July 8 2017

Journal Series: What’s In My Art Travel Bag?

When I first started adding art to my journals I wasn’t aware that I was actually adding art, so much as I was just adding bits and pieces of things like pictures, ticket stubs, receipts, stickers, and a doodle here or there–that was back in the late 70’s-early 80’s. A few years ago I came across the journal community on YouTube and got lost in all the different types of journals, and the different styles and ways that people journal–one in particular was the Hobonichi. I then found out about the Fauxbonichi. Since then I’ve tried out a number of different styles and types of journals, but the thing that hasn’t changed is my love of adding art and words to a blank page.

Over the past few years I’ve rediscovered my love of art and fallen in love with watercolor. In Cathy Johnson’s book “Artist’s Journal Workshop: creating your life in words and pictures,” she states that an artist’s journal is “a personal journal kept by the creative person…your fingers itch to capture the moment…your curiosity is piqued and you search for your own answers, make notes and sketches as you go. You celebrate a milestone or the everyday occurrence. Your journal can be a place to capture all of that, to capture the moments of your life.” And that is exactly what combining art and words is for me… capturing the bits and pieces of my life on the page, whether I am drawing, watercoloring, adding a picture, a piece of collage, a sticker, text… Whether it is about my trip to the grocery store or a day spent with family or friends or the new recipe I tried or my thoughts and/or feelings.

Lately, I’ve been expressing bits and pieces of my life with sketches or watercolor. and I’ve taken it even further by taking myself out on dates for urban sketching or plein-air sketching. In order to that I’ve had to minimize what I take on excursions. Instead of taking my “journal travel bag,” which includes a lot more. My family and friends, even Mr. Rockstar, looked at me funny when I walked in carrying a large pink satchel bag or my bookbag or leather messenger bag (depending on the mood and/or where I was going) and then broke out my journal “stuff,” which is quite a bit of stuff even in my journal travel bag. But to go urban sketching, or plein-air sketching no way was I going to be able to tote the large bag, the portable chair, and the camera bag. Nope, wasn’t going to happen, especially in the humidity we have here in the South. So I took out everything. Looked at what I had and broke it down into piles: 1. Need 2. Want 3. Unsure. I took away the “want” items and then went back over the “unsure” items. Minimized my “travel art bag” so that it all fit into one bag. And… here is that video (There is a list of the items I have in the bag in the description on YT. Some of the links are Amazon Affiliate links, which don’t affect the amount you pay, but do help me out a little with supplies and things. 😀

May 4 2017

Traveler’s Notebooks 101

My Writer’s Bible made by Jonel Imutan. #jonelifish

I remember when I first heard about a Traveler’s Notebook. I felt like Dorothy when she landed in Oz… Once I got on the Yellow Brick Road of TN’s I was hooked. Especially after I received my first Jonelifish, which was the not quite infamous Writer’s Bible (an A5 bifold Jonelifish in my custom color–a combination of reds, purples, and a touch of blues). My first TN was a Buteo Bunker. I got Mr. Rockstar and myself TN’s from BB, his in the standard size, and mine in the Wide/Cahier size. BB’s leather is supple, like “buttah.” And it patina’s beautifully, but I’m a color kind of person, and I’d seen Rhomany’s video from Rhomany’s Realm about her Jonelifishes and that was it!!! The colors!!! The leather!!! The uniqueness (not sure that is a word, or what, but it fits so it’s staying) of Jonel’s work appealed to the creative side of me.

I knew that I needed a TN that could house an actual journal/notebook, not just a few inserts. I knew my TN would end up a chunky monkey. I have big handwriting, I like ample room to write, and A5 is my “go to” size for notebooks/journals. But I had to wonder, later on after having both a Wide and then an A5 if maybe there wasn’t a better size… now I can honestly say that nope… the best size for me is the A5. When I got my Writer’s Bible (A5 bifold), I also got a passport sized trifold and immediately set it up as a wallet. I realize that the trifold might be too much bother–opening it up every time you go to use it–for some. I have a Field Note’s size bifold, and an A7 (I think it is called the Micro), that I could use as a wallet, or if I really wanted I could use the personal size I have as a wallet, but I love my passport, and to me having to open it up means that things aren’t as likely to fall out, it’s safer.

