. . .Looking Forward

Note: The winners for the traveling journals have been drawn! Congratulations to Lisa “Salt and Light” Brown, Stephanie Hansen and Wendy from Late Start Studio!

This week, I will have written 1,500 blog posts for QuinnCreative on WordPress. the first month, January of 2007, I had 433 readers, about half of what I get per day now.

Illustration in one of the journals.

Smart readers have left clever, funny, thoughtful, interesting comments. Without those comment-leaving readers, I would have quit a long time ago. True, I do the blog for writing practice, and in a way it’s another journal I keep, but over six years, I have come to depend on my readers for insight and community.

To celebrate those 1,500 blog posts, there are going to be several give-aways this week. Today’s give away are the three traveling journals that have found their way back to me since 2009.

Illustration from one of the journals

New journalers, and sometimes experienced ones, tell me the biggest problem is starting a journal. What to put on that first page. . . how to fill up those first, blank pages. These three  journals all have the first several spreads finished. So you don’t have to worry about what to do with them. They have the registration stickers from 1001 journals still in them, and while each one of them has traveled over 5,000 miles (one went to the Philipeans and back), all are in excellent condition.

The journals are medium vermillion, cloth-bound 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches books by Hand-Made Journals with sturdy off-white,  acid-free, archival, unlined paper (130 gsm, about 90-pound paper).  Perfect for fountain pen, gel pens, roller balls, colored pencils, pastels, markers, acrylic paint and even light watercolor washes. Copic and other alcohol markers will bleed through, but Pitt Pens and water or dye-based markers won’t. They have an elastic closure and a pocket in the back.

So, if you’ve always been afraid of those blank pages, but have always wanted to

Illustration from one of the journals

keep a journal, leave a comment. I’m giving away all three of the journals on this one post, and I’ll choose the journals and people randomly. Because I have a large international audience, I’ll spring for overseas shipping, so everyone has an equal chance.

Names will be drawn on Tuesday, September 4  at 5 p.m. Phoenix time. Winners will be posted at the top of this post. We are going to be celebrating the 1,500 blog post all this week with various give-aways. The next one will be on Wednesday.

Thank you for reading, whether you have been here since 2007 or since last week. I’m grateful to every person who leaves comments–I know how hard that can be!

–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who writes on creativity, does book reviews, and gives away journals. After 1,500 blog posts, she’s only scratched the surface. She is the author of Raw Art Journaling and is working on her second book, The Inner Hero’s Art Journal


103 thoughts on “. . .Looking Forward

  1. Pingback: wonderful weekends | late start studio

  2. Quinn, I enjoy reading your blog every day and am always amazed by the variety of subjects you cover. I am working on doing things that I have a passion for and art journaling is one of them. I have attempted to do it regularly, but too often, I let other things get in the way. This gives me a sense of renewed committment to start as soon as I finish all the other projects I am committeed to do!

  3. I’m like many – I love to journal and write my thoughts out, but if I tell myself I have to do it every day, the rebel in me kicks in and stops me cold. Still… I am always drawn to new blank journals in all their lusciousness and potential!!! Count me in for the draw for your giveaways, please!!

  4. I would love to have one of those beautiful journals. And I’m one of those artists who quakes in terror of the blank page – & in particular, the FIRST page.
    I love your blog & often pass along some of the posts that are particularly meaningful to me or to one of my friends. Thank you for these posts.

