I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April using the theme “What to Pack on Your Creative Journey.” Today, we’ll add a journal to our metaphorical suitcase.
…keep a journal. Pay so much honor to the visits of Truth to your mind as to record those thoughts that have shone therein. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Early Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take a travel diary on your creative journey. You’ll find it useful for making lists, working through thoughts, capturing ideas, asking questions, and scribbling first drafts or prototype sketches. At the end, you have a nice souvenir about what you did and where you went.
Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, recommends hand-writing three pages in a journal every morning. Morning Pages clear your mind of flotsam and jetsam so that there’s room for creative thoughts to surface.
If you want to explore your inner and outer landscape more visually, check out Lynda Barry’s books, Syllabus and Making Comics. They contain examples of journaling with words and pictures.
A more minimalist approach is to keep a simple log of activities, like a ship’s captain. The date plus a line or two about work that was completed and any challenges encountered along the way. That will be enough to remember where you’ve been when you’re ready to pick up the project again.
I’ve been keeping a journal since 1986 when I read The New Diary by Tristine Rainer. I’ve tried all the forms above. My current implementation for a daily journal is a computer file for each day. I leave it open throughout the day so that I can have a continual conversation with myself about my thoughts, my schedule, and my choices.
For creative projects, I keep a separate log file on my computer. This post, and all of my other A to Z posts, began life as a section in my A to Z Log file. The same file housed the quotes that I considered and possible sources for illustrations. I also journaled about how (and whether) to proceed on this journey as I went along.
What are your experiences with keeping a journal, either as a daily practice or to log a creative journey?