In which I rant a bit about the benefits of journaling.
I get questions all the time about how to keep journaling over time. I have addressed aspects of creating a solid journal habit in several posts. When I scanned this journal page and thought about whether I would post it or not I realized that it makes a point I always return to: "You are never too tired to work in your journal."
If you repeat that statement to yourself, and say it with meaning and believe it, you're on your way to a lifetime of visual journaling.
If you use that statement as your mantra:
1. You will be shutting your internal critic up (actually punching him in the gut which is way more fun).
2. You will not be holding paper or materials as too precious.
3. You will not be holding a prepainted background as too special or to be reserved for "When I can really do a full painting on it."
4. You will be letting go of perfect because of items 1 through 3.
5. You will be meeting your commitment to work every day on your sketching skills, even when you don't feel like it—which will have the result of increasing your skills over time even though you might not realize it as it is happening. (Think of this as exercising your creative muscles.)
6. You will reach your art goals sooner and feel better about them in general because of item 5.
7. You will be honoring your unique creative impulse.
8. You will be providing a model of how one honors his or her creative impulses to anyone around you (but it is particularly important if there are children present).
9. You will develop great work habits.
10. You will discover ways to take "mini breaks" that will refresh you for the really hard tasks in your life (and all lives have really hard tasks—they just appear differently).
11. You will experience waves and waves of serendipity and synchronicity. (The Doctor stamp on the above page spread was there when I got to this page in my journal. It just happened to be the day I took Dick's parents to their medical appointments. This is a small click of no real consequence, but happy coincidences following other happy coincidences just have the effect of making you happy—and I am not in anyway advocating a Dickensian universe where everything is connected (but it is), and where we all have a "happy ever after." Even he didn't believe that (who cried hardest when Little Nell died—but she died anyway didn't she!). I'm just saying it's very entertaining for that part of your brain that likes to scan and see globally. And modern life doesn't ask us to use those features often. And it rarely asks us to entertain ourselves…which leads me to…)
12. You will be entertaining yourself, your brain, that unique part of you which no one else has. Let's face it, you might think that Mr., Miss, Ms Wonderful is all that and really gets you, but when it comes right down to it, when it's crunch time and you have insight or epiphany, there is only one person on earth who really gets you and it sure would help the relationship if you learned to spend some time with that person: you.
13. You will become more comfortable with yourself because you have been spending more time getting to know who that "you" is (in a non-angst-filled way) and that will make you easier to be around. I'm not saying it will get you a date, but hey…
14. You will not be participating in unhealthy behaviors, such as wasting time making excuses, or "fill in your unhealthy behavior here."
15. You will discover that if you are not too tired to journal you are also not too tired to exercise, to cook a healthy meal, to make time for your family, to make time for your friends, and in general just to be more present in your life. (That's the bonus round folks!)
16. You will have less time for unproductive angst that stalls you and prevents you from reaching your goals, or simply enjoying your life (no small goal). (That's the double bonus round.)
17. You will remember to breathe. (That's the Jackpot round.)
18. You will come to believe it. (The fun, home-version, play it every day.)
Working in your journal when you think you might be too tired is actually the best way to make more time. But don't tell anyone, because if this ever got out—that there is actually a way to make more time—well just imagine everyone being present in his life and getting his work done and having time for creative pursuits and honoring the uniqueness of others (because he honors it in himself)—and just in general smiling all the time, well, really, what kind of a world would that be!