International Fake Journal Month Talk at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective

March 19, 2015

On Monday, March 16, 2015 I spoke about International Fake Journal Month (IFJM) at the MCBA Visual Journal Collective. I explained a little bit about the background and what IFJM is, why I started doing it as a much younger person and why I shared it with students in 2000 and then later went public on the internet with it in 2009. You can read all about that on my other blog the Official International Fake Journal Blog. 

Since 2009 several people have joined in each year. The number has steadily grown. Usually there are a dozen or so people sharing their fake journals on line and listed in the participants roll. (On the Official Fake Journal blog if you scroll the right-hand column you’ll find lists of participants for various years. You can click on a name and see what they did. Many others have participated privately and sent me tidbits. (I actually recommend that if you are keeping one for the first time you do it privately so that comments of others don't create additional issues for you.) It has actually grown so much that when I was still making buttons for the event I had to order 150 to have enough to send out. And then I had to stop making buttons because it became a huge endeavor for me to package and send out buttons! 

I love that it has grown so much, but I'm sad about not having the buttons. We still do have a slogan every year. You can see it on the other blog, a painting of a young boy and "[considered] Truths." (Don't worry, you don't have to gear your fake journal to the slogan, though some people enjoy playing with that.

On Monday at my talk I handed out a list of links and to make it easier for people to find things I said I would post them on my blog so they could just click. This isn't an exhaustive set of links.I've had a public blog for 6 celebrations and we are about to start the seventh. I have written many posts on the fake journal blog containing tips on how to select a book, paper, media. I've given instruction on how to create or discover a character, write from the character's perspective, avoid the pitfalls of anachronisms (just avoid historical fake journals all together, you'll have more than 15 minutes a day in research let alone creating a piece), and make time for the project in your life. I have also explained how I used the process in my teaching and why I recommend it for people of all skill levels. You can visit my other blog and use the search engine to delve into all of that if it grabs your interest. You'll also find media reviews.

If you're simply wondering what IFJM is then click here.

I put flip throughs of my fake journal up on the other blog and on YouTube. It's easier to give you links to YouTube because of the way Blogspot lists the posts in the blog calendar.

I've embedded some of my favorite public flip throughs and linked to other public flip throughs:


This was done on my old, old camera and the quality is not the best but it's fun to look through it as a book and hear the pages which are warp, crackle as they are turned. You can see clear, crisp scans of these pages if you go to the fake journal blog and scroll through the posts for April 2009. There's is usually a delay before I start posting my pages because I let about a week accumulate before I scan them, and I want to be well into it before people have an opportunity to comment.



Without a doubt my most ambitious fake journal, full of fakery. I was going crazy in my life so why shouldn't my character go crazy in my fake journal.

In 2011 I also had blogs for my character's pen names Esther Rayde and Hydra Seetre

To view the 2012 fake journal you can start at the April 7, 2012 post, and scroll through from there. I didn't make a flip through that year.


This is the journal that might have "broken" me. It's messy and whacky and I love it. My real journals have been a lot messier since this journal, and I'm loving that as well.

If you take time to read the related posts to these videos or the wrap-up posts I do each year about my process (those wrap-ups usually post in May), you'll understand a bit more about what happened, what I was trying to do, and what I learned.

This year I'm also doing something different. There will be a Facebook group. Right now it's a public group and you can go and join. On April first it will become a private group. I'm doing this so that people who want to share their journal with "the public" can do so in a somewhat controlled fashion—a public who understands what they are trying to do. It was suggested (by a long-time participant) that this might be useful. (If after April 1 you would like to participate via the Facebook group please write to me at rozjournalrat at gmail dot com and attache jpgs for 3 consecutive days from your fake blog, then I'll work out a way to get you in the group (Facebook sometimes confuses me!).

Of course it's also possible to keep a separate and dedicated blog of your fake journal, and many, many participants have done that over the years and enjoyed doing that. So if you go to the fake journal blog and click on those participant lists I mentioned earlier they will take you to public blogs containing their journal entries. (There are several places you can set up a free blog.)

For most people that option works best if you want to have a completely open-to-the-public posting of your fake journal. Additionally it keeps all your posts together in chronological order. If that matters to you please think about doing that.

Remember too that you can participate without posting publicly. The majority of participants participate privately. They send me a few emails and let me know what they are up to, usually attaching a jpg or two. But they don't want the public exposure. I appreciate that. Sometimes they agree to do a wrap up at the end of the month about their process, but the entire project stays pretty much private.

If you read about what a fake journal is and think it might be a project for you I hope you'll join in this year and create your own. If you've just started to keep a real journal and want to focus on that I understand, but I still encourage you to go to my other blog and read the tips and helpful posts because another thing IFJM allows me to do it to keep teaching the process of real journaling.

And please visit the other blog to see my 2015 fake journal when it goes up.

Remember: Life’s so short, why live only one?

    • Alison A
    • March 19, 2015

    Just had a peek at the 2011 one over lunch… and fell about laughing over the closing credits… excellent 😀

  1. Reply

    This is such a fun idea, and I already have a concept for what I’d like to try. It’s a bit ambitious, and since it relies heavily on my personal creative writing, I might not be able to share publicly (though I’ll consider it), but it would still be incredibly entertaining.

  2. Reply

    Glad you enjoyed that one. It was a little over the top in how many components there were. I thought it really could end only one way.

  3. Reply

    So glad you enjoyed this Noel and are considering joining on. Please watch the fake journal blog in the next two weeks for what I hope are some helpful posts on getting started (there are already many helpful posts there so you can go and poke around in the categories list).

    Don’t worry about sharing something publicly. That can actually be a handicap—the urge to share. Get your idea in your mind and then think about ways that your daily journaling will fit into your day’s activities. When will you be able to put things aside and sit down and be that character for a short while. (Because remember it isn’t the same as writing fiction, many days you’ll need to find a way to switch from being you into being your character, sit down in the midst of an activity and say what would she do, and journal in that mode.)

    Also it’s important to keep things simple so that there isn’t a great time involvement. If you have something that can be executed in 15 minutes a day that works best. Thirty to 60 minutes is still doable.

    For MOST people more than 60 minutes a day is an impossible task because their lives are too busy. And you want to be able to do your real life at the same time.

    With all this in mind sit for a few moments today or tomorrow and think about how your plan will fit into 15 minutes each day. And have fun with it.

    If, when it’s all done, you would like to share a page or two with a larger group and would like to write what I call a “wrap-up” which is an analysis of what worked and what didn’t, what you enjoyed, what you learned about your character, journaling, writing, etc. Then contact me at the end of April. You can send me a wrap up (there are several you can read on the fake journal blog to see what I mean) within an email, and attach one or two jpgs. I’ll post it with a link to your blog (if you have one; this would be your regular blog since your aren’t doing a public posting all month) or no link if you want remain anonymous, on the fake blog.

    Regardless of whether or not you go public or you post a wrap-up, doing a wrap-up is a very important part of the project and I hope that you will read about it on the blog and watch in May as some are posted and watch at the end of April when I give more instructions on how to do one. It will allow you to gather your thoughts before you move on to the next project. And, should you decide, to participate next year for a second time, it will give you a clearer idea of a way forward that will be satisfying.

    Good luck.

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