Now I know that a certain
percentage of you, and itís probably a pretty high percentage, are not going
to Ďgetí an article about organizing your journals. Youíve spent years
developing them as works of art and display pieces. Whatís to organize?
Great! Fantastic! Go for it! This article, however, wasnít written for you. The following will resonate
for those of you who, like me, journal compulsively, about everything and
anything, and disregard things like time, place, medium. The
Hamster strikes and thereís nothing you can do but try to get it down on
paper before you lose the thought.
I use my journal to practice
drawing, to organize thoughts on business projects, to plan books and metal
hardware, to take down phone numbers, to save greeting cards and
photographs, to make lists of things that need to be done and to wax lyrical
about my husband and my 3 cats. It seems that Iím always hurrying to get
thoughts down before I forget them. Then there are those delicious times
when I want to mentally take a walk and see where my mind leads me . . .
Some journalers handle
this inherent dichotomy by using different journals for different types of
journal entries; a journal for dreams, another for task lists, one for sketching
and one for business notes. This has never worked for me. Sometimes the
Hamster just wonít let thoughts percolate for longer than it takes to find
my journal and a pen. The last thing I want to do is stop whatever Iím doing
at the moment, stand up and trudge around the house looking for, no not that
journal, the other one, and where are my pencils? What was I going to write
again? You see my point.
Iíve had people express
shock when I ask them to write in my journal. If they see me scratch
something out or rip out a page they cringe. I swear, if I worried about
messing up my journal it wouldnít be the valuable workhorse tool that it is,
and the pages would probably be blank. My journal is a day planner, a diary,
a sketchbook, a business planner and a list minder all in one. You can
imagine that with so many different kinds of ideas swimming around in the
depths of my brain my journals are testament to the chaos that is my life.
Do you worry that your
journals wonít be meaningful or memorable (or whatever you are trying to
achieve with your journaling Ė personally Iím taking mine with me into the
Great Beyond) if they arenít full of beautiful artwork, esoteric thoughts
and photographs of the kids? I live in a tiny gold rush town in California.
Thereís one very popular book about the earliest times of our area and guess
what, there isnít a piece of the authorís artwork in it. Itís the diary of a
miner. Yes indeed, this man wrote down where he was, what his bacon cost,
how much money he made, his thoughts on people he saw and the other entire
minutia that make up the days of most of our lives. This is also what drives
our townís tourists and visitors to buy his book. They want to know about
the lives of the people who lived here as well as their artistic
endeavors. My journal is to record my life, but more importantly it is to
help me live my life.
In my previous career I was
a hyper-organized office-type. I had systems and files and sticky notes and
highlighters and calendars and all the other tools it takes to maintain the
modern departmental organization. When I left that job I thought Iíd walked
away from all that but it looks like 17 years of being organized got under
my skin. I have a lot of organization tricks that make my journals into the
multi-function tools that I need. Yes, it means that my journals usually
bristle with things (ugly troll-like things, fit only to live under bridges,
not beautiful, artistic, blonde things). Tape flags stick out the edges,
pages get torn out to accommodate the thickness of I-Zone pictures, glued-in
items make the pages warp. Pretty? No. Good art? Occasionally. Functional?
Click here to go to
part 2 of this article series.