Journaling is not about perfection

Journals don’t have to be perfect. This applies to all types of journals, studio journals, written journals, art journals or what I call observational journals. A quest for perfection is a curse.  They do not have to hand crafted pages of mini masterpieces on each opening. Something that really puzzles me is someone saying they have a collection of empty notebooks that they do not use because they might “spoil” them. Using them is what makes a notebook better. An empty notebook is just paper but put some ideas down or some doodles it takes on a life and becomes …

Some ideas on how to journal

I am often asked how to journal. Journals can be kept in any way you choose. You can write in them, sketch in them, add photos, paint in them, do a collage, paste ephemera in them in other words just about do anything in them! There is no certain “look” or style in journaling. There is no blueprint that must be followed, no right or wrong way to keep a journal. There are no rules because they are a creative space and if you tie up a creative space in too many rules it quickly becomes a non-creative space. In …

83 year old diarist shares his hobby of a life time

John Gadd is an 83 year old diarist who over his lifetime has filled 151 volumes with four million words. His journals weigh in at half-a-tonne. In his journal he also includes photographs, illustrations, cuttings from newspapers and everyday items like food wrappers, tickets, and mementos. These bits of ephemera add to the story of one man’s life. His diary starts in 1947 and has been kept ever since which means his diary is eight times the size of War and Peace John Gadd said ‘To begin with the diary was quite hard work and pretty boring. But after a …

How to Choose a Journal

In response to questions I have made a video on How to Choose a Journal. Hopefully people who are looking for a journal that they can both write and sketch in, will find my thoughts useful. If you want to write in a journal or sketch in journal choices are easier than if you want to mix the two activities in one book. To summarise what I look for when I choose a journal is Size – it has to fit in my handbag Paper weight and quality – I like to be able to sketch A stitched binding must …

Why a site about Contemporary Journaling?

Much of modern life has become about collecting experiences. Once it was buying the t-shirt (collecting objects) now, people take a selfie (collecting the experience) to illustrate where they are, and what they are doing. I have nothing against selfies as such. I do wonder what is actually happening when people dash here and there, seeing this and that, and take a selfie to mark the day. In sketching or writing in a journal, it forces you to slow down, to think a moment, to make connections between this idea and that idea, to internalise the experience, so it can be part of your history, your …