  5. What an amazing accomplishment! Tremendous kudos to you for your tenacity, determination and generosity to share so many thoughts with your readers and yourself! I am a recent follower of yours and continue to be touched by your writing and thoughts! I am not by nature a journaler, but have to say the one journal I started had some of my most creative artwork-perhaps it’s the unconscious thought that it’s just for myself- or that it was a playground to just explore. Regardless- I have learned how beautiful working in a journal can be. Cheers to you and wishing you as many more blog posts as your heart desires. Jill

  6. Quinn, I read your blog every morning. It’s a wonderful way to affirm and inspire creativity!
    I am offering my heart and my home to one of those journals and will honor the spirit of it by using it, and complimenting the words and art it contains, with much generousity from my own storehouse of words and materials. I promise to give it a happy life filled with color, texture, and feelings. I will be a good friend to it and we will have so much fun! 🙂

  7. Quinn:
    Congratulations on a wonderful milestone- I enjoy reading your blog every morning, it is a great day starter. I love how you are so human, acknowledging when things don’t go perfectly and celebrating them anyway. Keep up the good work- no need to include me in the drawing, I am just about ready to start a new journal and I can’t wait!!! I actually like a blank page, to me it represents a fresh start which happens every day!

    • That blank page can be inviting and fresh, too, can’t it? Thanks for seeing that I screw up, too. I like being imperfect–after all those years of struggling to be perfect and always falling short, this fits a lot better. Imperfect comes in plus-sizes.

  8. I started journaling not too long ago but have not purchased a good journal book yet. I turned my written journal into a visual one and covered stuff that were negative into works of art. I will be needing a new one soon! Your giveaway is a great opportunity for that. Thank you for being so giving..and congratulations on your 1,500th blog post!

  9. I acknowledge the fear of the first white pages. There are so many beautiful journals out there that I will admit, intimidates me. I need to get over that…..for me.

  10. Quinn, congratulations on achieving this milestone. I read you daily and have always wanted to journal. I have even purchased many beautiful handmade journals. I have never written in them. Maybe winning one of these would encourage me to begin.

  11. Yours is one of my favorite blogs. Always an inspiration, a bit of fresh air. Congrats on reaching such a milestone. I look forward to many more. I’d love to win one of your traveling journals. That would make my day!

  12. A teacher of mine told me the trick to getting past white page is to close your eyes and blindly rub some of your medium onto the new sheet. When you open your eyes no clean sheet and you have a starting shape to play with.

  13. To start a new journal is a difficult moment for me. I’m always afraid of ruining it completely in the very first page. But we have to take the risk, don’t we? These are lovely journals. Thank you for all the ideas you share with us. And congrats on so many posts. Hope you write many many more. Much love. Andrea

  14. Since I’m starting the discipline of writing every day, your blog post is very encouraging. I know I just need to keep taking one day at a time, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Thanks for the contest!

  15. Had a diary for awhile as a teenager — never knew anything about journaling until I found you. I guess it’s time to get started.

  16. I started reading your blog about the time these journals started circulating. I write a lot, do a lot of creative work, but putting the two together in a bound book, as appealing as the idea is, well, I don’t know if it’s fear of the first blank page, but something stops me. I buy journals and pens, pencils, paints… but I don’t use them. At least not as intended. I’d love to win one of the journals, that might be a start.

    Congratulations on 1500 posts! Looking forward to many more. Your blog is an appointment for me, the only one that I always read. You write with kindness, compassion, honesty and humor. And I read because you make me think. Thank you for that.

  17. Quinn, I have had four different blogs, and I know just how amazing it is to find out that you’ve reached such a milestone. Congrats to you! I always have trouble commenting here because of WordPress, but you know my email as parabolicmuse

    Hope you’re having a great Labor Day

  18. You are an important of each day. Occasionally I receive a call from a friend asking, “Did you read Quinn today?” It is a rare event when I reply in the negative. Many thanks!

  19. I would be over the *moon* with delight if I won one of those deliciously creative journals! Please count me in on the draw, Quinn, with much gratitude. What a tale they each have to tell…and the ENERGY they must exude that was gathered by the touch and intensity of each participant…the mind boggles and body shivers with that realization… You worked hard to keep it going and surely the spiritual merit you gathered is great and justified.

  20. Count me in on the journal draw AND on the congrats for the blogging. I look forward to receiving it in my e-box and celebrate along with you, your postings :). I’ll drink to that … where’s my water??

