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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Trip to the Zoo

Yesterday the little guy, hubby and I journeyed out for a day at Perth Zoo. I don't think I've been to the zoo in about 14 or so years. Terrible to think I've let time slip away like that. Nothing much had changed, but there were improvements. Not that it matters what I thought about the zoo. The little guy loved it. He wanted to see everything at once. It's funny, though, the things I thought would impress him didn't and the things I couldn't have cared less about really caught his interest. He was particularly fascinated by the rhinos and wanted to see them several times.

What animals inspire and interest you? Write about these animals in your journal. Spend some time investigating what you admire about them. Do you see specific strengths you would like to have in your own life? If you like, create a collage page about these animals. Use photos you've taken at the zoo or images you find online. Use the collage journal entry as a way to express whatever it is you admire most about these animals.

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please make any comments in the section below.

Photo is my own

Artsy Bloggers Round-up #2

Here are some artsy links to keep you creating this week:

DIY – Feel the Power from The Artful Crafter.

Making a crocheted book from Bliss Tree.

Quilt Designs Relating to Gardening from Quilter's Pot Pourri.

And I shared the More Than Torn Paper entry.

Photo used with permission from Pixel Perfect Digital

Monday, March 30, 2009


Last night at church I watched the movie called Fireproof. Instead of being the corny Christian movie I expected I found the story quite entertaining and also very supportive of marriage. There's a website supporting the film called Fireproof My Marriage where you can learn more. In the film there was a 40 day love dare, presented in a lovely journal. I couldn't help thinking what I would offer to someone on the brink of divorce, especially if they really wanted their marriage to stay together. I suppose after more than 22 years of marriage I must know something about what makes it work.

What about you? Spend some time writing in your journal about what makes marriage fireproof. Even if you feel you have failed in your marriage you still have experience. Write this journal entry as if writing a letter to someone you know who is struggling. You don't need to ever send them the letter. What advice would you offer, what dos and don'ts? Do you feel every marriage can be rescued? Investigate the issues in your journal.

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Friday, March 27, 2009

Being a Grown Up

Cyndi's comment on yesterday's entry inspired me to find this journal writing prompt for you:

Being a grown up - just what does that mean to you? I know there were times when I was told to grow up, or we told someone else to grow up. But what does it really mean? When are you considered a grown up? Is it age related, or experience related? What event made you realise you had finally grown up? Was there an event or did you one day realise that you were now in the world of grown ups? Have you grown up yet? Do you want to grow up? Spend some time writing in your journal about these things. Define what grown up means to you and investigate the issue in your journal.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Freaky Friday #2

Today is Friday so that means it's Freaky Friday. To learn more about this journal writing challenge please read Freaky Friday #1.

This week I'm challenging you to step inside your five year old self. This might be a difficult task for some of you. If you feel writing from yourself at this age is simply too daunting, please choose a happy moment to recall and write about. If you feel it's too much, please choose another age or person for today. My desire is to help you capture some of your innocence at that point of time.

I was inspired by a photo on my whiteboard of my daughter in pre-primary school. She wore her hair loose around her face, something she never does now at 20, and her face was painted as a lion. It made me realise how much she had changed and yet how much she had remained the same. Write in your journal about yourself at this age and see what you come up with.

If you feel inspired, please share your response in the comments section below, or a link to your blog.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Rules

Life brings so many different restrictions. If it's not speeding in your car, it's something about your health. Moderation and control rule the day. While I'm not saying these limits are exactly evil, perhaps we need a space in our daily lives where the rules don't apply. To really enjoy journal writing I try to keep one rule in mind - there are no rules.

Once I open the cover of my journal the pages are for me alone. I can mark them, write on them, stick things into them, draw, scribble, doodle, splash paint, ink or glitter glue, if that's how I feel. No one can tell me I'm doing this journal writing business right or wrong. There are no rules.

I can use a crayon, a pencil, typed pieces printed off from the computer, newspaper articles, pictures, jigsaw pieces, a paintbrush, stickers, lipstick, eyeliner or with any tool or object I want. Because it's my journal and I can use those pages to express myself any way I need to. There are no rules.

The pages are for me. I don't show them to friends or post scanned images of their content online, though there's nothing wrong with that if you feel the need. Journal writing serves me the way a trusted friend does. But the journal ranks superior, even over the best of friends. My journal listens and makes no comment or judgement. I can goof off, rant and rave, act down-right indecently or reveal the most intimate of secrets there. Did I mention there are no rules?

