I wholeheartedly believe in journaling. I believe it is of crucial importance to anyone pursuing any creative journey. I do understand how some people are intimidated or put off the idea when the traditional method of journaling is considered. You know: “Dear Diary, Today I got up at 7, got dressed, blah, went to work, talked to, blah blah, went here, got home blah blah blah…” Not only is this tedious it is often not fun reading back. In retrospect (especially if one has a critical mind) one feels narcissistic and lame, it seems too childish to actively pursue and get excited about.

When I journal I focus on capturing experience, this is often difficult to accomplish when limited to a certain medium. So I expanded and currently work in over 6 journals. One for quotes, one for daily activities, one for personal study notes, one for prose, an informal visual diary, a pencil sketch journal and another larger A2 visual journal. (And ofcourse this blog adds another dimension to my journaling adventure) I cut, and paste, and scrapbook, and sketch, and write, and collect all together in order to fulfil my journaling needs.

Journaling has many purposes for me, one of which is critical development. I have the opportunity to archive; study and synthesize different aspects of my creative journey. Not all my journals run chronologically from the front page to the back. I often just sketch or paste whatever wherever I think it looks good. A benefit of this technique is it enables non-linear thinking. I even collect and paste doodles I sketch during the day that I could rework or use, and often do.

I also use my journals for more practical purposes such as prioritising projects or tasks, whether long-term or day-to-day. Coming up with and developing strong concepts are easier when one can recognize progress in one’s storyboarding or brainstorming. I also often take notes while reading or while watching documentaries, these build into an interesting tapestry of ideas and observations. This is especially useful when I’m busy with papers, since the topic is always on my mind and I manage (to everyone’s annoyance) to always relate it to whatever is happening around me. When I then start writing a first draft I already have a network of ideas to build on.

Another, rather romantic, quality of journaling is its nostalgic powers. When done right, the simple pleasure of reminiscing and paging through an intricate and rich representation of one’s journeys is fulfilling in itself. Not continually lingering in, or lusting after the past, but appreciating and celebrating your unique worldview. Journals are also not limited to retrospective recording, and thanks to a recent trend in spirituality fuelled by books and films such as The Secret, everyone is aware of the benefits of visualization. When recording and actively engaging in representing one’s visualisations the mind maps goals in innovative ways.

These are the benefits I have experienced from my forms of journaling. How I use my notebooks to increase and manage my productivity. I hope that readers will comment about their experiences with journaling and inspire me to expand on my library. (How exciting, book shopping!)

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