper, my documented life! It’s a place for me to play, to colour, to glue. It’s my portable paper studio, reminding me to look for inspiration and insight in each and every day. It encourages me to dream under the full moon and to stay focused on what matters. It guides me and holds me and becomes an incredible record of my days. I have been keeping a studio yearbook every season for years now (and I know some of you have too!) and I treasure each and every one. Every volume reminds me of what I did and who I was in a particular season of my creative life. The Studio Yearbook is something I produce here in the studio and share every season. Right now people are working with the spring Studio Yearbook. At the beginning of May, the summer yearbook will become available and ready to begin on the solstice. So, once again, come on over to openthedoor.ca and sign up to make sure you don’t miss out on that.
These three journals are the core of my practice: my free-writing journal, my “everything” book and my Studio Yearbook. Together they nourish, support and hold the magical moments of my creative life.
I hope that you have a journal practice too and if you don’t, I hope that one of the practices that I’ve described inspires you to make a start. In the whole time I’ve been doing this podcast, I’ve done lots of interviews. I have asked many people what their number one creative practice is and almost always it’s journaling. Not only is it a magical way to support your creativity and your artistic vision but I really want to make clear that it doesn’t have to be writing. There are a million ways (I think I’ve been trying to share that with you), there really are a million ways, to keep a journal. You can find and make, like, create a way that suits you. Take inspiration from examples like the one I’ve shared with you today but really give yourself full permission to pursue the fine practice of journaling in a way that is yours and supports you.
Now, recently in one of my journals I wrote a poem. I haven’t done that for a long time but I’m excited to share it with you today. It really is a response to something that so many of my clients have felt and spoken to me about, so many ways I have felt so often, and I hope that it speaks to you. It’s called Unfinished Business.
I expect to leave the world incomplete
Paintings half-done on my art table
Maybe my laundry in the dryer
And I will be unconcerned
Because this life was so generous
That it gave me more than enough to do
It gave me more than enough to tend,
to love, to be
And when I am gone,
If there is something here that inspires you
Pick it up
Take it home
Let it be a part of the generous abundance of your life
And when it is your time
Consider that being finished
Doesn’t prove you did enough
It doesn’t prove you were enough
That is a given on any day
Instead let all the unfinished business
Be proof of life
The draft of your novel
The half-knit sweater
The movie on pause
All are proof that you were here,
that you engaged
and got dirty
For the moment you were here
Thank you so much for being here. I am truly honoured and delighted to share this journey with you. Let’s keep living. Let’s keep creating. Let’s keep showing up to this wild artistic adventure, no matter what. Until next time, have a wonderful time in your studio and remember, your life is your studio.