Keeping A Craft Journal
Journaling (especially a complex but ‘mindful’ form called ‘bullet journaling’) is very ‘in’ right now. Everyone, it seems, is gushing about the benefits of scribbling in a notebook. And with good reason. While it may not be for everyone, journaling really can help you in a number of ways. It can even help you in your crafting life! Here’s how:
Journaling Helps You To Track Your Ideas
There is no ‘rule’ determining how you keep your journal. Your entries can be as long, as short, as creative, or as curt as you like. You can use words, pictures, or any combination of the two. You can keep your journal daily, weekly, monthly, or at whatever random intervals you please. Some people like to keep a journal by them at all times, and use it to jot down ideas as they come to them. Many people find that inspiration hits them late at night or early in the morning, so keep their journals by their beds to scribble down those sleepy brainwaves. Others pop a journal and a pen in their handbag – or even keep an online journal they can log into on their phones – to note down ideas which come to them while they’re away from their crafting desks. When you start to use a journal in this manner, you’ll be amazed at how many great ideas you think of and forget each day! For inspiration, all you have to do is flick through old journal notes, and be impressed by your own creativity!
Journaling Gives You Insight
Many journalers have spoken about the mental health benefits of keeping a journal. It’s certainly true that keeping a journal helps people to express and work through feelings which may otherwise have remained in the subconscious, causing damage. It also allows people insight into their own thought patterns, behaviors, and emotional ‘triggers’. Self-awareness, self-expression, and an outlet for negative emotion are all provided by journaling, and can have a hugely positive effect on mental health. If you’re keeping a craft journal, the same can be applied to your crafting life. Writing about your crafting exploits can give you real insight into factors affecting your work which you may have been unaware of before. It can also help you to spot patterns in your work, determine common factors which hold you back, and note recurring themes. All of this ultimately helps you to a greater understanding of your own creative life, and may enable you to overcome some of your personal crafting hurdles.
Journals Don’t Judge
A journal is a great place to test out and develop ideas. A journal allows you to work out and consider a theme or idea without getting trapped in ‘overthink’ (the act of writing seems to help marshal the thoughts, preventing the kind of ruminative thought-loops and anxieties which can quickly destroy a project at conception). Crucially, it does this without judgement. Developing an idea by writing it out in a journal has many of the benefits of talking it through with another person – it allows you to express your idea, pulls a lot more out of your brain than you might get if you were simply mulling it over in your head, and helps to ‘fix’ good ideas. But it does not come with the scary ‘judgement’ factor inherent in bouncing a concept off your friends. With a journal entry, the only person judging you is yourself. Sure, we can often be our own worst critics (and, sure, some ideas may deserve to be binned!), but, in many cases, working something through in a journal will bring things to light that you’d never thought of when initially thinking through the idea – and give you a lot more confidence in your concept!
Keeping A Journal
How you keep your journal is entirely up to you. Different styles work for different people. However, it’s usually best to keep your journals ‘raw’ – straight from your head – without worrying too much about neatness or poetic flourishes. Trying to present your journal in a certain stylised way often obstructs the free flow of thought and creativity. Remember, if you want anyone to read your journals, you can always go back and edit them later! In the moment, it’s best to be as immediate as possible – even if this means messy handwriting, screwed up paper, and incomprehensible prose!