The Yellow Brick Road of TN’s has lead me to this:

My Jonelifish

Yes… those are my TN’s, I also have a few Leather Journal Covers, like the new to me (deep,dark, gorgeous) red leather Hobonichi cover that my friend Maya sent me, or the new to me purple journal cover from Imperfectly Perfekt that looks like a tarot card on the cover–but I’ll get to those in a different post since this post is about TN’s.  What I love most about Jonel’s work is that even if you choose the same color, say a Mermaid or the Dark Unicorn, your’s is going to be unique… each one is made by her, it’s handmade. She dyes them, engraves them, paints them, etc all herself. 😀 And each one is unique. A work of art. I have several different one’s in my custom color and not one of them is EXACTLY like the other. 😀 That makes me feel special. The uniqueness of it draws me, the fact that it comes from an artisan–an artist. I have in my head this dream Jonelifish… a likeness of Michael Whelan’s Gunslinger (Roland) standing in the field of red roses with the Dark Tower in the distance on the inside or outside, I’m not sure of which yet, and then on the other side (inside or outside) Snoopy in front of Van Gogh’s Starry Night… either lying on his dog house staring up at the sky or on his typewriter (most likely staring up at the sky)… And I’ve started a conversation with Jonel about creating that… what I call my “unicorn” Jonelifish… My DREAM TN. It would, of course, be an A5, because that’s my size of preference. But that’s because I prefer to use notebooks like the Leuchtturm 1917, or Nanami Paper’s Seven Seas Crossfield, or Taroko Design’s Enigma, all of which are A5 sized notebooks, and I tend to put more than one of those in my Jonelifish. Right now I am using several of the trifolds: one houses my Spiritual Omni Journal (book of mirrors/spirit) and my Spiritual Bullet Journal, another trifold houses my OMni Journal and my Morning Pages notebook (which is a Lechtturm 1917), and then there is my Writer’s Bible which houses my Writer Bullet journal and a Clairfontaine notebook that I use as a writing journal.

Just because I use mostly Cahier, Standard, or A5 sized TN’s doesn’t mean that your perfect size TN is one of those. So here are some suggestions based on my experience, and what I’ve heard from others who are also lovers of TNs.

  1. Look  at some of the notebooks you already own and love–what is the most common size?  Measure the notebook if you’re not sure of the size. Once you know what size the notebook is you can look at the chart I’ve provided (this is based on Jonelifish, and I’ve noticed that size is relatively similar in the TN community but not exact, so base it on having a bit of extra room for your inserts or notebooks to sit in the TN comfortably, especially if you have OCD about overhang (which is when your inserts/notebooks edge hangs out of the TN). For example, I use standard A5 sized notebooks– the Leuchtturm 1917 and the Crossfield and Enigma  measure about 5 3/4″ by 8 1/4,” which is why I get an A5 TN, especially if I’m getting a bifold. 😀 (I don’t like overhang at all!)
  2. If you aren’t sure, you can always make your own sized inserts based off of different sizes and try the DIY insert for a week or so to see if you like that size. Spend some time in that size so you can see which one you like the best.
  3.  You can look through videos on YT about TN’s, there are a ton out there about various sizes, brands, etc… I find that as a visual person, photos and videos are really helpful for me. You could also ask around… in FB groups, etc…

My Dark Unicorn is a standard sized trifold, and it actually holds an A5 notebook plus an insert,  so I was using it as my Omni Journal cover… and I really liked how snugly it held it, but if you want to have more notebooks/inserts/or a notebook and some inserts, your best bet would be to get the Cahier size or the A5, but if you’re looking for something smaller she has lots of options. I just know way more about the A5 sized notebooks/journals.  You can always join any number of TN groups on FB, and/or the Jonelifish FB group.

One last thing… As a Brand Ambassador for Jonelifish, I can honestly say that I absolutely LOVE Jonel’s work. If you order from her shop at https://jonelifish.com/ and you use my code “Burgess10” you’ll get 10% off your order, as long as it’s not a custom order.  If you’re not sure just ask…

 

**** This post contains some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!****

October 21 2016

My NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet Journal

This past April I worked really hard on creating an improved NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet Journal in a Master Leuchtturm 1917. I wanted the bullet journal to be easy to use, to be easy to read… I wanted it to be functional and pretty. 1 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Since then, I’ve changed things up in regards to my NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet journal–several times in fact. Here is my updated version of my NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet journal:

I’m still working on it, and since we basically have 10 days left before NaNo starts I still have some time. Sunday I’ll be showing a flip thru of my Omni Journal, and Wednesday, which is Writer Wednesday on my YT channel, I’ll be showing  my updated Writer’s Bible. I really need to go back through my Writer Omnibus and organize things better as well (to be frank, I probably won’t get to that before NaNo starts).

