The book form suggests
order, chronology. Break those repressive bonds! Let your journal reflect
your real life, in all its chaotic, smudged, torn, happy, tense,
artistic, dreary and creative forms. It will be a much better tool and,
since it will reflect your life, it will mean so much to you and others
who may read it later.
Keep in mind that these
are just ideas. Take or leave any or all of them. Even I donít do all of
them all the time. Sometimes the Creativity Hamster strikes when I donít
have a tape flag with me.
A catalog company named
ĎLevengerí makes a great product called ĎPage Points.í They are little
pieces of metal bent in half. Each is made to hold not only your page
but also the sentence you were reading when you put your book or
journal down. Iíve been using them to mark the first empty page of my
journal so that I donít have to flip back and forth when something is
rattling around in my brain and trying to break out.
3-M sells a product
called Ďtape flags.í They come in several colors and have a Post-It
style temporary adhesive on them. The idea is that you stick one to a
piece of paper and the colored flag sticks beyond the edge of the paper.
Since I use my journal for so many different things, I use the tape
flags to help me remember to go back and do things. Red means
Ďimportant;í blue is a class idea; purple is for art ideas or things I
want to try in the Studio, etc. If you donít have Page Points (see
above) you can also use a specific tape flag color to mark your first
empty page. Available at office supply stores.
Quite often when Iím
journaling Iíll start to write about whatever motivated me to pick up my
journal but then Iíll want to write a bit about my environment or who
Iím with or whatnot. If I think of it in time, I write about my
environment at the bottom of the page at a 45į angle to the rest. This
keeps the distracting (though sometimes essential) environmental
information from getting mixed up with the other topics. You could do
this with different colored inks or use some other meaningful way to
break the information up, such as a large star, a highlighter or a drawn
If Iím going somewhere
specifically to write or sketch in my journal I may take a lot of other
stuff too, but at the very least I will have these items with me: my
journal, a glue stick, a pen, a pencil and an eraser. I keep them in a
Ziploc bag so that I can throw them into my purse, backpack, glove
compartment or coat pocket. I suppose some artsy carrying case or a
decorated cigar box would be better but a Ziploc bag seems to make some
kind of statement about my life.
If you like to glue
things into your journal, do it right away. Otherwise youíll fill up the
spaces with writing and end up gluing your souvenirs several pages after
writing about the event. Thatís the voice of experience and I still
almost never follow my own advice.
Sometimes Iíll find that
Iíll have a zillion tape flags in my journal. To make my life easier
Iíll make a Ďcatch upí page and collect like thoughts together, removing
tape flags as I go. Itís also a great way to collect your thoughts when
preparing to complete a project youíve been mulling over for a while
(like this article, which helps explains why it's 3 parts).
When you fill one
journal and are preparing to move to the next, move anything unfinished
into the new book and mark the pages with their respective tape flags
(or whatever) from the old book. If you donít do this youíll probably
never go back and review the notes in time to make deadlines. Donít
forget to date the first page of your new journal and use the year.
I find that my journal
is best for sketching, stream-of-consciousness writing and other forms
of non-linear thought. In addition to my journal I use a Palm for
storing things like grocery lists. While Iím moving information from one
journal to the next I also convert any pertinent items to bytes.
Review your journal
pages every few days. This is a great bubble bath activity. Youíll be
surprised at what you may have forgot already and the bathroom door has
I like to go back and
annotate my old journal entries so that subsequent notes have context.
It also feels great to physically check off something youíve
accomplished since you first had the thought. And yes, Iím one of those
people who writes something on a list just so that I can scratch it off.
Issue # 15
Christine Cox was a regular
contributor to ARTitude Zine. This article originally appeared
and is reprinted here with permission. Unfortunately, ARTitude is no longer
Christine Cox teaches
metalsmithing and bookbinding classes in our Studio in Volcano, CA.