Monday, January 11, 2021

Start a Creativity Journal for 2021


© creativecommonstockphotos /

Happy 2021! What are you going to write or make this year? Whatever it is, a good way to get started and stay on track is to use what I call a "creativity journal." Unlike a journal that records general daily thoughts and events, a creativity journal is a dedicated space solely for dreaming, planning, and keeping all of your "how to" notes and supply lists in one convenient place.

The notebook I'm using this year is the "Celeste" edition from Paperblanks and is meant to represent "a Venetian morning alight with marvels." (Sounds good to me!)

The journal is a handy 7" x 5", just right for quick thoughts as well as more serious contemplation. I especially like the elastic band (not shown) attached to the back cover that keeps the journal closed when I'm not using it. I also like the creamy, high-quality paper and the nifty pocket glued to the inside back cover, great for business cards, receipts, and oh, you know, stuff.

One of the first things I like to do with my creativity journal is divide the pages into various sections and headings that I can complete, and refer to, throughout the year. Once these sections are in place I can go back to them at any time. For instance, I have sections for each month of the year with further areas to list how I plan to fill in the weeks. Other sections are specifically to log my ongoing progress with tasks such as manuscript drafts, painting series, or maintaining my blog. My final journal pages are left blank for all those deep, meaningful questions always at the top of my mind, e.g., What do you long to make if time, money, and skill wasn't a problem? Very important issues!

More journal sections I've included in the past that you might like to try using are:  

  • A place to record accomplishments, finished projects, sales and reviews.
  • A section for how-to notes taken from books or magazine articles.
  • Areas to paste in small motivational magazine photos and quotes.
  • Pages for baby steps: things to do on a daily basis that will take me to the finishing line.
  • A place to list favorite supplies or ones I'd like to try in the future.
  • Sales opportunity pages: lists of agents, editors, craft fairs, online sales outlets
  • Pages devoted to ideas for branding, asking myself, What's my message; what's my theme?
  • A place to list possible workshops, classes, books to read, or any areas I need to research in order to accomplish my goals.
I'm sure you have plenty of other ideas for things to include in your own journal, but the one section I most enjoy is my vision board. This is something I usually spread over two facing pages, or better yet, the journal cover itself (unless, of course, I'm using a Paperblanks "Celeste" journal and wouldn't dream of pasting on a single sticker!). 
To make a vision board in your journal, simply start by asking: Where do I want to be by the end of the year? What kind of creative life do I want that will express my highest potential? 
Rather than writing out your answers, go with your intuition and fill your board with collage and artwork. Use magazine cut-outs, glitter pen doodles, fortune cookie sayings, vintage ephemera, bits of junk mail, anything that visually portrays your goals for a colorful, exciting, and satisfying year ahead.

Tip of the Day: Go slow. Take your time with your journal and remember creativity is a process. You've got a whole year ahead to fill in your journal pages with lists, plans, and ways to make your dreams come true; there's no need to rush. Some years I've had to wait all the way until December to know exactly what it was I wanted or needed to do. The main thing is to look upon your journal as yet another part of your creativity, so make it a joy to use. 

Wishing you the happiest of journal discoveries for a bright new year!