Many people desire to keep a journal, but fail at this point. Give up all your expectations and just write. Pick up whatever tools you have at hand and begin. You might have a dog-eared notebook leftover from school. That's what I used for my first journal. I left the old Physical Education work in the front of the book, perhaps as ruse to any snoopers, and used up the many pages still in the back. Use whatever pen or writing implement you have and make marks on those pages.

You don't have to be interesting or even a good writer to keep a journal. You don't even need to have terrific drawing skills or have an amazing of expensive tools. Read Dawn Vinson's Seven Myths about Keeping a Journal.
Bust these myths in your own journal. Remember, there are no rules.

Image created by my daughter Leonie

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Right Pen for You

When it comes to writing by hand I must have a pen with smooth flowing ink. Writing in a journal needs to be a comfortable experience. It's taken me a while, but I've found several pens that feel right for writing in my journal. I like the nib to be fat and for the ink to roll out in a long velvety uninterrupted line. My letters curl and circle back on themselves, so this means I hardly ever let the pen leave the page. For me, this allows the thoughts to trickle down easily onto the page.

You might be different. You might enjoy those pens I think are scratchy and sparse. Maybe this suits the way you think and feel better than the kind of pen I enjoy. It doesn't really matter what kind of pen you use. Just aim for one that feels right for you. It needs to feel comfortable in your hand. You shouldn't be aware of your fingers straining around the pen. The pen should feel like the tool or implement it's meant to be; an extension of your thoughts, a part of your body. No one wants to work with awkward tools.

Experiment with different pens. I'm always checking out new pens as they're released onto the market. I can get lost just writing "Hi there" as I test the various inks out on the little pads in the shops. Gel pens feel good to write with, but for me they just don't go the distance. I need to lug around several with me in case I have a really intense journal session and wrote like a mad thing using up all the ink. And they tend to dry up at the wrong moment.

For the most part I stick with pretty basic brands and make sure I have at least one extra on hand. Paper Mate have good pens in their collection. Be prepared to spend as much as you need to. The right pen is going to make all the difference to keeping your journal writing experience pleasurable and something you'll want to keep doing. What kind of pen do write in your journal with? Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from Pixelperfectdigital

Monday, March 23, 2009

Timed Writing

One of the easiest ways to start writing in your journal, especially if it's your first time, is to try timed writing. This simply involves setting a timer for ten, twenty or perhaps thirty minutes and writing without stopping until the timer sounds or ends. I like my microwave timer. Once the time runs out it beeps and then again every thirty seconds. It's non-intrusive, yet quietly nags at me from the kitchen until I finally put down my pen and go switch the beeping off.

Ten minutes is an achievable way to begin. If you've never done any journal writing before try not to worry too much about what you're going to write. Simply sit in a comfortable position and place the pen on the page and begin writing. Fly straight off with your first thought. Knowing the timer is ticking away propels you to get as much writing done as possible in that ten minutes. You can write about everything and anything or nothing important at all.

Often the best way to start is to describe where you are. Write about the room you're in. List items inside the room or describe the people if you're in a public place. What are they wearing, doing, eating and talking about? What are you wearing? Do you feel warm or cool? Focus on your senses. What can you hear, taste, smell, see and feel? Heightening an awareness of each sense helps you really experience where you are. At some later point, when you reread your entry, you'll be amazed how the scene will come back to you in a vivid rush. You'll find yourself remembering details you didn't remember to catch in your journal.

Find a quiet corner, sit down, pull out your journal, set the timer and begin writing. Once your timer ends stop writing. If you feel you've just begun then don't let the timer hinder you. Keep on writing. Write until you can no longer write or your hand cramps up. The timer is simply a device. Try this method and see if you like it. You might find the pressure of a time limit helps you be more concise about your feelings. You might access what you're trying to say faster; a boon in our busy lives. I hope you give this technique a try in your journal.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Making a Donation

I had the unusual experience of donating blood today. This might be a regular thing for you, but for me it was something completely new. Being so, I was not exactly sure what to expect. In my mind I did have some picture of what would happen, and I wasn't far off, but I wasn't sure how I'd feel afterwards. The poor girl next to me probably wasn't expecting to go into some kind of a convulsion, either, but the staff handled it all really well. The only thing I didn't expect was to feel so dreadfully tired. Even now I'm finding it difficult to concentrate.

Are you a regular blood donor? Do you give to charity or some other worthy cause as a matter of habit? Do you feel it's necessary to give to others, no matter what you give? Write about making donations of any kind in your journal. Why do you make donations? What would happen if no one donated? What would happen if you stopped donating? Investigate the need to donate in your journal.

