A few journaling tips

Notebooks are meant to be used, and I use many of mine for journaling. Here are a few journaling tips that I’ve found useful over the years:

  • Don’t constrain yourself to pre-dated or restrictive formats, just pick a not too fancy lined or blank notebook (or dot grid or squared). The notebook just needs to be nice enough and special enough for you to want to crack it open and write in it, but not too nice to be intimidating.
  • Start with a title and a date. The title is a neat way to get yourself writing, and to help you search through previous entries later on.
  • Even lined notebooks can be doodled in.

  • Stick bits and pieces of things into your notebook to make it come to life. Business cards are great for this (restaurants usually make their cards extra interesting and colourful), as are ticket stubs, clothing tags, labels, etc. Write a little something about what you put in, or just let the graphics speak for themselves.
  • If you just feel like writing a line or a paragraph, then do it and don’t beat yourself up about it.
  • If you’re having an extra busy day that you want to remember but don’t have time to fully log, bullet points are your friend. You can always go back and flesh them out later if you feel like it.
  • Write 2-3 things as topics for each day to avoid describing your breakfast and what you did at work. Just document a few things that made the day memorable, special, interesting, fun, unique, or even just a thing or two that are on your mind right now and you want to hash out.
  • Did you see a TV show or movie you liked? Read a good book or went to a good restaurant? Write about it as a way to relive and capture your good experience.
  • Be kind to yourself and others. Put cringeworthy things elsewhere, or you won’t want to open that notebook again. I work through pain and loss in my journaling sometimes, but never anger. Obviously your milage may vary on this one, just be careful not to make yourself be afraid to open a pandora box that you created with your own writing.

This Year’s Field Notes

This year’s filled up Field Notes notebooks all piled up:

And spread out:

I use them mostly for to do lists, quick capture and tracking of various short term goals. The Signature Sketchbook is full of doodles, inktober drawings and rough sketches. My favourite by far has been “Dime Novel”. My least favourite has been surprisingly “Costal”. The cover and design are gorgeous but the reticle grid is just too dark to make it enjoyable to use.

Daily Doodle: Iron Man

Watched the 1st “Iron Man” movie again today, and I forgot how funny it was.

Field Notes Signature sketch book, Blackwing 16.2 pencil.

Quick Doodle: Saved a Little Bird

Saw a little brown bird lying still on the road on my way to work. It was alive but appeared stunned. I gently picked it up and moved it to a large planter, away from the road and the cars. Came back later with some water for it but it had flown away.

Drawn on a Field Notes Signature sketch book, with a Zebra fine disposable brush pen.

Quick Doodle: Why is it called Stiletto?

I’m reading Daniel O’Malley’s “Stiletto” right now, and more than halfway through I still can’t figure out why that’s the book’s title.

Potato quality photo of a potato quality doodle. Field Notes Signature Sketch Book, Pilot Futayaku Double-Sided Brush Pen. I love this brush pen, but the fine side dried up, so I was forced to use the wide side (it’s called medium, but it’s a broad brush, don’t let Pilot fool you). A bit of shaking and doodling later and the fine side is working once again – yay!