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journalsI have kept a journal for most of my life and have found it of great benefit in clarifying my thoughts and articulating my dreams and goals as they have emerged and evolved over the years. In my teenage years, I chose pretty blank journals and used a fountain pen with various colors of ink, loving the way the ink flowed from pen to paper in elegant lines and arches. For the last decade, I made the switch to mechanical pencil with a fine .5 mm tip. I am very picky about my writing tools: the pencil must be comfortable enough to hold for long periods of writing, the journal must feel good in the hand, lie open nicely, and have high quality pages.

As a writer, I also had an inclination toward meditation and reclusiveness, and so have maintained for most of my life a decent balance. ~Francis Mayes, Bella Tuscany

There is something very therapeutic about writing long-hand, even more so, I find, than typing on a computer. Some writers write all of their novels, poems or plays long-hand in spiral notebooks or on yellow legal pads. They say it has something to do with how writing by hand slows the mind processes down enough to fully capture the richness of their thoughts. Whatever it does, journaling and writing by hand has always helped me ‘go deep’ within myself. It also keeps me honest and allows me to be my own best friend as I can vent and complain and giggle and whisper and dream silently into the pages of my journals. The insights that come to me, often unexpectedly, as I write turns the monologue into an interesting and lively dialogue, with burning questions answered and endless more curiosities opened up.

creativity journal

We must be free to follow our muse, and often that means what amuses us… Carl Jung has remarked that creativity is the imagination at play with the things that it loves… ~Julia Cameron

This is my creativity journal. It is unique in that it features the thoughts, ideas and images produced by others. I used to collect photos, postcards, cut-outs from magazines and newspapers and brochures; just anything that caught my attention. For many years, I kept these visual treasures in a small box until the box became too full to hold anymore. Instead of hiding them away any longer, I thought it would be a great idea to put all of these images into a journal so that I could have easier access to them and enjoy them more regularly. I started by choosing a sturdy blank journal.

DSC01276I spread out all of the pictures and grouped them intuitively, not by theme or content, but by color and texture. (This was about eight years ago.) Then I took each grouping and arranged them in my journal, using double-sided tape to hold them in place. There was still some blank spaces on each page and I decided that I would use the space to record some of my favorite quotes. I normally underline favorite passages in the books I read but every once in a while I would come across an incredibly juicy, startling or brilliant phrase that I just had to record somewhere safe so that I would never lose it.

The storm came up out of the southwest like a fiend, stalking its prey on legs of lightening. ~Clive Barker, Abarat

It took another six years of slowly gathering more images and filling the empty spaces with inspiring words, interesting stickers and vintage rubber stamp images, until one day, the journal was full and could not hold anything more.

creativity journal8The passages are written in different colored inks, pencil crayon, calligraphy inks, even watercolor paint. Everything was done intuitively, from the arrangement of the images, to the placement of the quotes, to the color and size of the hand-writing. I once heard an artist explain that this type of intuitive creative expression is a mirror of our subconscious. I like to think that if someone took a walk inside my mind, that this is exactly what they would find. A gallery of ideas, colors and words…

Make thy books thy companions. Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure ground and gardens. ~Judah ibn-Tibbon

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When I first started writing poetry, I kept what I call an ‘image bank’; a photo album I stuffed with museum post cards of paintings, photos, typed lists of words I liked, anything that struck me as co-related with the writing process… Traveling, I’m especially aware of storing what I experience and see. ~Francis Mayes, Bella Tuscany

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I used to pack this journal along with me on trips and I would read it, cover to cover, like a novel. Now, the binding is getting old and the cover quite frayed, so I keep in it a drawer next to my bed and sometimes enjoy the last quiet moments of my evening enjoying the creativity journal. Many ideas for projects have come out of this ongoing process…

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. But a few do not. JOIN THEM. ~Arthur Shopenhauer & R. Sharma

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When you meet a person who has inner authentic presence, you find he (she) has an overwhelming genuineness, which might be somewhat frightening because it is so true and honest and real. You experience a sense of command radiating from the person of inner authentic presence. This is not just charisma. The person with inner authentic presence has worked on himself (herself) and made a thorough and proper journey. He (she) has earned authentic presence by letting go, and by giving up personal comfort and fixed mind. ~Chogyan Trungpa Rinpoche

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I dreamed a limitless book, a book unbound, its leaves scattered in fantastic abundance. On every line there was a new horizon drawn, new heavens supposed; new states, new souls. One of these souls, dazing through some imagined afternoon, dreamed these words. and needing a hand to set them down, made mine. ~Clive Barker, Abarat

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… if you follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors for you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. ~Joseph Campbell

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Chamdi and Guddi wait for the carriage to pass and then they both run behind it. There is a hutch in the back, small enough for them to fit in, and Guddii gets on and sits down. She faces him now and stretches her arms out for him, and Chamdi tells himself that he does not want to get on that carriage, no, he will spend his entire life running behind this girl because the moment he steps into the carriage her arms will no longer be outstretched. No one has ever done this for him, stretched out their arms, although he has dreamed of this moment many times, but in his dreams it has been his mother and father coming to the orphanage as he runs into their arms. He has never pictured a girl his own age with brown hair and yellow teeth, but this is better, so much better. He does not realize that the carriage is moving farther and farther away from him, and he does not care. All he wants is to carry this image in his brain for the rest of his life. ~Anosh Ikani, The Son of Kahunsha

creativity journal1This creativity journal, which took years to fill up, is deeply personal and filled-to-overflowing with images and words that inspire and delight me. When asked, “If your home was ever on fire and you could only take one thing, one object, what would it be?” My answer is always the same with no hesitation: my creativity journal. This collection is invaluable to me.

As you may have guessed, I have already started on a second creativity journal. I always seem to pick up treasures as I go about my day. Sometimes they are smooth stones, bits of drift wood or feathers… Sometimes they are experiences, such as a fleeting glance of a silver fox in the light of a full moon… And sometimes they are in the form of a thought-provoking image or a snatch of delicious poetry. Capturing these in a creativity journal allows me to spend time savoring them again and again, to grow old with these thoughts and ideas, and to respond to them with my own creative expressions by seeing what emerges from this ever-evolving, playful process.

We all have to do our own interior work. It’s our highest responsibility. To examine yourself and get to know the real you- your true self- and all you are as a human being is the central aim of life. To know more about yourself so you can be more for the world is the ultimate journey. Genuine success in life is an inside job. ~R. Sharma