Friday, 19 November 2010

Travel Journal Preparation

Every time before I go on a trip, I go through a ritual. I pick out my travel journal.  I must admit, being a journal addict, I rarely had to actually go out and buy a new journal, because I buy them when I find them, which means I usually have a selection at home. Not so much with travel journals usually, but this time I was lucky. I had bought one while wandering through a shop, and found a lovely journal on sale, and I had another one that my sister gave me for Christmas a year or so ago.
I decided to go with the one my sister gave me, because I like it better, and I was saving it for a reasonably long trip so I could fill it. It has quite wide rules, so with pre-trip journaling, on-trip journaling, and post-trip journaling, I should be able to fill it. At least I should, if I don't get lazy (sometimes that happens.) So now the journal is selected.
First step is to write down dates of the trip on the front page, then create couple of pages for an Index. Then I start with bit of pre-trip journaling. Include itinerary, expectations, why I picked this destination etc. Whatever I fancy really. That way, I also experiment with different pens and find out what works better on each journal, so that I know what pens to take on my trip.
Besides breaking in a new journal, the most exciting part is doing research on travel journals. I must admit, I don't really need to do this - but I enjoy it. Often I would just browse through pictures of people's travel journals on Google images or flickr, or I would read articles about keeping travel journals. It motivates me. It inspires me. It gets me excited about my travel journal.
Travel journaling is very important for my own memories, but it is also a learning process. I aim to make each of my journal better than the last one, to capture the full extent of my experience. It doesn't always happen, because sometimes at the end of a long day, I can't be bothered to write. Sometimes I end up writing too much about my feelings and not enough of facts, or sometimes too many facts and not enough about my personal impressions.
Also, being a good travel journal keeper helps tremendously with regular journals. It is the same process. It is just that quite often we forget to look at our everyday world with fresh eyes. We forget to look for exciting things, just because we walk past them. So whenever I keep a travel journal, I inevitably get much better involved in my day-to-day journal too.
What about you? Do you keep travel journals? Do you have any special methods of selecting a journal? Do you write every day on your trip, or occasional tid-bids?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Meet a Journal Keeper - Dave

Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers my journaling style.  

First off let me say how surprised to read your last journaler's post.  It's a guy!  I meet so few guys that journal, or admit to it anyway, that I was in total shock.  

I started serious journaling when my son was in sixth grade.  He English teacher told the class that they all has to keep a journal and write in it each and every day.  He was quite bummed about this "chore" and so I promised him I'd keep one too.  We went down to the local dollar store and bought the two smallest ones we could find.  They were sort of girlie so we covered them in manly contact paper.  

He kept to his promise and I to mine.  At the end of the year we sat down and shared portions of our journals with each other, especially the days when we did things together.  It was interesting to hear his perspective on these days.  He said he was a little sad to see the journal year end.  Then we decided to try another year.  He and I have kept one every year since.  Although we have moved up to the bigger journals without the tiny locks.

When he graduated I pulled some stores and quotes from my journal and created a scrapbook with pictures.  It was the hit of the grad party.  Everyone wanted to read the stores.

I now have about 20 journals.  I do wish I had started earlier. So now I encourage everyone to start now.  You'll be glad you did.

I have a few requirements for my journals: 
  • They must have at least 365 pages (I write a page a day)
  • They must be sewn bound (my journals get a beating)
  • I only use waterproof ink (usually a fountain pen)
  • It must be at least 5 x 7 (most are 6 x 8)

I usually write at the end of the day and try to focus on the positive.  I sometimes whine but try to keep that to a minimum.  Who wants to read a whiner?  I certainly don't, even if it is me.

In the last three years I've been adding sketches to my journals.  I usually sketch something simple, my lunch, a chair, whatever happens to be at hand and then at the end of the day do my journaling around it. I often add watercolor washes.  My journals become quite interesting when I travel.

Although I also keep an electronic journal (usually about 750 words a day), I find the paper journal most relaxing and enjoyable to look over later.  I have attempted to keep an index of my paper journal in an electronic spreadsheet.  My idea was to be able to locate the entries by keyword.  But I haven't kept it consistently.

I also keep a work journal that relates to software design.  These are more diagrams and pictures.  But I never mix secular work journals and personal journals.  That's just my style and it seems to work for me.