It always gets crazy busy when I have a good idea and I want to start working on it. For example, I’ve been thinking about making tabs and putting them in my NaNo/Writer Bullet Journal, as well as in my Project TN. I’ve also been thinking about cleaning out my desk completely (that means a big trash bag and a few file folders will be needed). But do I have time for any of that? Yes and No. I could make time. Instead of writing this blog post I could be cleaning out the drawers in my desk. Or I could be making tabs. Or I could be folding the white clothes or doing the dishes. I could also be working on the last parts of my outline for NaNoWriMo. I will be working on my desk drawers on Monday while my coffee chat video saves and then while it’s uploading. And on Tuesday, I think I’ll work on the tabs. Tonight I’ll fold the white clothes while I’m watching TV.

During NaNoWriMo I’ll be using my NaNo/Writer Bullet Journal to keep up with everything, but I’ll warn you now: My writing/craft/art room will end up creative chaos, our clothes will get washed but I can’t guarantee they will get put up after I fold them (though I will try), and we’ll most likely be using paper plates and eating easy to cook/make/throw together meals. One of the great things about my husband is that he’s pretty laid back. As long as we aren’t starving, as long as the bathroom and the kitchen are clean (and he’s not a stickler for rinsed off dishes being in the sink until  one of us (usually me) can get to them since we don’t have a dishwasher), he’s okay with things. He’ll help me fold clothes, do dishes, etc., especially if he hasn’t worked a long day.

Category: Bullet Journal, NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo Prep, Outlining, Planning, TN, Travelers Notebook, Uncategorized, Writer Bullet Journal, Writing Life | Comments Off on My NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet Journal
July 15 2016

#onebookjuly2016 What it is and what I’m doing

For the past few years, this is the third year, Rhomany’s Realm, MissVickyB, and Carie Harling, have been challenging people in the “planning” community to participate in something called the #onebookjuly challenge.

The challenge is: 1 book, one pen, one month. The idea behind it is to take your planning back to the basics. So many people are looking for what they refer to as Planner Peace. I’ve heard it said by many that if your basic planning system doesn’t work then no matter what planner you have, no many how many you try, the system won’t work, which makes sense–planner peace at its core comes from a planning system that works, and all you really need to plan your day, month, year, etc is a pen and a piece of paper/notebook.

For years, nothing worked right for me. Nothing. I tried a day runner type planner, one of those inexpensive one’s you can get at Walmart or the drugstore, I tried a notebook, a tried a desk calendar, I broke down and tried a Filofax, before that (many years ago) I had a Franklin Covey, a Fauxbonichi, then I tried the Bullet Journal method…

Currently, I am using what I call an “omni-journal,” or what MissVickyB calls a Faux-Bujo, the combination of a “Fauxbonichi and a Bullet Journal.” A Fauxbonichi is a “faux” Hobonichi, which is a Japanese planner that allows you to plan and sketch/illustrate your life via monthly calendar pages, weekly calendar pages, and then daily pages on what is called Tomoe River paper (which is divine paper for watercolor and fountain pens) and most people sketch or illustrate little drawings, and/or use diary stickers, on their daily pages to chronicle their day.

I love the Hobonichi, and if the day wasn’t set up for one page per day, dated pages, I would have stuck with it, but I write too big and too much for one page per day. So I bought a Seven Seas Crossfield notebook, by Nanami Paper, which has Tomoe River paper, and I also have a Mystiqe notebook by Taroko Designs with Tomoe River paper, both have dot grid paper and started what I called an omni-journal–a combination planner, sketch book, Hobonichi style, bullet journal style, Fauxbonichi style journal. And I love it, but I’ve found that I don’t like the way the “bullet” to do list looks on my pages that are filled with art and writing… It takes away from the aesthetics of the page.

For several months I’ve debated over whether or not I could actually use Jenny Penton’s Planner Perfect method, where you script your days. Instead of “to-do” lists you script out your day. I bought her ebook and read it. Tried it for a few days but felt lost when it came to my “to-do’s” like paying bills, appointments, etc. I went back to sticky notes for my “to-do’s” in my omnijournal, or putting my little “to-do” list on my daily pages. I flip-flopped back and forth between bullet journaling, omni-journaling, etc… I did not have planner peace.

