While you're staying at home and socially isolating, you might as well help historians and relieve some of your own stress by putting pen to paper about the historical moment we're in. The stories of ordinary people provide a crucial context for understanding historical events. Diaries provide further insight into what life was like for average citizens during pivotal periods in history, complementing newspaper archives. The most well-known is undoubtedly Anne Frank's diary, which she received as a gift when she turned thirteen. One of the most recognizable and enduring Holocaust documents, thanks to its combination of real-life events and teenage angst.
How do men start journaling?
Journaling advocate and owner of Love Jac Creative and Artists & Crafts Jaclyn Carter understands the importance of keeping such records now more than ever. Individually and collectively, we are experiencing the effects of this pandemic. No one could have predicted the global shutdown that began six months ago. Your great-grandchildren may find it amusing to read about your banana bread recipes, mask acne, and the long days of social distancing if you keep a record of both the big events of the day and the mundane details of your life.
And many people find that keeping a journal is a helpful therapeutic practice for managing stress. Journaling instructor Emily Chertow (@journalingclasses) says, "The physical act of writing allows you to slow down, which then allows you to process things in greater depth. This is why journaling is so important." The practice of keeping a journal is a form of self-care because it allows you to attend to your mental and spiritual health simultaneously.
Everything you need to get going is listed below:
Choose a journal that reflects your personality and interests, whether it be one designed for writing, one for writing and drawing, or one designed for scrapbooking. The landmarks of Brooklyn, such as water towers, pigeons, brownstones, food halls, wine stores, and book shops, are depicted on the lined pages of this Brooklyn-based notebook.
Pick a Notebook.
Get a journal as a first step. Find one that makes you happy. Emily Chertow says, "Finding a pen and journal that excites me and feels really good to pull out every day makes me more enthusiastic and less timid." Start by locating a journal and pen that are both comfortable for you to use. She adores her Pilot G7 pen and her Moleskine notebook with a protective cover. Paper and dimensions are crucial to Jaclyn Carter. I work best with lines of some sort, but they can't be too dark, because I like working on larger canvases. She uses the DesignWorks Standard Issue No. 3 Notebook, available at Yours Truly, because "I don't want my journals to be too big and bulky, but I need plenty of room" (680 Fulton St.). And Lynda Barry, for her part, will only use a plain old black and white college-ruled notebook that you can buy for a few dollars at any supermarket. You can also buy a time- and place-specific one, like the Idlewild Co. journals we have available here that were designed while the company was based in Brooklyn.
Almost 30 years after its initial publication in 1992, Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way continues to encourage journal keepers everywhere. This book was written to assist those who find themselves creatively stuck (aka everyone) in finding their way out. Included in this twelve-week program is a daily practice called "Morning Pages," in which the student writes three pages of free-flowing thoughts first thing in the morning. Just the act of putting pen to paper can relieve stress and spark creative problem-solving. My therapist recommended this book to me years ago, and it really helped me out of a bind. Although many advocates of the morning pages method insist on making it a permanent part of their routine, I doubt I could keep it up consistently. Like freewriting, Emily Chertow enjoys the "flow" that results from putting down her pen for a set period of time and letting her thoughts flow freely into her journal. When I open my journal and write without planning to do so, I find out the most about myself, which is both therapeutic and life-altering.
Sketchbooks and Journals for Artists
If you want a pretty journal but don't want to be as meticulous as bullet journalers, art journaling might be for you. Jaclyn Carter's is crammed with hand-lettered phrases, stickers, tickets, and snapshots. I record my thanks, my aspirations, and my worries. If you are more of a collector and want to gather the keepsakes and quotations from your day and keep them in one place, this might be a good way to go about it. I enjoy flipping back through it and seeing how much of who I am remains the same, while I continue to grow into someone new.
Journaling Varieties: The Bullet Journal
Second, you must settle on the journaling method that best serves your needs. The Bullet Journal system is ideal for the overly organized, as it provides a place to record appointments, tasks, and reflections all in one place. If you're already using a "Bujo" or some other kind of day planner, a brief blurb with a few lines about your day will fit right in. Can Bullet Journaling Save You?" was a recent feature in the New Yorker. And it might, for the right person. The entries can be as simple or elaborate as you like, and if you enjoy crafting, you will have a blast collecting a wide array of colored pens, stickers, and washi tape. Doing what makes you happy can boost your motivation to keep going.
The Lynda Barry Journal for Making Lists
If you're a list-maker like me, you might enjoy Lynda Barry's approach to journaling. Lynda Barry teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a writer, cartoonist, and all-around creative genius. My previous journals have been a combination of what she calls "a hamster wheel of feelings" and "a list of what happened," and she explains that this is why keeping a diary almost never works out. Her technique entails charting a series of lists on a page, with two columns and a further division between them (as shown in the above illustration). You begin by noting the date at the top, and then list seven things you observed, seven actions you took, one piece of information you absorbed, and one piece of art you created. Now we're done! One positive outcome is improved ability to observe and listen to details. This was a habit of mine for many years; I've gotten out of the habit of doing it every day recently, but I intend to resume it.
In addition to keeping a journal, Jaclyn Carter enjoys scrapbooking. Instead of the typical moaning and groaning that comes with keeping a diary, she uses it to put a brighter spin on her past experiences. Carter proudly proclaims, "I am a scrapbooker." The monotony of quarantine led her to organize her days into distinct blocks for activities like online classes, grocery shopping, cooking for the family, video chats with loved ones, and humorous memes. So that her children will have fond memories of their time in quarantine, she is recording their activities—from making forts to watching Star Wars—in a journal. To make the task of creating a scrapbook less daunting, we have dedicated ours during quarantine to documenting the many blessings we have received. The New York Times article "Scrapbooking Isn't Just For White People" featured scrapbooks documenting protests or Black Lives Matter topics. Carter likes the order and portability that a 6x8-inch pocket page scrapbook provides. Kelley Purkey Shop is a go-to of hers when she needs something.
Simple Daily Recording: One Line
Feeling anxious about the time commitment that keeping a journal will require? There's also a journal just for you, so don't fret. The simplicity of a One Line A Day journal allows you to capture the essentials of each day. Perhaps you'd like to record an expression of thanks, a favorite quote, a special moment in your life, a significant achievement, or even just something that made you laugh. While at first glance this might look like any other daily planner, remember that it covers five full years instead of just one. A Buzzfeed writer once said, "If my apartment were on fire, the first thing I'd save is my One Line A Day journal — assuming my boyfriend wasn't home."
Get Going Already! Attend a Course
Brooklyn-based artist, writer, and organizer Emily Chertow. She is a Community Manager for The Washington Post and the creator of Pop-Up Journaling Classes. Interested parties can connect with her on Twitter at @echertow or on Instagram at @journalingclasses for updates on upcoming sessions. "If you're going to take one of my classes, I want you to come with an open mind and leave with an open heart. She utters, ". Anyone seeking connection, mindfulness, self-care, or journaling is welcome in my classes. My students come to my workshops for a wide variety of reasons, and I design them so that each participant leaves with what they came for.
This isn't a journaling class per se, but Jaclyn Carter does teach adult craft nights on the internet. Meeting for an hour, the next Quarantine Card Making session will have participants paint and decorate two cards and an envelope under Carter's direction. We talk about our pen pals, compare our favorite postage stamps, and bond over our appreciation for pretty stationery. Now, more than ever, it's crucial that you take the time to sit down, put pen to paper, and mail a letter to a friend. Please sign up below.
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