Anyway my personal journal, and now my illustrated journal, has become such a part of my everyday life I can't imagine doing without it.  Sometimes is clears my head, at other times it's just relaxing, at still later times it brings great satisfaction to look back and see the progress I've made.

Also, in the last three years I've been adding sketches to my journals.  Here are a few examples from the last three years:
Thanks again for the opportunity to share.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Dr. Who Moleskine

My new Plain Moleskine. It's the first one that I decided to decorate, and Dr. Who stickers seemed like the best way to start!

I absolutely love this moleskine, and this will be my 20th Journal, which I will be starting today, having finished my 19th Journal (236 pages), in one day less than 4 months. 

I am hooked on decorating covers now, so looking forward to buying more journals to spruce up.

Anyone know where I can buy Stargate stickers? ;)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Moleskine Pen Test

I bought some new pens to try with my moleskine. I have used several before, but not been satisfied with any. 

Here, I must point out - it depends on the moleskine too. For my Moleskine Sketchbook, I have a perfect pen. Pentel Energel 0.7. It works fabulously on thick sketchbook pages.

But my quest this time was for plain or ruled moleskine, which has thinner pages. After reading several reviews from other moleskine users, I bought five pens.

Uniball Signo 207, 0.7
Pilot G-Tec - C4
Pilot G2-0.38
Pilot G2-0.5
Pilot G2-0.7

Yes, four of them were Pilot, because it's a good, trusty brand, and I knew it was just a matter of finding the right fit. I tested all of them, and these are my results:

Pilot G-Tec-C4 and Pilot G2-0.38, while excellent are not for me. Their very fine point are more suited to sketching than writing. For writing, I find them bit rough on the page, and the writing is quite light. But I tried a few doodles, and it definitely works. Unfortunately, I am not much of a sketcher, so I will just find some other uses for them, or there is always doodling.

Pilot G2 - 0.5 - very good. This is the pen most frequently recommended by other moleskine users. I liked it. It's comfy, and it flows, but I did find it bit hesitant on the page.

Pilot G2 - 0.7 and Uniball Signo 207, 0.7 - my favourites, and perfect for me. I don't know if I like one of them better. I guess I will find out after more use. But the ink flows very smoothly. There is absolutely no roughness to it. Writing comes out properly black, dark, just as I like it, and 0.7 is definitely more suited to A LOT of writing. Between the two, I would buy either one of these or both for use with my moleskine, and probably other writing material too. 

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Meet a Journal Keeper - Chuck


About 9 months ago I started writing everything down. At the time I was going through a rough patch and saw this exercise as a way to get all the worries out of my head and into a system where I could begin to deal with them. Over time the problem was dealt with, but I continued to "log my days". While not really a "journal", my daylog goes with me everywhere and I try to write down important (or not so important) details so I have a history of my days and a better feel for when I did things.

Since my current set-up only accommodates about 8-10 weeks of logging, I put together a "how-to" for myself on the steps necessary to prepare a new journal each time I run out of space in an old one. I've attached a pdf of my steps (with pictures).

I keep a full fledged blog-journal complete with rambling entries and in-depth analysis of dreams and plans and problems. But I don't write in it everyday. I *do* write in the daylog everyday though. Even if it's a line or two. In preparation for this guest post I went back and I went back and looked through my main journal for mentions of my daylog and pulled these lines from random entries: (Keep in mind - these are entries in my FULL-FLEDGED JOURNAL, but it's amazing how much I refer to the daylog and use it to make notes that I reference in a journal entry later...)

- Memo notebook – Daylog and TODO list – kept with me as often as possible, write down everything

- Good news! We got food this time! Bad news – the service is just as bad as we remembered. I jotted down some details in my daylog and Carrie asked if I was writing down something about the horrible service. I handed her the book and told her “this isn’t a secret” She read the whole thing from April 11 till present. She commented on my writing style which was nice and I felt good that she knew I wasn’t keeping anything from her. It’s just my newest method to keep from going crazy.

- Crissy saw me jotting stuff down in my daylog and mentioned that I should make a note about seeing a pirate, so I did.

- I’ve got a hell of a lot of recapping to do. Luckily I’m keeping the daylog. I’ll just hit some highlights:

- Wednesday I started a food journal. I usually write down what I had for different meals in my daylog just for reference. But now I’m trying to writing down portions (at least servings) and I’m including snacks too.

