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For The Love Of Writing
Since I was a child, I have always been writing. Stories, poems, thoughts and secrets written in a diary. I loved English class, book reports, essays, creative writing projects. But oddly enough, it was only in the last few years that I have called myself a writer. I haven’t published a book, never submitted to a writing contest, and until this blog, didn’t publicly post online (under my own name at least…but that’s another story).
But I have volumes of writing dating back decades. And still to this day I write in a journal, almost daily. It is part of my self-care routine, how I cope with stress, and how I untangle the “knots” in my life. (You can read more about my other strategies for managing stress here). When I fall out of habit, I notice. My thoughts are more scattered, I don’t deal as well with frustration, and am more prone to turn to negative ways of coping (like a full-on, total carb-fest!)
Journaling isn’t difficult to do. You only need a few basic supplies like pen and paper. But I have found that kicking it up a notch, gathering supplies together, putting in some thought to the process, gives it a bit more meaning, thus making it more likely to become habit. There are no rules, no templates to follow. Don’t concern yourself with spelling and grammar (unless you’re a bit obsessed about that, like me…). Make it as short as a few sentences, or as long as a few pages, whatever feels right in the moment.
Here is a list of my list of Must Have Supplies for Creative Journaling…
A place to house your writing. It can be something as simple as an inexpensive composition book, a folder of lined paper, or as grand as a personalized folio. My personal favourite is a Moleskine Cahier notebook, which I buy in a 3-pack. Lightweight, yet sturdy, they come in a variety of sizes and cover colours, with lined, grid or plain options.
For an added luxurious touch, I house my journals in a traveler’s notebook style leather cover from Chic Sparrow. I love the supple feel of the leather, and the quality craftsmanship is unlike any other. It takes my journal from “just a notebook” to a treasured personal item I take with me everywhere. (Fair warning…I take no responsibility for any addiction that may result! Touching, smelling, and obsessing over these notebooks is a real thing. Just check out their Facebook group!)
People choose all sorts of writing instruments when it comes to journaling. Fountain pens, gel pens, roller ball, or even pencil. For me, it’s just a plain old pen I stole from a hotel. Yes, it has a slight sentimental value, but really it’s more because it just writes smooth, no smudging or smearing. Every once in a while if I’m feeling fancy, I throw in some colour with these Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens.
Music has been integral to turning my journal writing into a daily habit. While having a quiet place to write is nice, it’s not always available (particularly in a house full of people, in a coffee shop, or while on the go). Popping in my earbuds with some music, allows me to escape the noise and hustle and bustle, and just get lost in my thoughts and the pen and paper in front of me. I have a particular few playlists that I listen to only when journaling. My brain now associates that music with writing, so the words flow almost automatically now. My favourite is Asian Spa, part of the Solitudes series, by Dan Gibson.
If journaling is new to you, you might find you need a bit of inspiration to get started. “Morning Pages”, a practice created by author Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, is a good place to start. The idea is to just grab pen and paper, and write 3 pages about anything that comes to mind. The weather, what you had to eat, that annoying chip on the table, what you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be cohesive or all that important. It’s the act of writing that is important.
Inspiration can come in many forms though. Some people create Gratitude Journals, listing things every day they are grateful for. Or if the act of writing is challenging, try Art Journaling! It can be as simple as doodling on paper, colouring with markers, or painting with watercolours. Check out Effy Wild, or Flora Bowley for creative art inspiration. I’ve taken classes from both, and it enriched and added depth to my journaling practise!
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Do you journal? What are your go-to supplies when you’re sitting down to write? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment below.