18 June 2016

My Journaling Journey

When I was a young girl I kept a journal, usually in thin sheet exercise books I bought in a store on my way home from school. I wrote in it every day, hidden under the covers of my bed with my trusty flashlight. My journal was my home. In it I shared my innermost secrets, my fears, my doubts, my crushes, my broken heart, my love for a singer in a certain band. I wrote my poetry and tentatively dove into writing short stories.

As an adult I kept up with my journaling habits on and off, sometimes not journaling for months, then furtively filling one notebook in one week.

When computers entered my life, I started to keep an electronic journal, and when blogs were born, I started to keep a blog too. I missed pen to paper, though, so when Moleskines started to get popular, I jumped on the bandwagon. I jotted down my poetry and random ideas in various sizes of notebooks, always keeping one with me, just in case.

And then, about two years ago, I discovered Midori Travelers notebooks. It was through a random post on Instagram, I believe. I joined a Facebook group devoted to them, ordered my own Midori, and I started to journal in earnest.

I kept my lesson from my teenage journals in mind: I didn’t want to focus on negativity. This was the reason I destroyed my early journals when I was in my twenties. I just couldn’t stand reading all the angst. I tore out my poetry and stories and destroyed the journals.

Now I needed my journal for a completely different reason. I knew I needed to free up my creativity. I knew I needed to play.

The first booklets in my Midori I filled with mostly writing. Then art started to slip in. I discovered great inspiration in books about creative journal keeping by people like Danny Gregory, Hannah Hinchman and Dan Price. Soon I started to doodle.

I kept art pens with me along with my fountain pens, and as my pages filled, my creativity expanded.

I started to create my art in different ways, I began to play with watercolor and with pastels, and I explored doodling buildings, and then coloring them with my watercolors.

I started to call myself an artist with conviction now.

I wrote in my journal almost every day, I explored each new pathway that opened up with vigor, I added bright and wonderful colors with washi tape and I doodled silly lettering.

Journaling became play. Play became my life.

I filled my journal pages with endless poetry, sometimes writing so fast and furtively that my hand writing was barely legible. I pasted in pictures torn from magazines and ticket stubs from movies.

I expanded my horizons.

I know that every day I start with journaling is a good day, a day of adventure and play and art and creativity and so much joy.

This is a habit that I can see myself clinging to for the rest of my life.

Because it heals.
Because it helps me create.
Because it is pure play.
Because it is my life.

And you, you should go to the bookstore and pick out a journal there, with paper that feels soft and thick enough to take anything you throw at it.

Pick a pen that makes you happy to write with, and pour your happiness, playfulness and creativity onto the pages of your journal.

Don’t worry if you make mistakes. It’s your journal, it is meant to contain everything that makes you grow, and as it so happens, mistakes help you grow just as much as successes do. Just turn the page and start anew, each time you play in your journal.

Decorate your pages with your beauty, your love, your life and know that each time you write, doodle, play, create, share your thoughts, you change yourself. You become more yourself. You discover more and more about who you really are. And your creativity has a blast. What more could you ask for?

13 June 2016

Birds sing

It is very early morning
Birds sing the sun awake
Their voices so stark in a
World under cover of night

How can I be sad right now
Birds sing, and even though
Sleep evades me, I should
Be happy to be alive, healthy

Birds sing, my body lies awake
Fingers pound at keyboard and
Write this poem while birds sing
Their poetry, their life to the world

(photo from morguefile)

12 June 2016

Twenty random thoughts on an early Sunday morning

  1. It is very early. For an insomniac it's a common thing to be awake at this early, though.
  2. Our cat is snoring out loud, curled up on the bench at the foot of the bed. We never use it, the cat does. As a side note: husband snores next to me. The fact that I can get any word in between them snoring is something that I am very proud of *takes a bow after the thunderous applause*
  3. Every year after the A to Z challenge, my blog falls by the wayside. Writing 26 blog posts in a short time kills the will to write twice weekly. 
  4. I want to write three blogs a week, ideally, two of them themed, one random. That is my ideal thing. Have I ever managed that? Maybe one week. It was a good week though.
  5. I need to get out of my head and into writing my novel again. Darnit. 
  6. I am a master procrastinator. Think that is also the reason why #5 is moving so slowly. 
  7. #5 also moves slowly because I have changed my whole plot idea half way through the novel. The first part feels so disconnected that I have a hard time connecting the dots. 
  8. I set out to write twenty random thoughts, in a way to empty my head and create space for writing a novel. I guess that now my brain is going: ha! Good luck making it to twenty, sucker!
  9. I have to go into luddite mode tomorrow, no technology allowed for a sleep study I am going to do in Amsterdam. I wonder how long it will take before I climb the walls. 
  10. I love technology. Going without is going to be so weird. I will probably hug my iPhone when I leave the hospital. 
  11. Funnily (love this word!) enough, the reason why I might have insomnia is my love for technology. Go figure. 
  12. I absolutely love the Fitz and the Fool series by Robin Hobb. Just started the second book. 
  13. I have this rule that I cannot read the genre I am writing in when I am writing a book. I tell myself that I can because my book is mostly SciFi. But also very much Fantasy. I love to mix genres like that :)
  14. I love to journal, I love the tactile feel of fountain pen to paper. But if I want to be able to read what I write in a passionate rush of pen to paper, I need to type it. Even I can't read my scribblings then. But it makes for some perfect secret journaling. 
  15. I always carry a pencil case filled with goodies with me, along with a journal. I don't always use everything in the pencil case when I am out and about, but if I don't have it with me, I need something from it. 
  16. I need to start a Fountainpenaholics anonymous group. I am addicted to fountain pens. Good thing the most expensive pen I have ever bought was 20 euro. If I had an expensive fountain pen addiction, we would be flat broke. Then again, I have never written with an expensive fountain pen. Can't imagine it writes better than my TWSBI Eco. Every time I write with that pen, fireworks go off in my brain and angel choirs start singing heavenly tunes.
  17. Everytime my blog is starting to look the way I wanted it to look when I started out my mad blogging, my brain goes: what if I do this and this to it? Stupid brain, never satisfied. This time I am persisting, darnit. I don't want to install Wordpress again and then a theme that I really like and then shouting at it because Wordpress is so horrible. I like simplicity. Wordpress is NOT simplicity. 
  18. I write most of my blog posts in Byword, have a whole folder of half eaten written blog posts that I can finish at any time and publish to Blogger. Also a document with random ideas that come to me in the middle of the night. 
  19. The reason why I didn't open any of those documents over the last month or so is threefold: tired of blogging, tired of thinking of new ideas to post and having the flu. 
  20. Half an hour or so after starting this list it is finished. Both my husband and my cat are still snoring. I need to start my day in earnest. First things first: filling my stomach with gorgeous food!
Bonus thought: I loved to write this, might become a tradition. Let's see how long I maintain it, like stated in #4

Keep playing!