- I’m living by my daylog.

- Another few days have crept by without me writing, but have no fear – I have the highlights in my daylog.

- I still have plenty to do and am making an effort to keep track of everything. If anything – I can say that my daylog book is getting far more use than this journal. I’m all about writing down things as they happen

- I’ve nearly perfected my daylog method. I’ll get closer with my TODO’s. I’ve put this blog together to my random babbling to myself. I’ll eventually find the system that works for me. I just gotta keep at it.

- I’ve been maintaining my daylog. In fact on on volume two! Over the past few months I’ve come to discover what I’m good at and what I’m not.

- I’ve been daylogging and journaling now for almost a year.

- I’m wondering what it’ll take to bring me back to writing here every day again. I’d hate to think I need a crisis in order to document things (then again – I *am* still keeping the daylog) and I sure as hell don’t want anything to get me all riled up (that’ll happen on it’s own soon enough, I’m afraid).

- I mean, there’s been plenty of things to write about. For whatever reason I’ve decided to just keep track in my daylog instead.

- It all started last year with the car problem. It’s continued to be a source of comfort for me to be able to write whether it be here or in my daylog. It might be the OCD, but I feel better having documented things each day.
What are you afraid of?
P. S - if you would like a PDF copy of Chuck's Day-Log hack, then please email me. It's much more readable.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Meet a Journal Keeper - Kevin

Hi Dolly,
Journal Keeper

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your delightful website!  Your website is one of the few websites I try to visit every day.  

I love to journal and have been doing so for most of my life.  I started in middle school (11-12 years old?) and now I am 49 years old.  I have saved all of my journals and I love to occasionally glance back through them.  It is so interesting to see where I was and what I was thinking 10 years ago or even 6 months ago.  I have never been good at keeping photo albums so my journals also function as a kind of photo album since I often paste pictures I have taken in them, even more so these days with the proliferation of digital cameras and cheap, high quality color printers.
Mostly I write my daily activities, cerebral ponderings, doodles, quotes, drawings and ideas.  

I also love to cut things out of magazines and paste them into my journal as well.  I also tend to paste in movie tickets, receipts from restaurants I really liked and stickers I find or are donated by my kids.  I carry my journal with me everywhere.  It is in my briefcase on the way to work and it sits on my desk while I am working so I can jot down ideas if a good one strikes.  I carry it with me when I go to the doctors office or when I am dining out alone.  It is my friend and constant companion.

I have discovered I write best when my kids are with me.  They are most assuredly my muse and always fill my head with wild imaginings.  This is the way it is with kids.  They think so freely and without reserve.  They revel and joy in life’s simple pleasures and in that wonderful sparkling mirror they bounce that blissful spirit to all of those around them.  I don’t know what I would be without them.  They have started journaling themselves and it fills my heart with joy to sit down and write, doodle or draw with them.   

We are all pen and pencil fanatics and love to go to local art stores on the weekends to pick a new, cool pen or pencil to write with for the rest of the weekend.  I keep a few tins and jars on my writing desk that are filled with colorful and fun pens and pencils that we all pilfer from regularly.
Warm regards,

Kevin  (AKA Laser T. Swift)


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Guest Series Open Invitation to All Journal Keepers

Hello Folks, 

I am opening this blog to other journal keepers after receiving a fabulous post from Kevin, whose post will be up tomorrow. It will be a series titled: MEET A JOURNAL KEEPER 

If you want to share your journaling experience, please send pictures from your journal (you can just send a cover photo or your picture if you don't want to share any pages), as many as you like, and whatever you would like to add about your journaling habits, how long have you kept journals, anything really. 

It will be your post, so it can be anything you want. It doesn't matter what kind of journal you keep - daily, weekly, dream whatever. You are all welcome. 

This will be open and on-going series with a slot open every Wednesday, so if you are interested, please email post to me at lostwanderer5 [at] gmail [dot] com 

Happy Journaling! 

NaNoWriMo Craziness

Yup, it's that time of the year again. November has rolled around, and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has started, and of course I am participating. My journal is participating alongside me, as I am sharing my NaNo updates with my journal, as well as my journal outlook on productivity, what's working and what isn't. It's exciting. It's fun. It's challenging. And it is certainly productive. 

Are you participating? 

Do you share your important projects with your journal?