Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Journaling: A Creative Adventure for Creativity!

With the recent change in decade (in case you missed it- from 2009 to now 2010) I feel I am need of getting back in touch with my creative side. Since there is so much going on already in my life (recap- recently moved to Key West, working from home, school, trying to lose weight, keeping up with friends and family, trying to start a business and now to add another element?) I decided it was necessary that I find some solution for planning and creative development. I have done plenty of research on this and finally found the perfect combination of solutions. Now let's just hope they all work!

Over the years I’ve developed this obsession with planners. The daily planner setup was appealing, but never seemed to stick. Each system had its own design of the same thing: to-do list, calendar, notes, budget, etc. Where was the right fit for me? When would I find the fun, funky and eclectic-designed planner that was right for me?

A few months ago I started this search once again. I found nothing but the same thing: To-do list, calendar, notes, budget, etc. Sure, some were on bright-colored paper, but nothing jumped out at me as strikingly different. I decided to start researching and gathering resources and building ideas for my own system. Here’s what I found:

My resources:

D*I*Y* Planner
A terrific resource for “planner junkies”; all who have struggled and searched for the perfect planner and found nothing they like. They’ve all given up on buying expensive system after system and decided to take matters into their own hands: the Do It Yourself Planner. Most people have taken parts of different systems and pieced them together to make them work functionally into their lives. I’ve used this site more as an inspiration source than a resource for supplies.

The Creative Entrepreneur
This is a recent book I purchased that was written with those working for themselves in the creative field (think writer, painter, singer, etc). Since I am struggling between a more traditional entrepreneur track (the IT business) vs. a highly competitive and, some would argue, unlikely profession (singing) I decided it was best to fuel both desires by approaching each option with a creative yet functional manner. This book helps those with a less traditional business plan to think visually, set goals and create steps to make them obtainable. This book walks you through setting up a visual journal. It’s a hodge-podge of writing and drawing (or other art form) to think clearly for the creative minded.

The Bubble Planner
This planner was designed for the left-handed. Rather than a daily planner, this method focuses on making goals in all areas of life and creating action plans to make them reality. Additionally it teaches “mind mapping”; which is a more visual way of note-taking and planning.

This system is based off a circular disc binding system. The best way to describe this is spiral notebook, but functional. The discs are replaceable so you can expand them in size as your pages increase. Additionally, the pages are easily and quickly removed to reorganize on a whim. There are similar systems out there (Rollabind) but Levenger was the system that initially caught my eye.

Google and my Android phone
Android for the G1 (and now my Nexus One) syncs up with Google’s servers to bring you the best of Google Mail, Calendars, Contacts and even more. This means I can view, edit and create emails, appointments and contact information while on the go or stationary at my desk. I won’t go into how I discovered this (would you believe Android and I found each other on accident?) but it works for me. Finally! I can set myself an appointment and have default reminders to go off at the specified time frame I choose! That means no matter what appointment I create, I will always be reminded; at my desk or on the go!

Sanity Journals
Being out of the journaling loop for so long I felt I needed some guiding or inspiration. I signed up for this website because it’s free and it emails me once a week to remind me of a new journaling assignment. The assignments, so far, have been open ended questions about how to improve my writing and grow my inner-peace. The reminders are just what I need to get started (until it’s down to a daily science).

With all of that (overwhelming) information, I have pieced together what I hope to be the perfect system for me.

Day to Day/Appointments/Reminders
Set on Google Calendar. The default reminder is set to “bug” me with an email at 1 hour before and a pop-up reminder at 10 minutes prior. When I’m away from my computer, my phone delivers the reminders to me. I’m always in the know when it comes to my own schedule. Additionally, Gmail has a feature allowing you to setup a daily agenda that is sent via email. Every day at 5 am, I get an email that outlines my day and what I have planned. I check emails before I even get out of bed in the morning, so I know what to expect for the day.

A lined post-it note stack fastened to the inside of my journal cover. I can make a new to-do list for each day and toss it when I’m done. I don’t need to keep things like “switch laundry, pay bills, call Honda” in my daily journaling and archives. I’m trying to create separate spaces for different tasks. The current to do list is placed on the next empty page, which I’ll be opening my journal pages to every day, even if I don’t write anything down for the day (though it’s my goal to write something every day).

Journaling/Song Ideas
The journal: The covers (plain black sturdy plastic) were taken from the Bubble Planner I received. The turquoise discs are expanded in size (jumbo) that I purchased from Rollabind. I want a big fat book that I’m able to take with me almost anywhere. The “guts” are filled with notepads from previous planning systems and a few note pages that I designed myself (some with heavy dark lines, some with very faint lines- both designed with my initials in the top corner). The pages with dark heavy lines may never be used and thus replaced with something holding a bit less weight to them. I like the faint line pages I designed because the lines are there to provide me a guide for straight writing, but faint enough that if I wanted to draw they wouldn’t interfere with my design. I plan to organize everything chronologically rather than by subject. This may change…depending on how difficult it is for me to recall previous notes and information.

The binding is on the right – to be left-handed friendly, of course!

Drawing and Releasing My Creative Side
I mentioned above that some of the pages have faint lines so as to not interfere with any doodling or pictures. I haven’t drawn on a regular basis in years. I love to draw and paint (and recently-using Illustrator); I love to create! Images come into my head so many times during the day and I’ve decided to act upon those and make them into reality. Just a few weeks ago I saw a design in the bathroom carpet and took a picture of it. Weird? Yes. But I was inspired and didn’t have time to draw just then, so a snapshot will help me to recall that inspiration.

In the back of my journal I have a zippered pouch filled with various stickers. This was a recommendation from The Creative Entrepreneur; to use any medium around you that is inspiring and helps create your ideas into an image or work of art on the page.

I also have a chunk of loose papers in the back of the journal (right side-below) which are previous notes and entries that I made before I crafted this ensemble. I don’t plan to keep these here; they will soon be placed in the journal or copied in. I believe it won’t be uncommon, however, to find a few pieces of loose articles in the back. Perhaps an article I want to take notes on, a brochure or sticker that I want to artistically incorporate in the journal, etc.

The Other Parts
I’ve also created some other regular use-items that will make up my entire “creative kit”.

The Bubble Planner (right hand side-below) is a great tool for me to focus on goals in every aspect of my life and make steps to put them into action. I plan to review this on a regular basis, yet not daily, so I’ve incorporated it into my kit.

LA Weight Loss Food Journal (left hand side-below)
This is the food plan I am *trying* to follow. It showed me success in 2007 and I’m looking to repeat that success. In order to do so, I know I need to record everything I eat. Putting it in my kit makes it easy to remember this habit on a daily basis.

Crayola Markers for the creative side-again, another suggestion from The Creative Entrepreneur.

Extra Post-It notes for my to-do lists

Pencil and Fine Tip ink pen for a variety of options when it comes to writing or drawing.

Leather Zipper Portfolio
This was taken from a previous Day Timer planner that I bought many years ago. I never used the insides and had a friend gut the binding out of the center. I can fit all of the above in this portfolio and zip it shut. The leather is durable and looks professional. Perfect!

The finished product(s)!

While I get started, today, on my new journal I am realizing that not only did I need to do this to get organized, but the whole process of putting this together and thinking of how to utilize what I had was in of itself a creative outlet for me. I haven’t even gotten started on writing yet, but I already feel so refreshed!

My hope is that my creativity can inspire someone to do something great for themselves! The resources I posted above are fantastic and can help a wide variety of people. Check them out!

1 comment:

Teresa and Brian said...

Looks and sounds great! Good for you and gook luck!!