The beginning of June rolled around and I thought… Oh, #onebookjuly is almost here. Maybe this time I can do this and not fail miserably. Maybe I can figure out something that will work for me. I began taking notes about what I liked about the various planning methods that are out there. I literally made a pro and con list. I also decided that for the challenge instead of using one book, I’d actually use one Traveler’s Notebook. I had a new Jonelifish, a traveler’s notebook made by an artist named Jonel Imutan. I also decided that instead of using one pen since I art/sketch/watercolor/illustrate I’d use one bag. Figure out my very favorite art supplies for my journal, what I’d use if I were going to go out on an artist date or out of town and needed an art travel bag.

I’m going  to link my most current video for #onebookjuly2016, which is part of my playlist for #onebookjuly2016 at the end of this so you can check out my videos, if you’d like, that will explain this further, but suffice to say, I am really loving things because I have been combining Jenny’s Planner Perfect Method with what I was already doing in my omnijournal, only I’m finding that I am leaning more and more towards the Planner Perfect Method.

Scripting my day out has helped me change my mindset about planning, about what I’m doing each day, each week. It’s helped me realize that my omnijournal is more of a common place journal. I’ll have more to come about using the Planner Perfect Method, but for now I’m just so much happier with how my daily stuff, like planning, sketching, art, writing, etc… I feel more positive and filled with enthusiasm about each day, part of that is finding near planner peace, part of it is succeeding finally at #onebookjuly, and part of it is Project Me.

Here is the List for the main One Book July video’s:
The ORIGINAL #onebookjuly video (v1) https://youtu.be/AchAsT5YQkY
Rhomany’s intro video to #onebookjuly2016 https://youtu.be/KmBLVaB6uhA
Follow Carie here https://www.youtube.com/user/carielynn74
Follow Vicky here https://www.youtube.com/user/MissVick…

Category: art, Art Journaling, Bullet Journal, Goals, Hobonichi, Journaling, Motivation, Omnijournal, Planners, Planning, Project Me, TN, Traveling, Writer Bullet Journal | Comments Off on #onebookjuly2016 What it is and what I’m doing
June 27 2016

Let’s talk about #onebookjuly 2016, bullet journals, planning, and stuff

A couple of years ago I heard about #onebookjuly on YouTube.

ONE BOOK, ONE PEN, ONE MONTH… I thought, there’s no way I could use just one notebook for planning, art journaling, regular written (diary style) journaling, and all the other things I do…

You see, I’m a journal/notebook (office supply) junkie. Hello, my name is Burgess and I’m a journal, office supply, coffee, chocolate, book addict.

But the more I thought about it, especially over the past few months since trying and failing more than one #onebookjuly, I realized I needed to do something. Back then I was using a Filofax for planning, or at least I was trying to use a FF for planning. I was using a Moleskin for my regular journaling… I have tried the Hobonichi, Traveler’s Notebook’s (TN) with fancy and plain inserts, a Fauxbonichi, a thick black journal, a sketchbook,  and a Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook…I’m sure I tried other things, but those are the one’s that really stand out.

I gave one FF (the personal size) to a friend, sent her Happy Mail that made her day, which made my day, and the A5 FF that I still have I haven’t used in I don’t know how long now–I was converted to using a TN. Then came along the bullet journal… I tried. I tried in various ways, especially since I’ve always been a “list maker,” a “to-do” list kind of person.

I used to use those yellow tablets (or the white one’s) and make a list of my my “to-do’s” and when I started it I’d make a check mark, when I finished it, I’d make the check mark an X–that way if I was interrupted I knew what I was working on…

So when I happened across the YT channel Rhomany’s Realm and saw not only info about bullet journaling, art, planning, TN’s, and #onebookjuly, or MissVickyB’s YT channel with video’s about all of those things, and Carie Harling’s videos…I felt like it was fate, destiny…I just knew that I could finally get my planner peace, one book (to rule them all). Only I tried #onebookjuly and realized I love journals, and I like having some separation of journals… I don’t want every single thing in one journal, BUT at the same time I would like a sort of Omni-Journal that I could use for my planning and for my regular art, sketchyourday, illustrateyourday, Hobonichi, Fauxbonichi, Smashbook style journal(ing).

