What do you want out of your writing and creative life in this coming year?
You might want to improve your creative confidence, so you can consistently produce work you’re proud of.
You might want to develop your craft, so you can create polished work that delights readers.
And you might want to strengthen good habits — and loosen the grip of not-so-good ones — so you can get more out of your precious limited time on this planet.
There’s one tool that I find massively helpful to all of those, and that’s a creative journal.
But a lot of journal formats don’t really work, and I think there are a few reasons why.
Creative journals shouldn’t have to be “pretty.”
There’s an impressive new tradition on YouTube on how to create amazingly fancy journals, particularly in the bullet journal community. They use complex hand lettering, designed “spreads,” and hand-drawn graphic elements to craft Instagram-ready works of art.
I love them as a beautiful craft project. I don’t love them as a tool for creative productivity.
Artists’ studios are not pristine
Professional artists make a very clear distinction between work space and finished work.
Studio spaces, even though they are often beautiful, are not finished work. They are places to create finished work.
And that’s how I see a creative journal. While it may have a beauty of its own, its primary purpose is to give you a place to get work done, and to organize work that’s in various stages of completion.
There’s a trend at the moment of making traditionally private spaces like journals and sketchbooks into public art. And actually, I think that’s cool. I’m a sketchbook artist myself.
But it’s worth our while to maintain private creative spaces as well.
I think of my own notebooks as a portable writer’s studio.
My creative journal is a place, like an artist’s studio, where I can put everyone else’s opinion to one side. It’s a place to work out ideas and hone my craft.
My filled journals are beautiful to me, but they are neither tidy nor precious.
Wednesday, December 12, 12:00 Noon Eastern U.S. Time
I’m going to hold a free workshop for you in mid-December.
I’ll be walking through my process for keeping a Portable Writer’s Studio journal — with lots of room for you to expand, tweak, and edit the process to make it your own.
Creative processes are almost never something you can use “out of the box.” You always want to refine them to make sense for who you are and how you work.
In the workshop, we’ll talk about:
- How a Portable Writer’s Studio can help you become more productive and more creative
- My recommended formats
- How to organize everything so you can find it again
- Ways to make your studio journal a place of play and beauty, as well as work (like an artist’s studio is)
- Exercises for your journal that will strengthen your writing
This live workshop is free, and I’ll also be letting you know how you can join my private creative writing workshop this January.
You certainly don’t have to join the writing workshop to attend this one — everyone is welcome, and there will be plenty of valuable material whether or not the writing workshop is a good fit for you. Also, I’m just not a “hard sell” person, so there won’t be any of that going on.
I’ll be leaving lots of time for questions and conversation.
If you want to join us, drop your details below and I’ll send you a join link as we get closer to the event. There will be a recording available, but you’ll have more fun if you’re able to make it live.
Either way, I’m really looking forward to seeing you there!