    • Dang, I’m the anonymous one. Count me in on the journal draw AND on the congrats for the blogging. I look forward to receiving it in my e-box and celebrate along with you, your postings . I’ll drink to that … where’s my water??

  21. Oh. My. I’m magnetizing The Universe right now to have One In Particular of those journals come home to me and my front porch. I know it will tell me fantastic tales of the past years and gently nudge me to learn more from my spontaneous words and doodles to come. And although it is sure to do that for any one of us here, if I don’t say it clear and plain, it might never know: Come to Momma!

    And Quinn, I’m glad you are so persistent and wise and cranky and funny and observant and have the skills to capture your observations in so many ways and serve them up to us. The conversations we have here and there and when we worked together continue to resonate always.

    Because you continue, Always continues to unfold into Right Now. I’m looking forward with you!

  22. Congratulations Quinn, your blog shows great generosity of spirit. As you’re springing to international postage I’d love to be in the draw for one of the journals. And I agree with Marsha, somtimes I look at the blank page, it’s like looking in a mirror on my mind for an instant, then it’s on with a background of colour, still blank but getting more interesting and I start wondering what’s going to appear. A few squiggles, some stones, a ripple or two echoing one another and it all begins. . . .

    Now, off back to read those links from yesterday.

  23. I love this blog and am so glad to have found it–literally, last week as you mentioned in your post! That’s a LOT of followers; good for you and congrats on this blogging accomplishment!

  24. While I read every post, I’m not usually one for leaving a comment. However, the enticement of a give-away prompted me this time…so here’s my thought on starting a new journal… Looking at a blank page in a new journal is like stage fright, with a pen. Heaven forbid we make an ugly mark on that first page, much less a MISTAKE. But after getting off the perfectionist path, and (constantly) reminding myself that art should be FUN, I just throw myself into creation of a new page with as much reckless abandon that I can muster.

  25. please consider me… i feel compelled to continue my art journal journey and soon will be needing another vessel to contain my efforts. enjoy your insights..

  26. What a lovely way to find a home for the three journals. Thank you for your daily blogs that get our creative “juices” flowing and inspire us to step beyond those self-imposed barriers that get in our way.

  27. I have always wanted to have a journal that contained the art..in my head…:)..I write in my journals and find myself doodling away in the corners or spaces between words. It is like I can describe the emotion in those words. I purchase art utensils, gel roller pens..etc. Yet I almost will not give myself permission to use them. I recently moved and it was a big spiritual change for me. It is in that I decided to journal or color..art my emotions up not just with words but with pictures, emotions sprawled across the pages. Another step in huge growth and another phase in release of the artist. I am embarrassed to say(because it means I do not trust myself or find myself worthy on some level) I will not go buy myself a journal for the purpose of my art and emotions..silly yes..sad..yet I am making progress..
    By the way, thank you for your posts. wonderful all the time.

  28. I started a journal with 1001, too, but I’ve not seen mine back yet. It’s been about three years ago for my journals, too. Of course, when I sent mine out, I put my registration/snail mail back on the front cover and then set it free.

    I also use bookcrossing.com for books that I’ve finished up. Sometimes, I kept my original book and bought a new one to “set free in the wild.” It’s been a real blast watching my books traverse the world.

    I love the idea of Setting a book Free because it gets to do what it was made for: opening minds to new ideas and worlds. Being part of that at both sites is just a great feeling. I hope I get to see my journal back some day, but even if I don’t, I know it’s out there inspiring someone to make art of their own. 🙂

  29. Congrats on the 1500 blog entries! I’ve been reading along since we met about the time the red journals were started. What an adventure, huh?

    I got to participate in the Summer in Phoenix book that is missing. They were my very favorite pages I’ve ever created, so it makes me sad that the book is missiing. I like to think that it’s still out circulating somewhere.

