I love journals. Over the years I have kept a vast variety of journals, both digital and analog, from a diary of the books I’ve read to food diaries and morning pages. I tried keeping a bullet journal, but those things are way too left brain for me, although they did inspire me to keep a small notebook in my purse, where I list everything from books to read and movies to see, to things I want to learn, and interesting words I run across. I’ve used all kinds of blank books and rarely use the same one twice in a row. I prefer unlined pages and colorful Pentel markers, a different color for each entry. Here are some ideas you might like.
One of my favorite authors, Austin Kleon, recently published a journal to accompany his book, Steal Like an Artist. Generally speaking, I dislike writing prompts, so I wasn’t much interested in buying it and since it’s meant to be written it, the libraries don’t carry it. I was, however, quite interested in a talk he gave about the various journals he encountered in researching his book. He covers the evolution of his own use of journals from words only through mind maps (which he calls clustering) and finally to a combination of words and drawings. Then he moves on to the journals of Thoreau, Darwin, Basquiat, Einstein, Picasso, Roger Ebert, and Lynda Barry. More about her later.
Lisa Sonora Beam, an American artist and teacher living in Mexico, wrote a blog post about Keeping a Studio Journal , which includes two short videos that inspired me to start my own studio journal or creative daybook. There I keep notes about things I read and watch as well as ideas for my own projects. I’m also a fan of a PDF sketchbook she published a few years ago documenting her creative process.
Cartoonist and author Lynda Barry published the notebook she kept while teaching an interdisciplinary arts class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A mad, “messy journal filled with ideas, notes, and scribbles” Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor offers assignments and advice for creative people of all ages and in all fields. You can watch an introductory video here.
These should stimulate you to start your own journal or try something new.