In Context: Productivity Matters in Visual Journaling

June 8, 2022

Productivity matters. I believe it matters more than pretty pages in visual journaling.

I say this after keeping a journal almost daily for over 62 years. (I started very, very early because it was important to me to note down what I saw, and because my mother liked that I was occupied.)

In my last post I talked about not worrying or stressing if everything on a page spread went together. The important thing is to keep sketching and observing.

You can thumb through your book when it’s filled or at the end of the week, and look at what connections your subconscious and conscious mind are making.

In the meantime keep in the flow.

The most important reason to do this is that your internal critic, if you have one and he’s vocal, won’t be able to get a word in edgewise.

If he tries to attack your pages as “sucky” you can wave him off with a good natured nod.

You know what you set your intention to. You know that you wanted to observe and note things. You know that you wanted to test out a new brush pen, or work on your color mixing. You know so many more things than he can ever know about what you intended to do. He doesn’t have the information to tell you your work is sucky.

Intention is your armor against him. That and the pages and pages of evidence that you have been following through on your goals.

If you’ve just finished a particularly “rough” page and your internal critic pipes up about how sucky it is, or awful, boring, dull—whatever he likes to stick you with do this:

Physically SMILE and say (silently or aloud, your choice) what your intention was and how happy you are that you got x, y, and z accomplished. (X, y, and z being SPECIFIC things in your sketch or page layout that you really like and can savor.)

Your Editing Eye will help you find these things to savor the more you work and hone your skills. There is always at least one line, one dot of stubble you can enjoy and build on for next time. You Editing Eye will always talk to you in specifics that you can work on to change.

There isn’t much you can do to move off the block of “sucky” but if you look at your sketch and see that you needed more white space here, or less line pressure there, or that your angles around the eyes are off and you lost the likeness, well ALL those specific things can be worked on, whether it means you just have to slow down and work more carefully or that you have to take a class to understand color theory. 

Thinking and talking to yourself about your art in this positive way, which brings specific change, will allow you to keep working and keep making pages. And productivity is the quickest way to reach your goals.

Practice is the only path forward.

Which brings us back to the value of productivity. See how that works?

Start thinking and talking about your work in a different way. 

Be productive.

Productivity matters not because you’re practicing and producing more and more “pretty” pages.

Productivity matters because you are learning a whole new definition of what “pretty” is, within the context of learning and expanding your skills.

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