I tried using a Leuchtturm1917 for my bullet journal, and my TN for my “art” journal, and then I tried using the Leuchtturm for all of the above (the paper isn’t all that great for the watercolor, markers, etc at least not with the abuse I put paper through since I’m heavy handed when it comes to watercoloring–I’m a newbie so give me some slack). The Leuchtturm’s paper is awesome for writing, though I have to say the Rhodia’s paper feels better when using a fountain pen. I love the notebooks, but not for art/watercoloring.

So off to find something else I went. The Hobonichi would work, especially since I love Tomoe River paper, but being limited to one page for day made me feel creatively caged. I needed to be free to use up as many pages per day as I wanted. Some days I draw more, some days I write more, some days I add a little bit of everything…I wanted something I could use for all of the above: bullet journaling, art, writing, collage, watercolor, ephemera, pictures, etc… I didn’t want to be limited by the paper, the page number, etc.

THEN low and behold, I found out about Nanamipaper’s Seven Seas  A5 journals with Tomoe River paper. The Standard has plain Tomoe River paper, the Writer has lined TRP, and the Crossfield has dotted TRP. I fell in love. Once I got hooked on them, I found out how hard they are to come by. They’re almost always out of stock. Back to searching again. Since I’ve tried the Stalogy 365 journal with Tomoe River paper (TRP), and now the Mystique with TRP from Taroko Design shop, which so very similar to the SevenSeas Crossfield. Pricewise they’re pretty much the same, but the shipping is a bit more–though Taroko Design’s journals aren’t out of stock nearly as often as the Seven Seas journals are.

Now, on to why I’m once again trying #onebookjuly.

I am the proud owner of 3 A5, 1 PP (passport sized), and 1 FN (fieldnote’s sized) #Jonelifish TN’s.  (TN’s made my Jonel Imutan). She is an artist, and her work was worth every penny and the wait. My bifold A5, otherwise known as Shakespeare–my writer’s notebook/bible, my trifold A5, otherwise known as Hans (after Hans Christian Anderson) –my art/life TN, my corset trifold A5, now known as Tennyson, is my spiritual/witchy TN, and my PP is used as a wallet, and the FN is used a mini writer notebook… Not to mention that I have a Buteo Bunker TN (wide). SO…With all of those TN’s, and their various uses, I really felt the need to streamline, especially since bullet journaling in separate notebook wasn’t really working.

Streamline. Get back to the basics. Figure out my goals, how to use my beautiful works of art (my Jonelifishes) to their full potential. Thus, my participation in #onebookjuly2016, even though I failed previously. You see, I really like the idea of one book (to rule them all), BUT I know it’s not completely me, so if I can streamline what I’m doing, all that I’m doing, into one TN, then I believe that will help me set up my TN’s (once this challenge is over) in a way that really works for me. Plus, I’m glutton for punishment.

I’m already participating in the #HotandSticky summer novel writing challenge, and #campnanowrimo july starts, and #onebookjuly2016 V. 2.0 is one book, one project, one month, so I’m combining V1 and V2 and making mine: one book (TN); one bag (with watercolor pencils, watercolor brush, a fountain pen (my TWSBI Eco) with Noodler’s Bullet/Waterproof ink, and whatever else will fit into that one little bag; one project (one of the july journal/art challenges), and one month…. WHEW!

Plus, July is my grandson’s birthday month, and my birthday month.

YES…” M.O.O.N spells moon” (Stephen King’s THE STAND reference).

SIGH!!! I’m adding my “Let’s talk about #onebookjuly2016” coffee chat video so if you’d like to see some of what I talked about here you’ll be able to… I’ll take some pics and write another post once I have everything together and set up.

Thanks y’all!

February 13 2016

Working Towards Living a Creative Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(this was the info I found for it, it's Not My image... It came from Google...
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(this was the info I found for it, it’s Not My image… It
came from Google…

I’ve been sick for the past three weeks. The worst kind of cold/sinus/flu thing. I’m not well yet, but I feel better. Over the past few weeks there was little in the way of working on my novel in Scrivener. However, I worked on the novel in my writer journal. I worked on characters, plot, setting–I journaled about it. When I finally got back to writing I missed and was so excited to be back to writing. I felt guilt for not actively working on my novel.