    Like everyone else who has left a comment, I would love to receive one of the red journals. If I were to win one, I would like to do a page or three and then take the book with me as I’m out and about and ask people to write or draw something – anything they like – in the book so it would continue to be filled by different people. They would be quick pages as I wouldn’t be sending out the book, but letting people create while we visit or while we’re in the same location or class or whatever. I love the idea of having a journal filled with pages that others create.

    Thanks so much for all of the blog entries and the generous give away!

  30. I am impressed by anyone who can blog as regularly as you can. I just started reading your blog late last year, and I now look forward to checking in on it every morning. I would love to take a look at one of these journals that you are giving away. The illustrations from them that you have shared in your recent posts look gorgeous. I will need to start a new journal soon, so I would love to have a chance to add my artwork to one of these journals.

  31. I just found your blog today and it’s amazing because I’m just about to start journalling again and I’m honestly quite scared I’ll give up half way through! But this is just great, thanks for sharing!(:

  32. I guess I’m a stalker, reading and not commenting. I’m like that in person, too. I love listening more than talking. Sorry to have not let you know I’m here. Please keep writing. Every post contains at least one nugget I take with me on my daily journey.

  33. I’ve been reading you for a while Quinn, but much in the same way I journal, a whole lot sometimes, then periods not at all, then a bit here and there. There is no predictable pattern, but it seems to work for me.

  34. I’m trying to get friends to join with me in art journaling…so far it’s my virtual friends and my far away out-of-town friends who ‘get it.’ Thanks for the chance to win such a magnificent gift.

  35. Dear Quinn,

    Your creativity is what attracted me and your brilliance of the written word is what keeps me actively anticipating your next entry!! You are an inspiration and I thank you for inspiring all of us! I am “newby,” however I so look forward to reading more!!!


  36. I’m relatively new to you blog, but love it! I’m sure you or one of your commenters has already suggested the first page of a journal might be an intention, a thought, a theme for the chapter you’re in. Although I wouldn’t mind my next one to be one of your traveling journals! Thanks Quinn — I’m hoping to take your PaperWorks class this season.

  37. Congratulations on writing 1500 blog posts! I love reading your blog and always find myself agreeing with your insightful observations. Keep up the great work you are doing!

  38. Quinn,
    Reading your blog has been for me an every morning practice; after writing in journals and notebooks I do a little computer time and always read your blog. Often I read it in the e-mail format without opening another window and I wonder if those of us who read in that manner are not part of the numbers count. When something really triggers a desire to write and respond to you, I open and read again and write to you. I have loved participating in your 30 days of creative writing starting with the first of a year….they have been the kick starter I needed to get my writing self moving in the midst of winter. This past year I have expanded some of my writing to include my pastels, water color pencils and felt pens…am getting things set-up so I can add some paint techniques this year.
    Your visions, inspirations and pondering direction times shared openly with us on the pages of the blog give this reader a sense of community with you; I do not feel as a stranger who is just peeking in on your words and thoughts. Your ability to wrap your thoughts around us and warm us all with you makes, for me, the circle of writing and reading one of the most dearly treasured times in my days. I appreciate your writing skills, your insights and guiding thoughts that assist so many to sit and write and touch that in us that longs to find its way to the page.
    Always, a heart-felt thank you for all you are, all you share and all your writing does to make my journey a bigger adventure and ever so much more delightful.
    ps…glad to have the opportunity to have my name included in thihs fabulous drawing for a give-away.

  39. what a wonderful gift to your readers, especially because of your labors in sending them out all those times and your trust which brought them back to you. Your blog is a very real gift to us every posting. Thank you!!

  40. Congratulations on a long, productive run and for gathering such creative and often entertaining followers along the way.
    I admire your dedication and wish there was a secret you could share.

  41. What a wonderful opportunity. Thank you! I’ve tried several journals but have not succeeded long term. I’m doing a Photo of the Day and am writing a comment about the photo and that’s working out. I’m putting the pages on a rotating stand (the 7 Gypsies one). I forward your blogs to many friends!

  42. Wow, what a milestone for you. I would love to see and use one of them. As much as I love looking at pictures online, nothing tops viewing artwork in person.