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Learning to Walk Again

Recently my daughter severely sprained her ankle. The sprain has been bad enough for the doctor to recommend keeping off her feet for a good couple of weeks. Still, when she attended her first physio session today the therapist would've liked her to start sooner. The sooner the better he claimed. He took my daughter through a series of different kinds of massages, all quite painful, but she gritted her teeth knowing the benefits. He instructed her to do several repetitive exercises, fairly easy for someone with no injury, yet quite difficult for my daughter. And then he taught her how to walk again, this time using the crutches in a new way.

It was a strange experience, she said, learning to walk again. Have you ever had to learn to do something again, something you had previously mastered? Write about relearning in your journal. How did you feel having to go back to the start? Did you resist the learning? Were you eager to get back to where you'd been before? What skills do you feel would be good to relearn now you have mastered them? Do you think we ever really stop learning?

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please leave any comments in the section below

Image used with permission from stock.xchng

Friday, March 20, 2009

Freaky Friday #1

I'm going to republish the Freaky Friday prompts I originally began at A Creative Journal here because they've proved really popular with journal writers & bloggers alike. Occasionally they may seem dated. Where possible I will update them, but may leave some as they are just to give us a slice of the past.

Today is Friday. In honour of this day I've decided to create Freaky Friday for you. I'm hoping you've seen the film Freaky Friday. If so you'll easily fall into what I intend to do here each Friday. If not, well, perhaps I'll need to explain more. Freaky Friday, either version, is the story of a mother and daughter who literally swap roles for a short time. Several films have been made with this premise. Some kind of magical intervention creates this situation for the two to swap spirits or souls and live in the body of the other for some time.

The basic moral of the film Freaky Friday is for the main characters get a chance to experience first hand how it is to live someone else's life, to discover all there is to know about them, to see things from their point of view. Of course the films always end with the characters understanding and accepting the other's differences and working out whatever problems they have in the beginning of the film. I'm not suggesting this journal writing exercise will solve all your problems in a similar way, but I am hoping you'll come to understand other people and why they think the way they do.

For the first Freaky Friday journal prompt I'm asking you to step inside the shoes of a member of Pro Hart's family, since the artist has recently died*. It doesn't matter which family member you select. Read the Broken Hill's Art & Soul news story through to the end and write a journal entry from the perspective of one of the family members involved.

I hope you enjoy this prompt and return for next week's Freaky Friday prompt. Please feel free to share your response in the comments below, or supply a link to your own blog or online journal.

*Pro Hart died March 28 2006
Photo ©2003 Walt Disney Pictures.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Than Torn Paper

For most people the idea of using collage as a journal technique is met with a laugh. Most think back to school days when collage involved tearing a little coloured paper and gluing it in place. But new techniques, papers and products have made collage an art form in its own right.

While spending time tearing paper and gluing it into your journal is somewhat therapeutic on its own, it is the arrangement and additional touches you can apply that bring this form of expression such tactile satisfaction.

There is no limit to what you can put on your page, so long as you have some way to hold it there. Glue, needle and thread, pins, tape... whatever you can think of. And who says you need to be able to close your journal? Perhaps leaving your collage entries in plain view might help you sort through whatever has been on your mind.

Feel free to experiment.

You can't go past the information shared by Aisling D'Art with her How to Collage in Your Art Journal. You'll be inspired.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Under Pressure

Today has just been one of those days. I've been under pressure right from the moment I woke up. Everyone expecting me to be in more than one place at a time, getting the impossible done - yesterday. Sometimes I feel everyone is against me, but when I'm honest a lot of the pressure I experience is of my own making.

Hubby saw me stressing out and very rightly prescribed a bit of time out for me. He sent me out with my journal and ordered me to get a coffee and relax for a bit. You know journal writing works when even your husband can see that.

I enjoyed my time out and forgot about the pressures. Most of them didn't feel anywhere near as pressing as I believed, especially through the lens of a more relaxed state of mind.

How do you handle pressure? Spend some time writing in your journal about how you react to pressure. Does pressure push you into your finest work or do you feel rushing things makes you sloppy? How can you avoid feeling so much pressure in your day? Describe a day with no pressure. Which do you prefer? Take some time out if you need to examine how pressure fits into your day. Do you view it as a positive or a negative?

Photo used with permission from Ivar van Bussel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Artsy Bloggers Round-up #1

Here are some artsy links to help keep you creating this week:

How to Make Window Envelope Cards from The Artful Crafter.

Recycling and upcycling for threadies! from Hankering for Yarn.

Some spool knitters with special connections from Tottie Talks Crafts.

Trails End Quilters' Quilts from Trails End Quilters.

