Of course it’s natural at the start of a new year to set goals for yourself, and since I was also starting a fresh art journal, I thought it was appropriate to outline a few goals for myself for my journaling practice. It has become a regular part of my regular routine, and though I don’t sit down with my journal every day, if a week goes by without out at least a little coloring and gluing I start to feel repressed and out-of-sorts.
One of my goals this year (that didn’t actually make it on to the page) is to keep my workspace neater and more organized, so that when a moment presents itself, I can sit down and journal without having to clear a space first. Just before the holidays, I splurged on my mental well-being by buying some new craft storage units which will hopefully inspire me to keep things neater. At the very least, they have allowed me to eliminate the pile of boxes that had accumulated around the foot of my desk, which means it’s just easier to get at.
The other thing I need to do now is sort through the masses of craft supplies I have stashed away and get rid of things I’m not using currently. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with #5 above: use the supplies I’ve got instead of giving into the temptation to buy more. I’m going to start sorting through things, and I’ve thought about doing a give-away here, but I’m not sure if I’ve got the readers to make it worthwhile. Would you be interested in getting some free art supplies? If you think you might be, please leave a comment!
Another goal of mine is to start writing more in my journal. I know it’s not absolutely necessary to write in an art journal, but I think it’s important step for me right now as a writer. I am one of those people who holds my inner thoughts and emotions very privately, often hiding what I feel even from myself. But not being able to write about my own emotional landscape is limiting what I can accomplish writing fiction—I can’t write about my own emotional journey, how can I ever portray the emotional journeys of my characters?
Art journaling in the past year has helped me to build a bridge with imagery between my conscious and unconscious selves. Now it’s time to extend the bridge further, to put words to the feelings, hopes, fears and dreams that drive my creative expressions.
Still, it’s very hard to break the bonds of privacy and put those thoughts in writing, to expose myself in such a concrete way. I’m trying to devise ways that encourage me to write what I need to write without feeling like I’m exposing myself to the world.
One such method is sealed notes pasted onto the page. I’ve had these envelopes, each with a delicate piece of letter paper folded inside, for years and years, waiting for the “perfect” project to use them in. Now they will hold “secret” thoughts of mine, things I need to acknowledge to myself but not to anyone else. Maybe as I get braver, I will leave the envelopes unsealed.
Another method that I’ve been successful with in non-art journaling I call “compartments.” Dividing the space on the page is a psychological trick: it’s not the whole page you have to fill, just this one little part of it. On the other hand, you do have to fill the whole compartment, which frequently pushes you to be just a little more creative, a little more expressive than you might otherwise have been. The other aspect of compartments that is useful is that the compartments on a page don’t have to necessarily relate to one another directly; one might contain thoughts about a dream, another a quote you heard that day that you found interesting, a third a list of synonyms for the color blue. It eliminates the need to build a coherent “essay” while journaling, which is the trap I always tend to fall into.
Below is an example of what compartments might look like in an art journal‚unfinished of course. I will fill in the boxes with words and images alike.