  43. Congratulations! Wow that’s a lot of posts. It is very inspiring too. I am looking forward to another 1500 posts. I always enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for this generous giveaway Quinn.

  44. All summer I have been trying to encourage my kids…9 and 12 to do some art journals,we have done a few pages but not enough considering we have 13 weeks school holiday in Spain! I had just read your blog this morning and before I took a sip of my tea my son came running in saying,have you got a new book I can do art in,let’s do some today. I don’t like the old one. I said I don’t like my old one either and would like to get a new one as well! Coincidence again. Sadly I am splitting from their father after 15 years,I am in a difficult place but moving on ,and started my art journal since I started reading your blog earlier this year which has helped. Yesterday I found a new house to move to temporarily…closeby…and the situation is becoming real. Be good to ditch the sad book and get a new one to start over. Also a sign is my main problem here is being stuck and remote and I always loved to travel so the fact these journals have circumnavigated the globe has a significance. This is not a poor me victim thingy,this is new life get my shit together move on thingy! You really are an inspiration and reading your words everyday has helped me click out of my zone. I get disappointed when there isn’t one there,with our time difference it is often waiting for me when I wake up….I feel like you are my guilty secret!x

  45. Hi Quinn,
    Though I am not an artist, I love your blogs for your writing and your insights, and when you stand up for principles that are important for us all. I keep saying I want to do an art journal, but somehow I always end up sticking with my spiral-bound, lined notebooks and ballpoint (tho sometimes fountain pen) every morning. I am wondering if perhaps one of your traveling journals with their red covers (red, one of my favorite colors, along with yellow) and art already inside would be the kick-start I need to DO art. How many times have I bought art supplies and watercolor sketchbooks for that very purpose but end up passing them on to my daughter, the “real” artist in the family. But I still keep buying them–apparently there really is an “artist” inside! Am so looking forward to your new book too about our inner heroes–maybe she is hiding out with my art self and still invisible! Thanks for your wonderful, wonderful blogs!! Jean

  46. Congratulations on the 1500th…WOW! I follow your blog, obviously, and enjoy your topics. The journal give away is great for those of us getting started on art journaling, sometimes I don’t know what to put in mine, but am trying to do some art daily. It does help me to do a little art every day, I find it helps relieve stress. That and a margarita works great! Thanks for sharing!

  47. Congratulations on reaching your 1500th post. Your blog is one of the first I read every morning and I look forward to seeing what the day’s topic is. I would love to have one of these journals to encourage me to art journal every day, I am getting more consistent but having a journal with other journalers art on the first few pages would be very exciting. Thank you for your generous give-away, I will keep my fingers crossed.

  48. I discovered your blog fairly recently when searching for craft reatreats. Your thoughts and writing were immediately like WOW, I wish I could take one of your classes today! Thanks for your continuing inspiration and creativity.

  49. I have been reading for awhile, and even commented a few times. I love your blog and I’m excited to read your book when it comes out. I would love to get one of your journals. Hopefully it would help me get over my fear of the blank page. Thanks for sharing!

  50. I have read your blog from the beginning. My morning coffee hour is not complete until I’ve read your blog. Your shared wisdom makes it the best blog out there. I have used your wise guidance to help make difficult decisions. It would be a wonderful privilege to own one of the travel journals. Please enter my name into this drawing.

  51. I am endeavouring to begin doing daily journaling. I do know that a blank page is always a bit of a stumbling block for me whether I am painting or writing. I am going to make a real effort this month to begin the once a day journal practice.

  52. I am a fairly new reader of your blog and it is now one of my favorites! I’m trying to read all of the old posts, so it looks like I have a long way to go! Of course, I would love to own one of your “traveling” journals! Thank you for offering them!

  53. WOW!! How generous of you!! I enjoyed yesterday’s post about these journals and it has been fodder for some thoughts!

