The Creative Person’s Planner
Let me tell you about my habit of keeping a journal on me at all times. As a creative kinda person, I like to always have a pen and paper on me. Call me old fashioned, but I hate using my phone for EVERYTHING. I can’t stand using it for shopping lists, or to-do lists, and it’s remarkably inflexible about being drawn on. For years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with art journals. I had to keep them at school and uni, and the teachers and lecturers always wanted them in inconvenient sizes, and I got tired of being told off for writing notes and lists in them. (IT’S A DIARY, PEOPLE! CHILL OUT!)
Once I finished uni, I went off art completely. I think it was burnout or something. Either that, or I was just tired of dealing with an art world that was full of wankers (no, really, my painting lecturer hated my work until it got a write up in the newspaper, at which point apparently I was his star student…). Anyhoo, I gave up on art journaling because I’d very much had my own style beaten out of me, and I didn’t see the point anymore.
On and off over the years, I tried different journal styles. I tried your traditional writing-in-a-book-every-evening, but couldn’t stick with it. I tried private blogging, but typing couldn’t convey the amount of emotion that hand-writing does. I tried just keeping notes on my phone, evernote style, but suffered the same tech-disconnect I had with blogging. I tried smash-booking, which is when I started to get my art mojo back. And then I tried bullet journaling (known to peeps in the know as “bu-jo”), but couldn’t be bothered tracking much. And then I bought a new visual arts diary. It was a little bit like coming home.
This compact A5 journal changed everything. It fits in my bag and I take it everywhere. It’s stuffed to the gills with lists and tick-boxes and a calendar (thanks bu-jo!). It’s got photos stuck in willy-nilly (thanks smash-booking!). It’s got random pages covered in writing, it’s got notes from webinars and church, it’s got quotes all through it, it’s got recipes, and most importantly, it’s full of art. It’s not good art, it’s not bad art, but it’s art.
How To Start Your Own Everything Journal
Now, if you know me at all, you know that your excuses about not being able to draw/paint/create mean nothing to me. Everyone can create something. It doesn’t matter how bad you think it is, because you never HAVE to show anyone. And if you don’t want to draw in your journal, you don’t have to. If you just want to bu-jo away in the corner, that’s totally cool. I still think you should stretch your wings and try something new. You can draw stick figures in your book. Or you can fill it with circles that you then colour in with your kid’s art supplies. You can even print out colouring pages from the internet and glue them into your book. It’s your book, you can do what you like.
The first thing you need is a book of sorts. Take some time to actually look for one you like. You’re more likely to use it if you like it. I like the small traditional visual art diaries. You know the ones, they’re spiral bound, come in standard sizes. You can buy them anywhere and I’ve never spent more than $5 on one. Kmart even has A5 ones for $2 with a cool kraft front cover. Some people find the spiral binding annoying, but I like to hang things off the binding with paper clips. I also like that it doesn’t matter how much stuff I stick in the book, the binding is going to cope. You might find the completely blank pages daunting and choose to buy a traditional lined exercise book. Just go with what’s comfy.
The next thing you need is some kind of pen. If you already have a favourite pen, you’re set. If you own a pen/pencil/crayon at all, you already have a starting point. If you don’t, I suggest you get down to Officeworks (or Kmart) and buy a mark-making implement. Seriously, who doesn’t own a pen? (Other than my other half, before we lived together. I had serious doubts about being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t own a pen, but it’s turned out okay, my excess of pens and pencils and crayons making up for his lack thereof.)
Now comes the hard part… I’m totally kidding. Don’t be afraid of the blank book. Open it to the very first page and write your name and some form of communication method (phone or email is good). If you lose your book, you may never see it again, but the chances increase if you have contact details in the front there. On the next spread (that’s two pages next to each other when the book is open) you should have an index. This helps keep track of things like recipes. And then go through and number every page in the book.
From this point onward, the direction of the book is entirely up to you. Don’t be afraid of the responsibility. I usually put some kind of calendar at the front. If I’m really stuck, I just write a shopping list. Pretty soon after, I’ll have a to-do list, and then when I’m procrastinating to avoid doing the things on the to-do list, I start drawing shapes, and then eventually I start colouring things in. Before I know it I’ve filled half a book with random nonsense. It’s all okay.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, I have a whole pinterest board of journals for your browsing convenience. 🙂
Will you take up the challenge to create your own book?