This week, Roben-Marie and I focused on what you can do to be miserable as a journaler.
Let's see the pages before I get into things. Here's mine:
And here's Roben-Marie's. Don't forget to go over to her blog to see her story! We both came up with some similar points, but also covered different things. EEE! This is why I LOVE this project!
Here's a bit more on each of my points.
1. think and evaluate while you’re working
one of the best ways to work in your journal is to put on some good music, get into the groove, and just let go. working intuitively rather than rationally or logically, may be difficult in the beginning, but the more you practice at it, the easier it will get. You may feel this is working without thought or intent, but this isn’t the case. Rather, by turning your conscious mind off, you not only block out the Internal Censor, but your subconscious becomes able to speak more directly to you.
In the same vein, evaluating your page while working is like judging a pie halfway through it -- your finished page may look nothing like the way it started. I’ve disliked pages halfway through only to be completely surprised with what came out. In fact, this page wasn’t the one I was going to work on, but it surprised me in the end!
2. compare to other pages (your own or other peoples’)
Sometimes, when working, I may dislike what I’m doing, and so, begin to say, “I like other pages I’ve done, so...” And then, I’ll turn back to those pages and almost look at ‘em mooney-eyed, trying to re-create something I’ve already done.
This doesn’t work.
The same thing goes for looking at the pages others have created. Everyone wishes they could create stuff as wonderful as (insert name here) -- but you need to be in the moment and go where it’s taking you.
3. break the flow
Once you’re in it, stay. Don’t break off to check your email, watch TV, look for new inspiration. Stay in the moment and let whatever your soul’s trying to say come through -- yes, it can be hard at times, and you may face resistance, but that just means you need to work it out more than anything.
4. don’t trust yourself of the Divine
You know the best way to experiment and play and learn. And that’s what a journal is all about -- it is where you try something different, where you dig through the outer layers of who you really are. You are magical, through and through, and have all the knowledge you’ll ever need. And if you don’t think you do, trust that the Divine will provide it when it’s needed.
Breath, sit back, and fake it till ya make it.
5. let it make you sad if things don’t look right while you’re working
If this is a playground, why get sad? Swing higher and have fun!
When I was younger, I couldn’t do the monkey bars. All the other kids would go across, no problem, but I’d fall off. Simply put, it frightened me! So I’d get frustrated and sad. To this day, I can remember the teacher who stood under there and held my legs while I went across. Yippee! And while I did it differently than everyone else, I’d done it, achieved something, and while I got frustrated, I didn’t let it get me sad.
Why get upset when playing around? Isn’t the point of experimenting learning something new, giggling, learning?
6. be totally stubborn; keep the page as you originally thought instead of letting things evolve naturally.
Nothing is going to turn out exactly how you pictured it in your head. Even the best artists know the hand won’t translate things perfectly; it is just a fact of life. Sitting down with an idea as to what your page will look like is fine, but you must be open to the fact that you may discover something new while playing that can change everything. Go with it. Let things evolve and change. Be open. Journaling is speaking to the inside, and you need to let go of the illusion of control.
7. don’t journal or make any art.
If you don’t do any, how will you develop? I almost wrote “get better,” but that’s not a true representation. What are we holding as the Golden Standard? Where is this mark we’re all trying to reach? Journal pages by our peers? Art hanging in galleries? Why are we striving for perfection in a place where play is the goal?
No matter how much I show you pages in progress or write on my experiences with journaling, you are the one who will be sitting down with that blank sheet of paper pouring out your soul. I can only guide you in the same way parents give lessons through stories from their past, hoping my successes and failures can make your path a tiny bit easier.
So keep plugging at it. Keep sitting down at that page. Don’t get caught up in posting pages and getting comments.
Try this: don’t post any journal pages for a set period of time. At one time, I got very wrapped up in it all -- I’d be thinking about posting a page even before I’d finished it! Recognizing that this behavior isn’t what journaling is about, I decided to stop posting for a month. Over a year later, I can go weeks before I’ll scan something in to share! I feel freer than before, free to make whatever I’d like, experiment with different mediums, get my fingers messy. Because there is no audience but myself.
That’s what it’s all about, kids. Internal reflection and discovery. Don’t let the true meaning of journaling get away from you.