  54. After all the time and effort you put into administering the creation of these journals, this is a most generous offer. I would be honored to have one of them. Thank you.

  55. First of all, Margaret, it’s NEVER too late. Remember, Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 70 years old. There are countless other examples of people starting creative endeavors later in life. At 65 you’re still young, with many years left for art journaling. :+D Quinn, congrats on your 1500 blog posts. i have been reading your articles in Somerset Studio for a long time and just fairly recently started to read your blog. It’s something I look forward to reading as it always gets me thinking and inspires me in different ways. Thank you for taking the time to exercise your word crafting “muscles” to offer your readers such thought provoking posts. I appreciate you! Also, thanks for the splendid giveaway opportunity. How exciting! What fun it would be to win one of the red journals! Have a great day.

  56. You titled yesterday “Looking back”, and today “looking forward. Paging back and forth between the two I think I saw, just for an instant, the green flash of now.

  57. The very first item in any sequence is a special case and happens much less frequently, so I have less practice at it — thus it’s more difficult. Instead of making that decision anew each time I just made one decision that I re-use.

    I usually start sequential things (to-do lists, project notebooks, web pages) with something self-referential. “Make to-do list”, “This is the first entry in the xyz project notebook; the goal is to make a foo,” that sort of thing.

  58. I frequently share something you have written to a fellow teacher at school and my “blog” – which is a bulletin board outside my classroom. The last one was the wonderful talk about “repacking your brain”.- because that is just what teachers and students have to do as they enter school after summer. I have, beside my computer, my COPIC sketch pens I have had since you introduced them…for my doodling habit. They almost move before your hands do! So many times I have been grateful for how honest you have been – your openness is heartwarming. Thank you for so generously giving of your time and soul to this column.

  59. Congratulations, I’m a big fan because I like to think, and thats one thing that is guaranteed about your blog! After 1500 posts that entertain, provoke, and inspire, you deserve a medal for reaching this milestone! And a virtual hug! Thank you for letting us all into your life! Its us that should be sending you something!

  60. This has to be one of the most unusual blog giveaways I’ve seen, Quinn! I’d love to see what’s in one of those journals. Thanks for always sharing so much wonderful insight and advice on your blog.

  61. I read your blog via an RSS reader so I don’t think your site stats reflect that I’m reading your blog. I would love to receive one of these journals, especially the one with the Sanskrit/Tibetan Om Mani Padme Hum mantra on it (it’s the mantra I say when I’m praying). What a special giveaway! Congratulations on reaching 1500 posts, I’m looking forward to reading them for a long time to come.

  62. I have only started journaling this past year.
    Its one of the hardest things i’ve ever done.
    Those first blank pages were terrifing! How
    could that be- they are, after all, just blank pages! I had forgotten I had a voice – and allowed to feel. Those pages have now brought me enlightenment. These other journals sound amazing- what a journey- and to be able to see/feel the expression of others-wow! I love your blog!
    It makes me think more and more and inspires! Thank you Quinn 🙂

    • Thanks, I’m grateful for everyone who reads the blog. Blank pages can be intimidating, that’s why I have those links in there–two of them are to blogs I wrote about what to put on the first page.

  63. I have been reading your blog for sometime now and am often grateful for your insights! I have never kept a journal and having just begun my sixty-fith year, it is abgout time I started. Or is it too late…….?

    • Margaret, it is never too late to keep a journal. If you have kids or grandkids, make sure you tell stories about your early life. They will enjoy this tremendously. If you want to keep a journal for just your thoughts, you can do that, too, and make it private. Journaling keeps you healthy!

  64. I read your blog every single day and enjoy it immensely. Frankly I don’t know how you do it day after day after day. Journaling is still something I aspire to. Bi think I have a lot to say. Getting started is scary though. Would love to have a kick start!

    • I’m not sure how I do it, either. Some days are easier than others. It’s a discipline and a good one for me. Getting started is always hard—it’s a first time, it’s new, and you make up the rules as you go along.

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