An idea book or box instead of a journal?

Ran into a great idea while I was talking with my coach, Cynthia Morris, today. We were discussing my journaling challenge and this awesome book I’m reading (her recommendation) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal entitled Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I love the way it’s written as quick observations. Some entries are deep and meaningful. Others are playful and even silly.

Anyway, it got me thinking that this is a much more fun way to journal: tidbits of insight. Cynthia suggests using an “idea book” instead of a journal, which I really like. No pressure to come up with long, thoughtful entries each and every day, but the permission to think about the unthinkable, the unsaid, or the unwritten.

Need an example? Monday night I wrote about fingernails. Last night it was plastic plants. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with art, but has everything to do with pumping my creativity muscles.

I often recommend clients journal to get to their artist statement and say, “If it sounds too painful, write down your ideas and insights on scraps of paper and throw them into a shoe box.” An “idea box,” if you will.

The point is to capture the thoughts before they’re gone–however you go about it.

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5 comments to An idea book or box instead of a journal?

  • Mary Richmond

    Have you ever done morning pages as suggested by Julia Cameron in the Artist’s Way? They mix the whole journal, idea book, to do list into one early morning session and get out all the gunk. I always have kept a journal but switched to doing morning pages about 5 years ago and I love them–They are not self-conscious, they help me organize my thoughts and I often begin some of my articles, etc. by just writing out some thoughts and not worrying about format, etc. You might like them. The idea is to write for three pages (long hand) and not worry about what you write, don’t lift your pen or pencil, just keep writing even if it seems like stupid stuff and stop at three pages. Don’t reread them. Just put away until the next day. You might want to reread them at some point but you will find you’ll take the ideas that pop up and use them elsewhere–because you’ve written them down, even in sloppy ways, they stick with you. This really does work best if done first thing in the morning. Later in the day we get self-conscious and take them too seriously. Have fun.

  • Morning pages, and Julia Cameron, are great – unless you are a rule breaker, a night owl, or someone who just can’t get the pen going in the morning. I’ve run across countless people who abandoned the journal/am pages simply because they could not do them in the morning. The morning rule becomes, for some people, another excuse about why they cannot journal. I’m an advocate of making it work for you (that’s the jist of my work and the title of my book, Create Your Writer’s Life). The key word is Your. And, I’ve got shelves of journals that I’ve filled using Julia’s method. I’m a huge fan of The Artist’s Way, which changed my life and got me on the path I’m on now. However you do it, writing in a journal is, as Alyson said, great for pumping the creativity muscles.

  • I have always had trouble keeping up with a journal. I have yet to fill up a traditional journal. Earlier this year I found several books on the decorated journal/page, paper making, and book making. I now find journaling more enriching. I have yet to make my own paper, but I have made my own watercolor journal combining writing (recording my thoughts, ideas, and everyday happenings), paint sketches, collages, and pockets for momentos. I don’t get bored with my journal anymore and it is small enough that I can take it with me wherever I go. I have almost filled a thirty page book since June of this year.

  • You might enjoy Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit”.

  • Yes, I highly recommend The Creative Habit! It’s on my resource page: http://www.artbizcoach.com/resources/ Thanks for the reminder, Ann.