I started my fourth week of the 12 week self-guided course from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” So far the course is helping a great deal. Between the “morning pages,” the tasks, and the check-in’s, not to mention the artist date’s, I’m facing all kinds of things I had no idea were even issues, or that the issues were as bad as they are. I am filled with self-doubt. I self sabotage. I have writer impostor syndrome.

However, as I found my way through the “morning pages,” and went on my artist date’s, read the information…as well as working in my personal journal, my “art” journal (which is more of a sketch your life, illustrate your life, smash journal, etc), and my writer-ly journal I found myself being more and more creative, wanting to be more creative even if I couldn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to do because I was sick–I made a new list of things I’d like to accomplish over the next few months: DIY projects around the house and yard, urban sketching, poetry workshop, plotting workshop, making my journaling work for me in a better way, in a more productive, creative way.

embrace struggleJournaling helps me me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. Things are more vibrant and positive. I’m more passionate about life, my pursuits, relationships, and I’m more open. My communication skills are improving. The more I work through the Artist’s Way course, the more in depth my creativity becomes, the more open I am to figuring out why I have so much self-doubt, why I sabotage myself,  and how I can fix it. Working on the self-doubt isn’t easy, it means facing things that are painful. Insecurities. Memories. Fears. And working through those takes courage, but it’s worth it. I find myself procrastinating. I get distracted. I make excuses. Reluctantly I find myself avoiding my writing, or my art, because I’m afraid that it won’t be good enough. Perfectionism. What if it sucks? What if my beta readers laugh? What if I’m really not that talented? Maybe I should just give up now before I embarrass myself. But as the words flow onto the page in my journal I find myself more and more open to the possibility that perhaps it’s just the fear and the insecurity that are causing me to have so much self-doubt, or to feel the self-doubt to begin with, or that I’m procrastinating and self-sabotaging because of fear. Plain and simple.

These insights into my creativity, or lack thereof,  are a start. A start to opening the door to living a more creative life, to being successful in my creative pursuits, and to opening myself up to being successful in my creative pursuits. I knew I had a few issues because of the self-doubt,  writer’s block, procrastination, and yet I didn’t think it was as bad as it was until I began reading the “Artist’sWay.”  As hard as it was to sit down every morning, in the beginning, and work on my morning pages it made me see how important it was to be open, to let the words flow. I also realized that the resistance was because of fear–insecurities are rooted in fears. I’m not really a fearful person. Even when I am I sort of “fake it till I make it kind of thing.” You can only do that with writing for so long before the insecurities/self-doubt eat you and end up with writer’s block–at least, that’s what I’ve experienced. Facing the resistance head on isn’t something I’ve done in my morning pages, the morning pages are just about being honest with myself, but I have been facing those fears, insecurities, and self-doubts in my personal journal.

The Writer's Life
The Writer’s Life

When you think about it, really think about it, the procrastination, self-doubts, insecurities, perfectionism, and avoidance are all about fear, based on fear. I’m not a fearful person at heart though, I’m more of a sassy, feisty, stubborn, determined, and resilient kind of person. So I buckled down and wrote it all out in my journal. I wrote and wrote and wrote, honestly and openly about my fears. Facing some of those fears gave me insight, but it didn’t fix the problem, but it did make me realize and understand that I’m the only one holding me back. I am the only one who can do something about it. I decided to take mini-artist dates, do little things to make me feel good and be more open to being creative. For example, I went outside with my cup of coffee and a book of poetry and read for 15 minutes, I went outside with my coffee and my sketchbook and had some fun, I went to my hair stylist and had my hair done (washed and styled), I ordered myself a few cute little diary stickers and 2 new watercolor inserts for my TN (Traveler’s Notebook), as well as a cute little magnetic bookmark with a coffee theme. (I also ordered one for my daughter with a unicorn on it, she’s an artist and a welder, as well as being a single mom who suffers from depression and like me, she suffers from self-doubt at times.) Twice a week, on the first day of the new week of the self-guided course and halfway through the week I go on an artist date and take myself to Starbucks. One of those dates I journal and the other day I draw and watercolor. I love watercolors. I love journaling. So I’ve decided to combine the two and try doing what people are calling “Urban Sketching,” or “Illustrate your life,” or “Sketch your life.” It makes me feel really good when I do that. I don’t make my artist dates about my novel, I make them about something else creative. The more creative I am, the more I want to write, the more I feel able to write and less self-doubty.

I’m amazed at how much it has actually helped me with the writing.