And I shared the news of this New Creative Journal.

I hope you enjoy these links. If you write a related blog which you add to regularly ask if you can join in the link exchange with us. Please leave a comment in the section below if interested.

Photo used with permission from Pixel Perfect Digital

Monday, March 16, 2009

How To Write A Journal Entry In Ten Easy Steps

This is an entry originally from my A Creative Journal blog:

When beginning to keep a journal the simplicity of what you are trying to achieve can feel confusing at times. For those who need it, follow this outline and you can’t go wrong. Keep in mind that there are no rules when it comes to writing a journal.

1. Find something to write on. Whatever you have on hand is fine. Or you might like to shop for something that makes you feel good about writing inside the pages.

2. Find something to write with. I love a pen to be smooth and flowing when I’m writing. Just make sure the implement feels comfortable in your hand. Of course, if you prefer, or need to, use a word processor, typewriter, or similar instead.

3. Find time to write. Choose a time of day when you won’t be interrupted by others. This can prove a difficult task. I tend to go out to find my moments of solace. Make a point of being alone to write in your journal.

4. Find a place to write. I enjoy sitting in a cafe with a long black coffee at my elbow. I enjoy the bustle of people around me. You may prefer the privacy of your own room. Sitting in the same place to write can help you get into the right frame of mind for journal writing.

5. Date your entry. This may seem a real drag, but I would suggest this is the only real rule when it comes to keeping a journal. You’ll be amazed just how useful having each entry dated can be. I’m constantly looking back through my journal to confirm some fact in our family or to help work out some vague point.

6. Start writing. Just write whatever comes to mind. You may need a journal prompt. There’s plenty online or find more here real soon. There will be heaps of prompts in this blog soon. Set a timer and write, if that helps.

7. Be creative. Try different techniques, such as lists, collage, drawing, other visual styles, or whatever takes your fancy. Your journal is a place to express your thoughts and emotions. Forget the rules and what others expect. Play with ideas and use your journal for your own benefit.

8. At some point stop writing, expressing or creating. Decide on a time or page limit, when your materials run out or just when you feel you’ve written all that is on your mind.

9. If you can, reread what you’ve written. Either read it directly after making the entry or set aside a time to read your past entries. There is much to gain from rereading your journal entries.

10. Make a commitment, to yourself, to write regularly. While daily entries are ideal, there’s no limit to how often you should write in your journal. I simply suggest you make it regular activity. You gain some benefit writing a single entry, but the greater benefits remains in making a habit of writing in your journal.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Friday, March 13, 2009

Artistic Shift

On Wednesday afternoon, while enjoying a quick coffee & a journal session, I flicked through the latest Art Jewelry magazine, the issue dedicated to education. One of the articles was from a teacher about bringing an element of surprise into the classroom. I had a little giggle, but did the suggested pointless exercise "before you read any further." The author, Robert Dancik, explained how this encouraged students to make an artistic shift, helping them learn & to think outside the box more readily.

There is quite a following for the right & left brain theory as far as artistic expression goes. I tend to think there is something in it. I recall an experience I had several years ago while sitting to paint a simple watercolour of a pot on a corner of a high wall. Somewhere during the experience I went off into some kind of zone. Nothing else existed but the brush, the paint and the paper. At some point I came to realise the painting was done. While it dried I tried to write in my journal, but it was like words wouldn't form, or something.

I was also surprised to see how much time had passed. To me it had only been fleeting moments, but more than an hour had gone without me being aware. Instead of fighting the shift my brain had made, I simply sat and doodled over my page and was eventually able to make a note type entry by the end about what I'd just experienced.

Surely, this is the kind of artistic shift we can pursue while creating whatever it is we create. I have also experienced this shift with writing, but have been well able to continue to form words. So, perhaps there are different parts of the brain to access for various art forms.

What do you think about right & left brain theories? Spend some time writing in your journal about artistic shifts. Have you experienced anything like the artistic shift I've mentioned? If not, why do you think you haven't? Write about any time you've experienced this shift. What did it teach you about your creativity?

I hope you enjoy this journal writing challenge. Please leave comments in the section below.

Photo is my own

A New Creative Journal

Well, there's a lot of work before me. My old blog has been cancelled, my contract terminated, but writing about keeping a journal is a passion for me. I intend to revive most of the old stuff from A Creative Journal, change whatever needs changing and publishing it all on this blog. Of course, this is going to take some time. I hope you will all hold on with me while I do the work. As soon as I have a good ten entries up I will start sharing and getting word out about the change. So, watch this space, please, all my loyal readers.