Journaling as Building Block

I’m working on the journaling process again. I’m focusing on writing and Commonplace Journaling for right now. I got a 5 x 8-inch journal in which I can’t draw (paper is too thin) so I would write more. I’m fond of doing mind maps, and I’m doing a lot of them, too. Why writing instead of art journaling? Right now, I have a lot of ideas to clear, a lot of inner critic arguing to do, and that (for me), is done by journaling.

Yes, I’m still working on my art. The latest piece is also about writing, though!

Book of letters. © Quinn McDonald 2015

Book of letters. © Quinn McDonald 2015

The collage uses an older idea I had, but the letters around the book actually are words that relate to writing. I often sit in front of a blank journal while my mind writes and my hands don’t. That’s what gave me the idea.

To make myself focus and write, I create a list of problems, worries, and ideas at night, right before bed.  (That goes in the journal, too). The next morning, I choose an item from the list and set the timer for three minutes. When the timer rings, I finish the sentence and shut the book. No re-reading. That comes later.

mindmapOn the left is a mind-map from Journaling from the Inside Out by Susan Borkin. I use mind maps to capture pieces of a big idea when I don’t know the connection yet.

The mind-map helps me grab all the pieces of the brain dump. Sorting them comes later. I’ve found that mind maps are still maps, another one of my favorite concepts.

When I’ve got a book filled, I can go back and distill ideas and save them. The books have cardboard covers and have about 50 pages. They aren’t attractive, but they allow me to be messy and not try to design a page. Sometimes, quantity is as important as quality.

It doesn’t matter how you tackle journaling, it always helps. It always heals. As long as you keep writing, your life will begin to make sense.

-Quinn McDonald keeps journals. In many different ways and styles.


8 thoughts on “Journaling as Building Block

  1. Pingback: Weekly Wanderings – Pierced Wonderings

  2. Oh Quinn, I am right there with you… my mind write and my hand doesn’t! It seems to me that I ‘write’ all the time – in my head that is. I make everything (yes EVERYTHING) into a story… I started diary-writing/journaling again a few weeks ago, writing a few pages first time in the morning. Had not done that for year (I wrote daily from aged 10 – appr. 28 years, after that not so much…) After much discussion in my head (yep, that inner critic. I had to fight her and remind her that it doesn’t have to be ‘literair’ , it is not going to be a published book) I just put my pen on paper and started writing. It’s such a relief to be writing again, and I mean really writing (more private and just ‘more’ than just a few words in my art journals) I hope to find that ‘point’ again that I write ‘good sentences’ that I can use otherwise (in a poem or art journal) but for now I just enjoy journaling every morning. I will think of you tomorrow morning when I open my journal and wave to you from my pages to yours… have a great day dear friend!

  3. I’m getting back to it Quinn . . . I strayed over the summer and lost my self-discipline a little. My word for the year forgotten so my boundaries became loose . . . I need to knuckle down and focus on outcome, plan my pathway and walk it and maybe run and skip a little.

  4. I’ve been going through a tough patch, and keeping my journal been key to helping me move ahead when I just want to sit and pout. Sometimes it’s a rant, sometimes I come up with big plans that may never come to fruition, sometimes it’s just lists of things — to do, to see, to make. I’m heading off to do it now, in fact.

    • The journal has saved my life more than once. Rants are good to write down, as they tell you what your triggers and hot buttons are over time. And plans are always good because they show what you want and what you need to make it happen.

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